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  • Monday, April 10, 2006


    Welcome to a Fool's Paradise

    While cruising BookTV on C-SPAN, I came across Mark Crispin Miller speaking at UMass, Amherst about his recent book Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them). (Miller's blog is here.)

    Huge numbers of irregularities occurred during the 2004 elections. The evidence for this is copious and well established. Despite flutters of outrage and calls to re-evaluate the use of electronic voting machines with no paper trail, this issue has almost completely disappeared from public discourse.

    Prof. Miller is an excellent public speaker, a skill undoubtedly aided by his teaching experience. I found it exhilarating to hear him and galvanizing as his presentation unfolded. It's a terrifying image that he paints, of American democracy being systematically undermined and nullified by extremists.

    I believe many people tend to categorize concerns about the reliability and honesty of our voting system as mere sour grapes from Democrats who can't get over the loss of the 2004 presidential election. Americans have an image of our electoral process as honest and unimpeachable. The very idea of questioning possible flaws or systemic malfeasance becomes unthinkable. As Miller says, it's not as if some Democrats haven't engaged in dirty tricks or vote manipulation in the past either. The difference is the scale and determination of this particular Republican machine. And whether our democracy can recover from it.

    If your vote will not be accurately counted, the very foundation of our democracy is undermined. Elections become nothing more than show events. This is important stuff. I sometimes view our representative government in a very poor light, but the idea that it would be completely disconnected from the electorate scares the shit out of me.

    I'm hoping I'll get around to reading Miller's book. The reviews I've read indicate that I may already know most of the details but I'm impressed by the broad scope of his overview.

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