Since the news broke of the allegedly rigged elections in the Ukraine, I have had more than a few thoughts about the similarities and differences between Ukrainians and Americans.
When fraud emerged as an apparently major player in the contest between prime-minister candidates Viktor Yanukovych (the Russia-backed “winner”) and Victor Yushchenko (the reportedly true choice of the people), Ukrainians took to the streets and refused to have their wish ignored. Last month, the US had an election where “irregularities” seemed to be abundant. Yet people in this country silently went along with the notion that Dubya Bush won a clear victory over John Kerry.
Many may take my view as mere sour grapes from a crazy leftist, but consider this:
More than 30,000 complaints about the US voting process have been lodged. Thirty thousand. Perhaps a recounting would not give Kerry a win, but isn’t it important and necessary to make sure every vote counts?
Meanwhile, Juan Gonzales of the New York Daily News has found many 2000-like irregularities in investigating vote tallies in Ohio, the state that supposedly gave Dubya his political capital.
The Nov. 2 US election shananigans sound frighteningly similar to what went on in the East European nation to me. When politicians tried to squelch the voice of Ukrainians, they stood up to demand their rights and freedom. Why aren’t Americans doing the same? Why aren’t they amassing in the streets and shutting down the White House to ensure that their voices are heard? What is wrong with them? And why can’t I shake this feeling that America needs to be saved not only from Shrub and his gang, but from its citizens’ own complacency?
Thankfully, not all Americans are lazy or apathetic. As Doug Chapin, director of the nonpartisan electionline.org, told the Washington Post, “This is not a fringe issue, because a sizable group is interested in pursuing this as a policy issue going forward. There’s now a critical mass of people involved who want to address the problems that occurred in 2004. This issue is not going to go away.”
He’s got that right.
Meanwhile, folks will take to the streets on Jan. 20. From the DC Anti-War Network: “DAWN calls for people all over the nation and world to converge on Washington, DC, on the day of George W. Bush’s Inauguration, Jan. 20, 2005, for peaceful anti-war actions. While DAWN is coordinating with many groups for a day of actions, DAWN calls additionally for these specific actions: (1) A permitted nonviolent anti-war rally followed by a march to Bush’s inaugural parade route; (2) A nonviolent civil disobedience die-in, following the rally, in memorial to the dead at the hands of Bush and his Administration.” I will be there; you should be there too.