Re: [sixties-l] Bedtime for Democracy

From: William M. Mandel (
Date: 12/19/00

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        I voted for Nader, but have to deal with the fact that the overwhelming majority
    of my fellow-citizens who did vote chose to cast their ballots for Gore or Bush.
    Studies of those who did  not vote in recent elections showed that their opinions do
    not divide on fundamental issues very differently from those who do. So then, are we
    elitists who share Justice O'Connor's attitude that the cheated citizens are dumb
    animals: "don't they know how to follow instructions?" and must therefore have
    leadership imposed on them, or do we undertake the well-established principle that we
    start from where the people are?
        The swindle perpetrated by the Bush brothers and the U.S. Supreme Court  has, in
    fact, changed the rules of the game. Hitherto, the bottom line for the person in the
    street was: "it's a free country, ain't it?" and that, when push came to shove, your
    vote was as good as the next guy's. Now, however, half of the voting population at
    least, and certainly half of the non-voters, know that their votes for the office with
    ultimate power, do not count. That will unquestionably push a larger percentage of the
    voters in a fascist direction (a term I use with the utmost circumspection) than has
    ever previously been the case: if my vote doesn't count, then I'll follow somebody who
    will do what the country needs by any means necessary.
        There are two ways to deal with that. One is to seek a totalitarian solution in
    the opposite direction. The history of the past century demonstrates that, in the long
    run, that doesn't work to the people's benefit, although it may for the full lifetime
    of a generation. The remaining alternative is, quoting Langston Hughes, to "Let
    America Be America Again, the land that has never been, but yet must be." It is to
    organize the dissatisfaction over what Stew Albert rightly calls a coup, into a
    movement that will eliminate the residues of slavery in the Constitution: the
    Electoral College with its two automatic votes for states whose population is less
    than that of a single borough of Manhattan, and the proviso that Scalia can misread to
    contend that citizens now vote for the president (mediated by the Electoral College)
    only because state legislatures permit them to, and not as a matter of right.
        It's time for a constitutional amendment, perhaps more than one, as was the case
    after the Civil War. And if that does not happen overnight, that's fine, because it
    will require educating the citizenry state by state in order to achieve the
    super-majority required for ratification. And just because that demands keeping the
    issue in the foreground over a period of years, it will compel those who seek seats in
    Congress and the Senate and the state legislatures to declare themselves on this
    matter. In the long run, a national accord on democracy will have to be achieved.
        As to capitalism and capitalist imperialism, Ted Morgan must ask himself whether
    he wants to sit by and watch the country go fascist before the people is willing not
    only to confront but to come to a consensus on those issues, or whether he wants to
    work  to make sure that they can be dealt with without a civil war. Let him remember
    the lesson of the revolutions of this past century: those who take to the sword perish
    by the sword.
                                                                    Bill Mandel
    Ted Morgan wrote:
    > If this election marks "bedtime for democracy," I wonder what kind of somnolescent
    > state it's been in prior to this election!

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