Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Rough Week

I've intended to post something all week that would sum up the feeling angst that many of us now feel. I know I am not the only one who had to display heroic levels of self restraint when encountering gleeful Republicans at the office or resist the urge to incite road rage in the drivers of pickups sporting "W" stickers in combination with disrespectful American flag waving during the morning commute. Or perhaps you don't even have a morning commute anymore.

People, such as Michael Moore, have encouraged us to look on the bright side or at least not to slit our wrists. At *least* 55, 949, 407 people voted for Kerry. That's quite a few. Only (at least) 115, 409, 172 people voted all together. That means, using 2000 census figures, (at most) 166, 012, 734 didn't vote. Why? Some of those people think that the fight is fixed, so why bother. Some of those people probably didn't register in time.
Some of those people couldn't get to the polls easily. Did the people who benefit from Meals on Wheels get to vote? Are all the polling places accessible to everyone? If there are people who just don't care, then why? Why are the voting mechanisms different in some states from others? If voters in Oregon get their ballots by mail, then shouldn't we all? Shouldn't black box voting be abandoned? Obviously there are questions still to be answered and more work to be done. If, in the worse case, it is fixed, then something needs to be done about it.

There won't be a major election for a while and people will keep dying in Iraq, the environment will be damaged and kids in our schools will be educated about creationism while we wait for another chance. I realize that the obvious solution is to round up the 59,459,765 Bush voters (Guantanamo style) and hold them in a containment area in close proximity to the US's leaking chemical weapon stockpiles. I'm afraid that it's probably *not* an option.

Many people simply are not aware of what is going in the world around them. In most people's cases, all they have time to do is watch the news. That's what I do. I try to at least make sure I watch every new episode of the Daily Show. Given that news media is influenced by their corporations or they feel threatened enough not to report the news at all, simply watching the news does not provide people with an adequate sense of their surroundings. It is vitally important that you try to educate these people by explaining what you have read in books, foreign newspapers and, yes, on the net. There are so many reputable resources available that you should have no trouble backing up your arguments. I have even run into many progressive friends who don't know about all the activities of the neocons, so it's important to make sure that they are on top of things as well.

What else can you do? Hit them in the only place they care about, their pocketbooks. I know that the five or so people who read my blog regularly will be something like the nibble of a dustmite, but every little bit helps.
Check out, which, somewhat surprisingly, is a British site. There are other good links on there, too. Sometimes choosing products or businesses based on the candidates they support is impractical, but if enough people choose wisely at least part of the time, it will make a difference.

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