"Palast shows that you not only won in Ohio, but in New Mexico as
well! Wow -- isn't that special...you should have stuck around
for a couple of days, John."
THE LAST BATTLE
Posted November 10, 2004
By: Sheila Samples
"Find out just what any people will
quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and
wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are
resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are
prescribed by the endurane of those whom they oppress."~~Frederick
Douglass, former slave and one of the most prominent African-American
lecturers and authors in American history.
So that's it, then. Like John Kerry says, it's
time to get over it. Move on. Get on with our lives and our jobs -- let the
Sounds good, John. But I don't intend to budge
until all the votes are counted, because when I started this journey I committed
for the long haul. Jumping ship to avoid putting the country through the
"agony" of investigating and challenging another sordid election coup
de`etat would never occur to me -- especially if I had 17,000 lawyers fired up
and ready to do battle. If, as you said, this was the single most important
election in our lifetime -- our one last shot at salvaging democracy -- it looks
like you could have, as a minimum, hung around until the results were in.
Maybe you'd have to stand in line for two hours
in a frigid, blowing rain like I did, John, to understand the determination to
do whatever it takes to cast a vote in Jim Inhofe Country where Democratic votes
don't count. Or, maybe you should mingle among the millions of others throughout
the nation -- the youth, women, Hispanics, Blacks, et al, that you alone
inspired to endure gruelling hours in long lines because you awakened them to
the truth that four more years of George Bush would make their lives, their jobs
and healing impossible?
I can only imagine the elation Ohio voters felt
-- many of them doggedly standing in line until 1 a.m. Wednesday to cast their
votes -- when your running mate John Edwards told
a crowd of supporters in Boston that ya'll were in it, as former president Bill
Clinton likes to say, until the last dog died. Edwards was speaking on your
behalf, John, when he said you "would wait until all the votes are counted
before deciding whether to concede the election or claim victory."
Looking back, I wonder whatever could have
provoked such an outburst, especially at 2:30 in the morning. Maybe it's because
Edwards really IS a man of the people, or maybe it's because he's the only
member of your team who was gonna be out of a job if you lost, but I believed
him when he said, "It’s been a long night, but we’ve waited four years
for this victory. We can wait one more night. We promised," Edwards said, "that
every vote would count and that every vote would be counted. Tonight, we are
keeping our word, and we will fight for every vote. You deserve no less.”
Edwards was telling us once again that "Hope
is on the way" and, for a few hours anyway, we had reason to believe him.
Until you showed up, John, with tears in your
eyes and a white flag in your hand. Like many Americans, especially those from
Ohio, I am stunned and heartbroken. Not that you lost the war, John, because
nobody could possibly have waged a braver war nor a more heroic one -- but that
you surrendered rather than fight that last crucial battle. According to USA
Today you gave up Wednesday morning after your aides updated Ohio's voting
numbers and told you it was "almost impossible" for you to win.
In your very gracious 21-minute concession
speech you flatly stated that we can't win this election. "Those slim
chances weren't worth deepening the division in our country," you said,
before bowing out with a plea to the president to "show more
My God, man -- have you forgotten this
president's particular brand of ghoulish compassion that got us into the deep
division we're currently floundering around in? When you consider four more
years of Bush compassion, how "fat" does a chance have to be before
you'll risk taking it?
If democracy is worth fighting for until the
polls open, it's a no-brainer that it's even more so after they close.
Fortunately, there are those who, unlike you, will not give up until every vote
is either counted or the reason it wasn't counted are clearly known.
Take Greg Palast, BBC correspondent and author of
New York Times best seller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," for
example. Although run out of the country for exposing the truth about the
vicious 2000 fiasco, Palast has never been deterred by the fear that getting the
truth out is "almost impossible." He has been in our faces for four
years -- literally, the mouth that roared. On Monday, Palast pointed
out that you and Edwards were already down by almost a million votes before
a single vote was cast. Aren't you even curious about that, John?
And, today, in his Tom Paine.com article
"Kerry Won," Palast shows that you not only won in Ohio, but in New
Mexico as well! Wow -- isn't that special...you should have stuck around
for a couple of days, John.
Since you've probably got some extra time on your
hands until the Inauguration, you might be interested in reading an in-depth
background piece on the trials and tribs of Bev Harris and Andy Stephenson (BlackBoxVoting.org)
over the past four years as they engaged in bloody battles with Ohio's Diebold
Election Systems' CEO Walden O'Dell in a futile effort to interest the media and
the public in the prospect of another election coup -- or non-violent overthrow
of the government.
Harris, a tireless investigator and author of
"Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century," says that no
less than 37 states installed the Diebold voting systems even though they knew
beforehand that Diebold offered no paper trail for votes, and were also aware
that O'Dell was a Bush Pioneer who raised more than $600,000 for the Bush/Cheney
campaign and promised in 2003 to "deliver Ohio's electoral votes to the
president next year."
Others, such as EarlG and SoCalDem over at
Democratic Underground.com, are relentlessly fighting that last battle even
though you have left the building, John. These guys point
out the obvious -- "in EVERY STATE that has paper audit trails on their
(sic) EVoting, the exit poll results match the actual results reported within
the margin of error." They say also that "EVERY STATE that has EVoting,
but no paper trails has an unexplained advantage for Bush of around +5 percent
when exit polls are compared to actual results."
Every state. Think about it, John. Sometimes
fighting that last battle, no matter how lengthy or bloody, is well worth it.
You would have been a good president, John --
even a great one. When I look at you I see an honest, caring American patriot,
and I am proud of the man who returned from Vietnam with a fistful of medals --
the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Combat V, three Purple Hearts, the
Presidential Unit Citation for Extraordinary Heroism, the National Defense
Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, three Republic of Vietnam Campaign
Medals, and the Combat Action Ribbon.
When I think of the past, I can't help but think
you must have done something right.
When I look into the future, I can't help but
wish this had been one of those times...
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer
and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She will accept praise
and atta-boys at email@example.com. Complaints and death threats should be
directed to her cousin, Junior Samples, at BR-549. © 2004 Sheila Samples.