The heal deal 

We are being told that now that this bitterly divisive election is finally behind us, it’s time to let the healing begin. For the good of the country, it is said, we must unite behind the president elected to lead us and give him our support as we set aside our differences and forge ahead. News Hits says, “Screw that.”

In an election that came down to fewer than 200,000 votes in Ohio, our once and future president is claiming a mandate to pursue his radically right-wing agenda. In the face of this, progressives are supposed to roll over and play nice? Let a packed Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade? Let Social Security be undermined? Let environmental degradation and the causes of global warming continue unabated? Let tax cuts obscenely skewed toward the wealthiest among us become permanent? Let the neo-cons lead us into more wars? Let the deficit spiral out of control? Let health-care costs continue to skyrocket? Let the bigotry of religious fundamentalists continue?

Let us repeat ourselves: Screw that.

Where to start the disloyal opposition? The election process itself is as good a place as any.

We say this with no small amount of trepidation. Could it really be that another election has been stolen? It’s a question that, even in the asking, sounds so full of sour grapes that most seem hesitant to even raise the query. Certainly it’s not a question Sen. John Kerry and the leaders of the Democratic Party want to make an issue. And the mainstream media isn’t showing much interest in wading into such murky waters. It’s an issue that most of us, it seems, would rather see buried. Investigative reporter Greg Palast, a Brit who did extensive work covering the scandal of the 2000 election, isn’t among that majority. He put it this way in a piece he did for the lefty Web publication TomPaine.com:

“I know you don’t want to hear it. You can’t face one more hung chad. But I don’t have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it’s my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.”

Could it be?

News Hits can’t say for certain. What we do know is that the question is a fair one, and it deserves a conclusive answer. And we’re not the only ones who think so. Rep. John Conyers, a Detroit Democrat who has long served on the House Judiciary Committee, is also looking for answers. His concerns were expressed in a letter he and two other Democratic congressmen sent last week to David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States.

Their letter begins: “We write with an urgent request that the Government Accountability Office immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to difficulties they encountered and what we can do in the future to improve our election systems and administration.”

The congressmen go on to highlight many points of concern, among them “numerous reports” that voters in heavily Democratic areas of Florida and Ohio saw George W. Bush’s name appear on their electronic voting machines after they attempted to cast votes for Kerry.

“We are literally receiving additional reports every minute and will transmit additional information as it becomes available,” Conyers wrote. “The essence of democracy is the confidence of the electorate in the accuracy of voting methods and the fairness of voting procedures. In 2000, that confidence suffered terribly, and we fear that such a blow to our democracy may have occurred in 2004.”

What can you do? We suggest you pay a visit to www.blackboxvoting.org, the Web site hosted by a nonprofit group doing its damnedest to document what the hell just went down in voting booths across America. On Election Night, the group filed 3,000 Freedom of Information Act requests with election officials throughout the country.

Now they want help — lawyers who will assist in enforcing public records laws, computer security experts willing to examine and comment on the evidence gathered, and citizen volunteers to help in this massive undertaking. And they need cash to help pay for it all.

So there’s a place to start. Or, you can be a compliant conceder and shout “Hallelujah!” as Bush and Co. take us on an unimpeded forced march ever further to the right.

The election may be over, but there’s still a choice to make.

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

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