Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"Bob Dole, ma'am: Where's the outrage?"

Less than four weeks after the election, it's hard to find mainstream media commentators still willing to make a stink about serious voter irregularities around the country - and especially in Ohio. We're left with niche magazines and web outlets such as Salon, and commentators such as UT Austin Public Affairs professor James K. Galbraith, to fly the flag for outrage. Galbraith's Salon article compares the situation in Ohio with current events in Ukraine, and wonders why there isn't more outrage about the crap voting system in the U.S. I agree. But then who am I? I care about arcane things like public service broadcasting and electoral district gerrymandering, but that puts me in a pretty small minority. Yet I keep asking (as Bob Dole once did in a very different context): "Where's the outrage?" I'm not arguing that Bush "stole" the whole election (even if there was serious foul play in Ohio, I don't know if it would account for the difference in the Republican and Democratic vote; plus he won the national popular vote by a significant margin). I'm not saying that "the masses" should storm Congress the way they're doing in Ukraine. But I am saying that the electoral system here really, really sucks! And I'm saying that if more people showed they gave a crap about their right to a really fair and free election - including yes, taking to the streets in their millions if need be - then this country would have a damn sight more responsive electoral system (and government!) than it currently has. It's not even a partisan issue, or shouldn't be. It's just basic democratic (with a small "d") decency. Why is that slipping away in places like Florida and Ohio?

Ho hum. OK, enough ranting for one day.


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