After Shock & Gawk

— James E. Vann

NOVEMBER 3 BEGAN with a shock — the early morning newscast reporting the front page of The London Daily Mirror: “How Can 59,054,087 People be So Dumb?” Culminating what had seemed the longest and unceasingly miserable campaign in U.S. history — and in its wake, the most inconceivable of outcomes: The brazen robber was presented the reward!!

Was the campaign stolen yet again? Most likely! Will the theft be exposed? Most probably!

Already, investigative reporter Greg Palast has documented widespread abuses showing Kerry actually won Ohio, and even Florida, and hence the Electoral College majority sufficient to assume the presidency. Also BlackBoxVoting has petitioned the records of 3000 electronic voting precincts, based on solid evidence that Dem and Repub vote tallies throughout the middle states were switched.

Will it matter? Will it make a difference? No! And again, NO! The poultry thieves still own the chicken house. Despite a number of legally filed challenges to the Ohio vote totals, just five days following the delayed certification of the state’s ballot count, the Electoral College fatally validated the election of Dubya for four more disastrous years.

And even if incontrovertible proof stacks as high as the once proud WTC, any challenge would ultimately go to the same Supreme Court. Is it imaginable that the Bush Court would do less than their stellar 2000 performance?

Expose the graft: Yes, if only for the sake of our “democracy” fable. But know well that no hoped-for invalidation can follow.

Beyond Belief and Reason

In light of overwhelming reality, the unforeseen and unbelievable Bush victory is beyond reason. A new report by the Program on International Policies Studies, a nonpartisan think tank, titled “The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters” confirms the disbelief.

After considering numerous measures, the report concludes:

"...Bush supporters generally were out of touch with reality. Whether they chose the right candidate or not does not negate the fact that their method of decision-making was not evidence-based...About 30% of Bush supporters had a decent grasp of the issues regarding Iraq, which would equate to about 16% of those who cast votes. About 70% of Kerry voters had an equally accurate grasp, which equates to about 35% of the total voting public. In other words, among those who more accurately knew the status of issues relating to Iraq, Kerry prevailed by a 2 to 1 margin with voters who had a clue."

Since that fateful Tuesday, life itself has appeared a fog — a mirage — a nightmare.

Can this have even happened? That 59 million people — many jobless and living in poverty since Bush sent their jobs abroad; unable to seek medical care due to skyrocketed costs and no health insurance; suffering homelessness because guaranteed housing subsidies are precipitously being taken away; facing rising living costs due to three successive multi-billion tax cuts to the rich with more on the way; and consciously aware that their president repeatedly told them bald-face lies about Iraq & 911, lies that continue to take the lives of their own young children — can yet still choose to vote against their very existence: What could more boggle a sane mind?

Dark Ages

Brace ourselves, we must. The coming months will usher in the dankest of dark ages. With four years of incontestable, unlimited power; overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress; a veto-proof Senate; a soon-to-be 6-3 Supreme Court; the preponderance of governorships; in fact, all sectors of government, plus an administration with no requisite to account to anyone — the Bush cabal is perfectly situated to run roughshod over the Constitution itself.

This is a time like no other for the rich and the powerful. The field is completely open to avarice; the only restraint will be inability to absorb their own greed. During the next four years, Bill Moyers predicts that the now cemented alliance of administration and corporations is so rife for unfettered graft, corruption, and wrongdoing that any investigative reporter worth her salt will have no off-days.

What can be done? First and foremost, the Democratic Party must now be dismissed — in its entirety. No more excuses. To this very day, all the rotten excesses of the Bush administration have been sanctioned by, and will continue to have overwhelming consent of the mindless, gutless Democrats.

The Supreme Court is lost to moderate interpretation for at least a generation. For the next decade, Congress is likely transfixed with Republican majorities. And we must not forget the shocking opening scene from “Fahrenheit 911” where the Democratic Party refused to put forward just one of its 47 senators to co-sponsor the Congressional Black Caucus’ challenge to certification of the 2000 election.

No greater illustration is needed of how the two parties of corporate rule carry out their marching orders on matters of African American exclusion. Earlier this year, SEIU President Andy Stern announced that Labor should “reconsider its relationship with the Democratic Party because this relationship was more and more a one-way street.” The progressive movement cannot do less.

No More Lesser Evils

The case for Party allegiance could not be weaker than at present. All prior rationale in support of “lesser-evilism” no longer holds. In Congress, for a long time to come, only small losing skirmishes will flare up, then die without a flame. Nothing good will happen at the national level that is worth progressive energy.

After the election, Al From, the Democratic Leadership Council head, stated emphatically that for the Party to recover, it must grow even closer to Republican philosophy. Is this what progressives must look forward to?

The media will continue to function as stenographers of the administration, too timid to even ask a question, and forsaking of their duty as the people’s watchdogs against government abuse.

Demonstrations and marches must continue — simply because they must. Massive shows of aggrieved people remain one of the few alternatives, available for the present, to bear witness against our own, and the world’s oppression under our now “mandate-ed,” illegitimate government.

There can be no further illusions. The Bush cabal has conclusively shown its lack of either morals or shame. Even the pleadings in 2002 of ten million people against illegal war, worldwide, in bitter winter weather, did not warrant a blink of acknowledgment. We must face truth. This misbegotten election has left “we the people” lonesome, alone, and practically helpless.

But We Can Build. The time is now to cast off the Democratic Party shackles that have inhibited serious consideration of the future, and of where, as a people, we should be headed. With patience, understanding, persistence, and determination, we CAN build toward a hopeful future.

The wrongly manipulated evangelical affiliation is not huge, maybe 10 to 15 million. But for the last thirty or so years, this messianic movement was steadily building. Finally, the word went out that their time had come. And thus, on Tuesday, November 2, casting aside all so-called “issues” and even reality, evangelicals, together with hardened conservatives, took advantage of the moment and in rote, single-minded alliance, succeeded in seizing power.

New Beginning

It is the Left that now stands at the precipice. A singular legacy of Kerry’s defeat is there is no hoped-for liberal head of state to require a “honeymoon,” and the consequent yearning for what would never have come — except the devastating effects that “the waiting” would have on stifling left organizing, causing innumerable internal conflicts regarding the appropriateness of potential strategies.

The needed new beginning for the Left, fortunately, is already in motion. For the 2004 campaign, Left organizing was unbelievable, swelling the ranks opposing tyranny to over 56 million — well beyond all wildest expectations.

All across the country, new forms of activism sprang up — from local leafleting to global cybernets which, combined with traditional stalwarts from organized labor, churches, liberal and progressive enclaves created, as never before, a treasure trove of political contributions and an avalanche of motivated new voters.

MoveOn PAC, America Coming Together (ACT), VoteAmerica, True Majority.org, AlterNet.org, IndyMedia.org, CommonDreams.org, NARAL, AFL-CIO’s Working Families, SEIU & Progressive Labor Unions, Michael Moore & “Fahrenheit 911,” Rock The Vote, the impromptu cyber army of Howard Dean, FacingSouth, RadioAmerica, CountEveryVote2004, Medea Benjamin & Jodie Evans’ Code Pink, Progressive Majority, BiogemsDefenders, League of Independent Voters, Slam Bush & the Hip Hop Political Convention, the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, George Lakoff and Rockridge Institute, remnants of the Green party, Labor Party, third party advocates, and others are but a few of a new, energized, emerging progressive front.

This magnificent beginning must not falter. A duty DEMANDING to be fulfilled is to convene this veritable new army in a massive interactive setting. Old and new leaders and activists MUST meet, talk, consider, question, deliberate, create, plan, strategize and present: a new course of support and coordination; a program of the least number of clear goals universally common throughout the movement; a tactical plan for ongoing resistance; a basis for alliance and for growing the new alliance; and common goals to move forward.

This is a New Day. If Planet Earth is to survive, progressives must, in time, be able to rise from the madness we now confront — and must, with anticipation, ready ourselves to chart a new course.

Ultimately, this period presents an urgent challenge to each of the ‘shining lights’ of the progressive movement: Zinn, Chomsky, Kuchinich, Sanders, Conyers, Soros, Scherr, Sweeney, Parenti, Lakoff, Solomon, Fletcher, Moore, Johnson, Krugman, Huffington, Pollitt, Daniels, Camejo, Waters, Stern, Ehrenrich, Robinson, McReynolds and others — to huddle, to get something started.

Initially this will occur one-to-one, then two-to-four, and so on, until the ball begins to roll. The first enclave will take time, but that is OK — so long as a momentum is building. And, hopefully, in order to propagate far and wide word of the New Day, there will be many more.

What is paramount is to get started. As the universally respected, recently departed mentor — Arthur Kinoy — would say: “Let us put heads together”!

An uncompromising dread has given rise to an unparalleled opportunity for the Left that now awaits. If this unanticipated opening is allowed to fritter into nothingness, the worst shame of 2004 may not, after all, be the horrid election of an idiot Texan.

ATC 114, January-February 2005