Pessimism Put To Rest?
One of my first and most cherished readers has recently pointed out to me that I may be becoming too outwardly pessimistic in my view of where the country is headed. So in an attempt to look on the bright side (and not in a satirical way as with “The Bright Side Of Fascism”) I would like to present the good news as I see it on this day in December.
Six Iraq war veterans are running for Congress and one, Paul Hackett is running for a Senate seat in Ohio. This is indeed good news, as all of these candidates have a unique perspective and possess the credibility necessary to confront the Bush administration directly on the decision to go to war as well as their disastrous execution of it. But the even better news is that all of these American heroes are running as Democrats. It won’t escape notice that these brave veterans, upon returning home from their tours of duty, chose to continue their service to their country, not by supporting their Commander in Chief, but by challenging him. There is a strong statement about troop moral buried in the fact that not a single soldier returning from Iraq, has chosen to join the ranks of the Republican leadership. Don’t think for a second that this is due to lack of trying on the part of GOP operatives.
I wrote a post last month about Jack Abramoff titled “Burning Down The House”, but at the time I didn’t really think there was a chance that he would offer to strike the match himself. News surfaced Wednesday that Mr. Abramoff may be in plea talks with prosecutors and what he has to offer is names of members of Congress and their aides who took “favors” in exchange for their legislative efforts. This is the case that has Republicans in Congress waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. You can almost smell the fear emanating from Washington DC all the way over here in Washington State. Duke Cunningham’s tearful confession may have been just the beginning. DC lawyers and the manufacturers of orange jumpsuits may have a banner year in 2006.
There is a bit of good news on the election front as well. BradBlog has been tirelessly working to keep us informed about decisions across the country that will no doubt impact our future elections. There are ongoing court cases, bureaucratic decisions made within the offices of the Secretaries of State and the impending crisis within Diebold, that are crucial to solving our current electoral problems. So far in Florida, Volusia County and Leon County have decided to stop using their Diebold machines for future elections after a mock election was successfully “flipped” by a hacker. On Tuesday, the Secretary of State of California refused to re-certify their Diebold machines due to “unresolved significant security concerns”. All of these stories illustrate a move in the right direction and also show the effectiveness of local activism. The pervasive problems with electronic voting would not have been brought to the attention of those with the power to do something about it, without the hard work of so many concerned citizens. Hats off to those on the ground who have given up so much of their time in order to help bring about a more perfect union.
So there it is, the good news of the day. In the true spirit of optimism, I will not go into the fact that Hackett has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning an election in a state that does not question election results that differ from opinion polls by as much as 30%. Nor will I go on about the fact that even if members of Congress are indicted, they can still hold on to their seats in the same way Tom DeLay has, because they have changed the rules of the House. And last but not least, I will refrain from pointing out that although many counties are dumping their Diebold machines, they are replacing them with machines manufactured by ES&S that also run on proprietary software, leaving no way to verify the vote. The reason I will not dwell on these facts, is because we the people can change them. It will be an uphill battle for sure, but anything worth having, is worth fighting for. We have swung far to the right, but as my faithful and thoughtful reader also pointed out to me, it always swings back. I’m counting on him being right.