After Democracy

Okay, this will be my last “political” post for a while. (I can hear your applause.) In the near future, I’ll be sticking closer to my own areas of expertise, and posting links to news and analysis by others that I think deserves attention. You’ll still see some current events here, but mostly in the context of media, values, cultural mythology and reality hacking.

My farewell is also a sad farewell to democracy – at least in America. Why write about politics if I don’t believe in it, anymore?

As is becoming increasingly clear, the system through which we are supposed to elect our government has been subverted. I’m not just talking about black people in Florida being taken off the voting rolls, or poor people in Maryland being handed flyers that tell them the wrong day to vote or that they’ll have to pay traffic tickets before voting. True enough, machines at which black people were likely to register their votes were set differently than in white, Republican districts. (In white areas, ballots with errors were re-read; in black areas, they were destroyed.) But that’s not the kind of subversion of democracy I’m concerned about right now.

As is now being reported widely in the ‘alternative’ press, in the last midterm election, the computers responsible for exit polling – an unofficial but telling check on the official vote count – were suspended without adequate explanation. Shortly later, the exit polling company went out of business. Meanwhile, an increasing number of districts came under the control of a private vote-counting company owned and, sometimes, operated – surprise – by Republican Chuck Hagel. His polling machines may or may not be responsible for his and other recent Republican electoral victories that confounded pollsters and analysts in the United States and abroad. (Republicans won by landslides in largely black districts that had never voted Republican, before. And then there is the question of memos with the subject line “how we stole the election”.) But they sure don’t inspire confidence. (For more, see the links at SeetheForest)

The Democrats might best use their remaining time in elected positions to safeguard what is left of the electoral system, or begin supporting Republican candidates who might have the resolve and patriotism necessary to dismantle the corrupted aparatus and voluntarily submit themselves to fair elections. (‘TO BE SURE’ DISCLOSURE: In this post, I’m not saying Republicans are bad people, or that the Republican party’s positions are necessarily inferior to the Democrats’ policies. Neither am I suggesting they are better, or that they are equal. I’m not even suggesting that certain Democrats, with access to the computers that register votes, would be more or less corrupted by this power.)

As I see it, the Gore victory was just too close a call for those who mean to preserve business as usual in Washington DC. (And those of you think Gore is just another candidate of the same pro-business sort, well, that just proves how truly conservative the tyrannical forces that mean to control government are.) And now, it may be a very long time indeed until we see democratic process revived.

Yes, I’ll keep voting. But, like I said, I’m not going to talk about politics for a good long time. At least not until I have more faith that representative democracy is more than just another distraction.