Saturday, October 23, 2004

election or distraction?

Up front I should say I'm a cynic.

I was born to a father who had a career in politics. One could say it chewed him up and spat him out; he served as County Commissioner of Cuyahoga, Cleveland's county, for a number of years, back in the day. I can't say with certainty, but I believe he was an honest politician. In fact, that was probably his downfall. And if he ever did soil his hands with dirty dealings in his tenure, it was in matters far short of scandalous-- and by today's standards, hardly worth mentioning. He was something of an idealist and that much I can confidently say I inherited from him. So I look at this election with grave skepticism-- skepticism over its integrity and its meaning. After all, when so prominent and experienced a political figure as former President Jimmy Carter takes issue with elections' fairness, one should take heed. And I do.

He describes the general electoral process in the United States as subpar; his Carter Center commission, an organization that is called upon to monitor elections in nations all over the world, if it were asked to monitor elections in the U.S., would decline. In Carter's words, "The American political system wouldn't measure up to any sort of international standard." That's the reason he gave Terry Gross on the NPR show Fresh Air.

Further, Carter co-chaired (with former President Gerald Ford) a blue-ribbon, bi-partisan commission, created after the 2000 election debacle, that worked hard to create a series of recommendations for fair and transparent elections in the U.S. To date, few of their recommendations have been implemented.

Nevertheless I will vote in this election.

And I take issue with-- more than that, I take offense at-- those who decline to participate in this most fundamental civic duty. Yes, I agree: the power elite will be the ultimate arbiter of what happens on the national political scene, regardless of who "wins" the election. Yet I also believe that the less we exercise what rights we still have-- even if those rights appear to be increasingly compromised by powerful forces-- the more power will be ceded thereby to those same forces. We must keep a foot in the door if ever we hope to grace this world with a genuine government by, for, and of the People.

Vote this time around, commit yourself to a small investment in your civic duty as a member of this nation, and by the next election we'll have a stronger voice and the people will have a better chance of being heard. Don't vote-- shrug off your duty with a cavalier "they're gonna do what they want anyway so why bother?"-- and you will guarantee an incremental future reduction in the voice of the people-- and thereby enlarge the reach of the power elite into the heart of American politics. I view enfranchisment as the most fundamental and defining right of persons in democratic societies; that the people in those nations should have come to such a pass of cynical distrust, disengagement and apathy over the very core operational mechanism of their democracies is not only telling, but, to me, infuriating. Use it or lose it.

Get off your lazy, complacent, spreading ass and vote, America!

Ahem. Did I type that out loud?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I thought this sort of thing might wait until after 11/02/04 ...

... but apparently, the Bush administration is worried enough about its election prospects that it's decided to go ahead and move forward with a crackdown on independent media, having seized servers in the UK that host more than twenty Indymedia websites.

This is, to say the least, rather unsettling, with the timing not only so close to the U.S. election but also on the cusp of the European Forum on Communications Rights. That happenstance in particular has been characterized as "ironic" by the UK Indymedia folks ... even more ironic (or perhaps merely coincidental ... or perhaps not) is the fact that Rackspace, the U.S. parent company of the UK server hosts, is based in ... wait for it ... Texas. Go figure. (For the record, I could not find evidence that anyone at the top at Rackspace supports W. or is even a Republican. But still.)

The ever-vigilant

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Election Stuf

Just a couple of election notes ... please read on and spread the word ...

First, an almost (almost) unbelievable, and highly illegal, attempt to influence the election in swing states, courtesy of Republican-connected media conglomerate Sinclair ...

And weirder still ... does Bush wear a wire?

(The whole story requires sitting through an animated ad or being a member of Salon, but it's worth reading ... or check your local Indymedia site for links. The story is zooming around the "Internets" [sic] like wildfire.)

UPDATE on the Karl & Condoleezza Puppet Show: Apparently Bush is still wired, as is apparent from new photos of the third and final debate. Having read some interesting analyses during the past week that were written by people who know about such things, I found it very compelling to watch Bush's eye movements tonight, especially when he was not speaking. His eyes darted back and forth rapidly, as if he were actively listening to someone - but not paying much attention to Kerry. And, as in the second debate, the Bush of Debate #3 sounded a lot more edumacated than the "it's hard work" Bush of Debate #1 ... I wonder if anyone has analyzed his new & improved vocabulary yet? (Here's an interesting look at the contrasting word choices from Debate #1.)

Peace out


Friday, October 08, 2004


my companion this friday night has an enviable capacity to relax so completely she can disappear. let her loose and she'd soon be a memory. she hasn't the least interest in maintaining walls or boundaries; she'd as soon dissolve into whomever and whatever she meets. that's self-assurance. that's confidence. damn, i envy that. that ability to let go everything, no hedged bets, high-wire act without a net.

she's so fond of self-dissapation, in fact, i keep her in a glass. she doesn't mind. there's one way in and one way out. it's for my own benefit that I do this, of course. i like to spend a little time with her before she goes. before she loses herself in her own curiosity for the world. jealously, i keep her in the palm of my hand. she looks great in low light. just a dim table lamp-- or, better yet, firelight. her pale amber color is richest in firelight, so sensuous and inviting.

for all her transitory nature, she makes a powerful impression and a delight to the senses. tonight, we've spent our time together reminiscing. she's good at that. she'll help you remember things. spend too much time with her and she'll help you forget them, too. for a while. i got to thinking of my father tonight, now almost a year gone. maybe i called on her to help me remember. i won't spend enough time with her to forget; i doubt i could, in any case-- or even want to. and she's patient. she'll listen thoughtfully or just sit quietly while i warm her with my hand.

this is my favorite glass. one of two, actually. they're just the right shape. less than three inches in width and height, with gently rounded bottoms that fit snugly in the palm. they once belonged to an aunt of mine; i acquired them from her years ago-- i don't even remember when anymore. these two and a few others, but these are my favorites, a pair for two such as myself. she'd be happy to split herself between them, too, and keep company for both. we could converse, watch the fire, reminisce; and we'd each consult with her now and again, lubrication for memory, golden goddess of impermanence.

tonight's generous companion, my glass of irish whisky.