Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Blame it on the rain! Where do we go from here?

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Friday, November 05, 2004

Blame it on the rain! Where do we go from here?

Click the title!

OK folks, I have finally picked up my head off the ground and come to grips with the election of Bush (he finally won an election without any help from Katherine Harris, brother Jeb, or the Supreme Court).

The media has begun pointing fingers in every direction and every single person from God to Gays.

I shall not venture into that realm. It is overly stated in the media and I personally want to decide what the hell I am supposed to do with this blog for the next 4 years besides bash Bush and keep a watchdog’s eye on the media.

I am conflicted on a very personal level. My priorities in this election were to 1) get Bush out and 2) should #1 be realized, I would work towards the progress of a viable and strong third party. I worked a bit harder than ever before and most of my friends to try and swing this election away from Bush. I helped register voters, I made phone calls to Kerry volunteers to get them to canvas, I made phone calls to swing state voters, I even went as low as to donate funds to the DCCC, MoveOn, and Ralph Nader. All this without yet receiving my phone bills.

So I had a personal investment of my time and (god damn it) money in this election and I wanted Bush out. It seemed like a no-brainer to me, with all the facts that are out there. However, just as one promotes democracy by getting out the vote one needs to accept the final result of this election. The reason people vote is to bring their personal views and political agendas to the forefront. The result is what is happening within the Democratic Party at this stage is just that. They are scratching their heads wondering what went wrong and what did they do wrong. We underestimated the religious right. Was it Nader? Was it the message or the messenger? Was it lack of red meat or too much? Who’s head rolls? Who to appoint as a new head? Was it the lack of new voters or young voters? (actually this one has already been debunked. The youth vote was nearly 21 million the best percentage since 1972; 54% to Kerry 44% to Bush.)

Why don’t they do what they always do…check with the focus groups.

I blame the rain. It rained in Ohio all day Tuesday and into the night. It has been long known that rain affects voter turnout and the party that stands to benefit most from turnout. Typically this is the Democratic Party and this year it is probably no different.

Since God is the one making it rain, maybe (as one of my coworkers put it) “the country [really] is in God’s hands.”

Since I don’t believe in God, my personal battle within my head is where to go from here. What is done is done and with less power in Congress for the Democrats it is difficult to say what is to come. Without the usual checks and balances, let’s hope the press does its job this time around and keeps the politicians honest. With the federal athority given to the Republicans, it is time to go local!

There are 55 million voters who voted against Bush. While this is the largest Democratic vote ever achieved, what does the party do with it?

I am a firm believer in a third party becoming more important and apparent in elections in this country. Election reform itself is also at the top of my priority list of things that should be done. Media balance is another big one. I think Air America and NPR can handle it well enough on their own. So, I won’t be working too hard on this one. Though I do think you should donate some money to your local public broadcasters.

So let me state what I think should be done. I urge all my readers to work at getting a viable third party put together. While I realize that the Democrats have never been so united, and this unity probably shouldn’t be messed with. It could be diverted, for the time being, to electing officials into congress and local governments throughout the country. This would not hurt the Democratic Party as much as one would think. Independents voted in large part away from a third party because most of their goals are alike (that’s how Nader wound up being labeled a spoiler in 2000).

While democrats try and figure things out amongst them, the Third Party candidates are already platform specific and their platform hasn’t wavered that much in recent history. They stand for what they stand for, and most of them stand for electoral reform. Making Instant Run-off elections a priority and subsequently making ballots standardized throughout the country.

It befuddles me that in an election for federal office there is no standard “United States Ballot.” In fact there aren’t even consistencies within a given state. Each County seems to have made up its own mind as to which ballot is going to be used in their county.

Unlike Nader, who thinks that by running for president and being ignored whilst doing so is the best way to start a third party. I believe we need to start from the ground up with or without Nader’s help. With all this “political capital” in our hands right now, we should spend it on at least this issue.

We have learned in 2000 and now this year (with the millions of provisional ballots handed out) that the operational aspect of the system is not working well. The election system in this country is far from being fair and all inclusive. A detriment to democracy.

A few links to the federal and local election board officials:

To all my readers I ask you to join me in a real crusade (not like the one Mr. Bush is on). I ask that you write a letter to your local elected and county board officials. I ask that you ask for a federally standardized simplified voting system that involves a paper ballot that anyone can complete without many instructions. I also ask that you become informed of up-coming elections that are in your area. Register people to vote every chance you get. Get out the Vote at every election. Ask your county official for registration roles in your county and make phone calls. Get friends together to join in your efforts.

As I have said before, Democracy is not a passive system of governing and the religious right just proved it to us. They got out the vote where it counted and were able to make a difference. Knowing their president to be is in line with their opinions I am sure their agenda will get pushed through.

All it takes is a little effort from each of us.