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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