I know a lot of you read this on RSS, or blow through here looking for screenwriting tips. I even know a fair number of political conservatives read us, thanks to the old "I Miss Republicans" bit. I know you have other things to do.
Take five minutes. Screenwriter or satire junkie, progressive or conservative, read the Robert Kennedy Jr. article on the 2004 election. Don't pull up short at the headline. Just read it through. I don't care if you're spitting epiteths at the hated liberals the entire time. Just read it. Feel free to read the Salon counterargument here. I agree with Farhad Manjoo of Salon in one important respect -- RFK JR's bizarre reliance on the "science" of exit polling. Like Ken Blackwell issuing a long series of completely illegal rulings right before the election, tampering with voting machines and lying about terrorist plots in order to hide the vote count isn't enough. Giving such weight to the polling angle actually softens up the article, and indeed is the subject of most of Manjoo's counter-strike.
You will notice, however, Salon lightly skipping over big chunks of Blackwell's actions, whistling and waving over yonder. No mention of the paper-weight registration trick or the multiple judges who found that Blackwell was interfering, repeatedly, with the election. It is a sad day when Salon's rejoinder in defense of the republic is "Sure, Blackwell was plainly a partisan bastard who betrayed the public trust, broke the law, and stole votes. But did he actually steal enough votes to swing the election? If not, no foul."
I will merely point out a bit of synchronicity as this intersects our current discussion. Perhaps the title "Was the 2004 Election Stolen" can be argued either way -- but a better question is "Was the 2004 Election Fair?" I believe even the Salon article cedes a definite "no."
In order to steal a direct election, you have to steal a million votes.
In order to steal an Electoral College election, you only have to queer the count in ONE STATE.
Let's reason together, lefties and righties. Regardless of how you feel about Bush, in 2000 the man who got the most votes in America did not become President.
And you came damn, damn close in 2004 to giving the Presidency to another man who did not win the most votes -- and this was only avoided by the plainly illegal (go ahead and sue me, and enjoy the discovery process, Sparky) actions of Blackwell. I will argue that giving the Presidency to Kerry if he'd won Ohio -- while technically correct -- would have been equally as wrong as how Bush won the presidency in the first place.
This is ridiculous. It's the 21st Century. Please, go read Edwards' book. There are many, many fixes that need to be made in America's voting system, but I believe that eliminating the influence of the Electoral College will give us the buffer needed to work downward through the system from the top.
Every vote, progressive or conservative, must be counted. Every vote is equal. Every vote must be counted. If we can't even agree on that, then we're already a banana republic. And it's too damn late.