Monday, September 24, 2012

Fair and Honest Elections - The Hallmark of Democracy

Free, Open, and Fair elections are supposed to be the hallmark of Democracy.  One Person - One Vote.  We send our military all over the world spreading democracy by the barrel of a gun and with Predator Drones.  When we hear about Election Fraud in other countries we wag our fingers and send in Jimmy Carter to oversee those elections.

We lampoon countries like Iran where Ahmadinejad gets 99% of the vote.  Or Egypt where Hosni Mubarak would get 99% of the vote.  Or North Korea where King Jong-il would get 99% of the vote.  We question Russia when Vladimir Putin keeps getting re-elected.

And while we celebrate Democracy in this country we have never really been a democracy.  When the United States was formed only white men could vote.  Women couldn't even vote until 1920.  Throughout our history there have been numerous scandals of ballot stuffing, election fraud, and voter suppression.

Vote buying also has a time honored tradition in our politics.  Vote for So-And-So and get a loaf of bread and cup of hot soup.  Vote for So-And-So and get $25.  So-And-So promises a Chicken in every Pot and a Car in every Garage if you just vote for him or her.

We don't have to look that far in our past to see election irregularities.  If all the votes in Florida had been counted (not just the counties Al Gore wanted recounted) Al Gore would have won.  John Kerry was winning in 2004 until tens of thousands of absentee ballots showed up for Bush unexplained in Ohio.

Election Fraud goes on at the smallest towns and largest States in this country.  I don't know how we as a People cal celebrate and claim to be Champions of Democracy when we cannot even ensure we have free, honest, and open elections in our own country.

I know what some say - they say we are not a Democracy.  We are a Republic.  We have been ruled by the Wealthy Elite since the founding of this Nation and continue to be.  We did not even get the direct election of Senators until 1913.  Some to this day want to repeal the 17th Amendment and return the election of Senators to State Governments.

The more things change the more they stay the same.  The wealthy continue to peddle their influence and buy elections.  The Government doesn't serve The People but the wealthy elite who fund the campaigns and then make demands of our elected officials.

I don't know what it will take to get free, fair, and honest elections.  It would take The People rising up and demanding it.  But far too many people have a vested interest in seeing those in power stay in power.  Far more are bought off for a promise of an appointed position, a government contract, a tax subsidy, or access to resources they normally would not get.

With such rampant corruption it sometimes boggles my mind how we have even managed to survive as a country for this long.