American Nightmare: Different Approaches to Dealing

Shades of 2000: Journalist Greg Palast says John Kerry actually won Tuesday’s election.

Say what?

Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. CNN’s exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio’s male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.

So what’s going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, “Who did you vote for?” Unfortunately, they don’t ask the crucial, question, “Was your vote counted?” The voters don’t know.

Here’s why. Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded. This was predictable and it was predicted. [See TomPaine.com, “An Election Spoiled Rotten,” November 1.]

Once again, at the heart of the Ohio uncounted vote game are, I’m sorry to report, hanging chads and pregnant chads, plus some other ballot tricks old and new.

It’s a theory; it may well be accurate. But Kerry has conceded, the Edwards family has a bigger issue to face, Bush is off to spend his political capital, and we are just going to have to deal with the mess. Going by reported percentage totals, 51 percent of the country stands behind the lying, imperialist terrorist Christian-fundie bigot. We who are part of the remaining 49 percent, if we don’t or can’t flee, will have to dig in our heels and fight.


A quote from the Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge on the Christian GLBT site Whosoever describes the country into which fate left me, the one that made such a horrible decision this week: “The United States, as a nation, does not possess any of the qualities of blessedness that Jesus spells out. We are a rich nation, where the meek, the hungry and the peacemakers are marginalized, not only in society at large, but within the nation’s churches, as well. We are not God’s chosen nation — we are a nation forsaken by God — a nation that has forgotten that to be truly blessed is to be humble and meek.”

My dear friend, activist Kara Speltz, sent e-mail pointing to a recent entry at Rev. Chellew’s blog, The Christian Agnostic. Like many of us, the election news depressed her and thoughts of moving to Canada filled her head. But then, after praying for peace, she heard a song by the Indigo Girls:

I sang along with the song for a few minutes before the words sank in. I’d heard the song so many times and know it by heart, but suddenly, the words took on power and meaning – they were God’s answer to my morning prayer.

The song is called “Let it Be Me” from their 1992 release Swamp Ophelia. The song itself was written about the first Bush administration, but it still applies today.

Sticks and stones battle zones
A single light bulb on a single thread for the black
Sirens wail history fails rose-colored glass begins to age and crack
While the politicians shadowbox the power ring
In an endless split decision never solve anything
From a neighbor’s distant land
I heard the strain of the common man …

Well the world seems spent
And the president has no good idea of who the masses are
Well I’m one of them and I’m among friends
Trying to see beyond the fences of our own backyard
I’ve seen kingdoms blow like ashes in the winds of change
But the power of truth is the fuel for the flame
So the darker the ages get there’s a stronger beacon yet

Let it be me (this is not a fighting song) let it be
me (not a wrong for a wrong) let it be me,
If the world is night shine my life like a light
In the kind word you speak
In the turn of the cheek
When your vision stays clear
In the face of your fear
Then you see turning off a light switch is their only power
When we stand like spotlights in a mighty tower
All for one and one for all
Then we sing the common call

“Let it be me,” the words swirled in my head. As 11 states voted to deny marriage rights to people like me, as an administration with a track record of
oppressing the poor, the marginalized and the outcast seems poised to fill the office for four more years, as discrimination, greed and a mean-spirited form of
religion seems to take hold in our land, these words resonated deeply inside.

“Let it be me” who shows the world that Christians are not petty and mean. “Let it be me” who shows the world that lesbian couples are just as boring as
heterosexual couples when they come home, fix dinner, feed the dogs and take out the trash. “Let it be me” that person who reminds the world that love casts out fear and that justice will roll down like waters in a mighty stream. “Let it be me” that speaks truth to power. “Let it be me” who makes a difference in the
lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who are hurt and angry because they have been abandoned by their families, their churches, their
neighbors and their political leaders.

If the world is night, shine my life like a light. …

Shine your life like a light today my brothers and sisters. Do not despair. God’s justice may be slow in coming but it will arrive and it will be a glorious day when love finally triumphs over fear, mercy wins over sacrifice, equality wins over oppression, distributive justice wins over greed, honesty trumps dirty tricks, and compassion is no longer a politically hollow word.

Must say I like her approach. Of course, there are other approaches. The following is a suggestion to UNplug GWB.

In 2000, GWB was selected for us by his Supreme Court.
We survived. And grew stronger.

In 2004, GWB was selected for us by Osama bin Laden.
We shall survive. And grow stronger.

Here’s the plan: UNplug GWB. Do absolutely as little as possible to support GWB.

So what’s changed, you ask?

Everything. We thought it was enough just to show his deceit and to vote him out. But he and Osama conned too many Simpletons. Now we must do everything possible to cause GWB’s corrupt way of life to fail.

This is a warrior’s defensive strategy, to celebrate all the good things about being a loyal American citizen. We do it quietly. We do it with friends. We do it
in the spirit of 55.4 million patriotic Americans who said loudly that they understand the dangers of GWB. We do NOT do it with his comrades.

Like all movements, this one is from the heart, and requires commitment and sacrifice. It builds a stronger you. And it builds a better America.

UNplug is what it says it is: no support for GWB. No energy flows to him while you are UNplugged.

  1. Conserve. Everything.
    • When you conserve, you don’t spend. That helps bring down a corrupt economy. Trade. Barter services. Just don’t buy. Make it yourself. Repair it. Do without.
    • Find alternatives to driving. Walk, ride a bike, car pool or just don’t go. Buying gasoline supports GWB’s mid-east oil wars. Conserving oil brings down the price, and under finances GWB’s plan for global dominance.
    • Plant a Victory Garden. Turn a plot of ground this Autumn and enrich it. Plan it over the Winter. Plant it next Spring. Begin enjoying fresh wholesome food that does not support GWB. Bless him with every bite! (Live in a city? Look into square-foot gardening.)
    • Earn less. Spend less. Pay less taxes. Enjoy life more.
    • You pay no tax to the war machine on what you make for yourself or friends, what you grow, trade or barter.
  2. Turn-off distractions.
    • Turn off the TV. Listen to music. Take a walk.
    • Never shop at Wallmart again. Stop consuming.
    • Teach your children honesty, thrift, and how to UNplug.
    • Unclutter. Yard sale or send Goodwill your junk.
      Use these 4 years to reduce your possessions by at least half.
  3. Break your addictions. Live healthy. Live happy.
    • Refuse to participate in any activities dominated by Republicans. Choose carefully where to apply your precious time. Find others who share your core beliefs.
    • Leave Republicans off your guest list. They are not your true friends, and never can be.
    • Cherish the friends you made fighting GWB. Build bridges and allegiances with others of similar mind.
    • Our job is to drop below their radar screen, repair and rebuild, and emerge stronger than ever before.
  4. Withdraw. Grow inwardly.
    • Open a good book. Use the Public Library. Buy less. Trade and loan books you own, or give them to the Library.
    • Take a class. Learn a skill. Become self-sufficient.
    • Develop habits of confidence, intelligent thinking, and true compassion for those who are worthy. Grow strong. Live simply.
    • Visualize GWB as a metastasizing cancer, ever consuming the good of our Nation. He can never be accommodated, appeased, nor long tolerated.
  5. Teach and learn.
    • Teach someone. Mentor and raise consciousness.

And know in your heart, that these things taken in the fullness of their measure nurture your America.

GWB sought to conquer America by dividing her into competing factions bonded only by his hatred. And so he has. In a CNN poll, 66% said they would NOT get behind whomever won. There is absolutely no reason to support anything GWB wants to do. Good folks always have healthy, happier alternatives.

In our history during war times, Americans survive by cutting back, sharing, and sacrificing. This assault by GWB on everything good and decent in America
requires nothing less. Live a better life with less, contributing a big Zero to GWB’s success.

The flag in my front yard now flies at half mast, and shall until the day the man that Osama bin Laden put back in our White House has been vanquished.

I don’t agree with everything in there — segregation makes me nervous — but some of the ideas provided are helpful. Living a kynd lifestyle is the thing to do, IMO, no matter who occupies the White House.

While we are trapped in a land where slightly more than half of the nation’s voters are poised as our enemies and enemies of truth of justice, we must nurture ourselves for the unavoidable fight between Left and Right, true and false Christianity, people and greed, good and evil. Standing against the Shrub and those who support him is a huge part of that.

Of course, if you can flee, more power to you.

Speaking of which, I’ve been hearing a lot of the “love America or leave it” crap from gloating right-wingers. Frankly, if I could afford to go, I would. In a heartbeat. So — here is an opportunity to help a queer pinko get the hell out of America and protect her kids from the 51 percent: The official AF&O Flee to Canada Fund is accepting any and all contributions.

Any and all proceeds will go toward rescuing a progressive-left family from the pit of hell that is mendacious, Shrub-loving Amerikkka. Thanks in advance for your support.

Tongue removed from cheek: Until the flight, we fight. My perennial question is: Can America be saved from the fascists, fundies, and ‘phobes? I doubt it. Seriously. But while I am trapped here, I will do my best to make a positive difference. I pray you will too.

One way to start: Check out the Armchair Activist Alert of the Day in the sidebar.

Another way, from No Stolen Election:

FOUR THINGS YOU CAN DO TO DEMAND DEMOCRACY

  • MONITOR OHIO. Watch the situation in Ohio and be ready to respond to calls of support from Ohio groups. Read the reports by Black Box Voting and an article by Greg Palast alleging that Ohio’s touchscreen machines skewed the election. Also see this.
  • MEET-UP with members of your community. Have a community meeting to create a space to speak-out and discuss voting irregularities in your community, what happened nationally, and where do we go from here to demand accountability. Post your meeting on-line at No Stolen Election – click on “Directory of Local Actions.”
  • CONNECT with the Urgent Response Network:
    1. Sign the Pledge of Action, and check your email for alerts
    2. Check this and related websites regularly
    3. Sign up to receive text-message alerts on your cell phone
    4. Call 917-779-0013 for an automated voice mail message
  • INFORM YOURSELF about and advocate for the full platform of voting rights, election, and structural reforms that will democratize America. Go to http://www.Nov3.Us and click on “Defend Voting Rights,” “Reform Our Elections,” and “Deepen Our Democracy,” for some great places to start.

Again, stand by, be vigilant, and don’t forget that all of your efforts for peace, justice, and democracy are going to create positive change in the long run.

Positive is as positive does. Let’s get to work… positively.

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