Opinion: Day to fear

Matt Vroom

Matt Vroom

By Alex Dunkel

Sen. John Kerry doesn’t stand a chance in this national election. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I’m not trying to discourage people from voting, nor am I pushing a Republican agenda. To be upfront and honest, I’ll be voting against President Bush on Nov. 2. However, regardless of what the polls say, this election strongly favors the incumbent.

First of all, the anti-Bush political groups have gravely underestimated the power of religion. Efforts to persuade a few people here and there to get out and vote pale in comparison to the massive efforts launched by rural churches. All across the United States, many of these religious groups have held voter-registration drives, while their sermons are filled with pro-Bush rhetoric. It wouldn’t be surprising if the number of voters who attend church rises in this upcoming election.

The most frightening facts threaten more than just the election but our democracy itself. Regardless of whether they’ll benefit from it, even Republicans should fear the implications of using electronic voting machines. Looking beyond the common concerns over hacking and equipment failures, we should be concerned about the handover of our voting systems to private industry.

As it stands, major voting-machine vendors have strong political connections. Several of these CEOs have close ties to the Bush administration and right-wing groups. The most notorious is Walden O’Dell, the CEO of Diebold, who stated in a 2003 Republican fund-raising letter that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president.”

During the 2002 elections, there were several major upsets in Georgia that reeked of foul play. Electronic-voting machines had been used, and many Democrats who led in the polls were defeated by their Republican counterparts. Though many agree that polls are not a good indicator of who will win an election, there was much more to this story.

Although it was given little or no press time by our corporate media giants, it was known that exit-poll workers found wide discrepancies between their polling numbers and the outcomes of these races. The discrepancies were so significant that no one could offer an explanation. If privatized voting systems that leave no paper trail are to become the norm in this country, then I fear democracy will die within the near future. Maybe, then, U.S. citizens will have good reason to rejoice over newly legalized assault weapons. With the death of democracy, revolution might be our only remaining choice.

In a way, democracy already might be dead. Corporations and special-interest groups have strangled our political system for decades. Even the Democratic Party is guilty of corruption. Democrats are nearly as bad as Republicans when it comes to taking money from special-interest groups.

Furthermore, after the 2000 presidential election, the Democrats failed their voters and the nation by not pressing to hold the state of Florida to its laws, which would have required recounts in every county. Instead, they conceded most of the state so they could focus on only a few counties. When minority groups demanded investigations into illegal voter purges, Democrats turned a deaf ear.

The list of betrayals to the people and democracy go on and on. In then end, Democrats are only marginally better than their lying, anti-democracy counterparts: the right-wing Republicans.

All in all, the future for Kerry looks bleak. With religious organizations preaching right-wing agendas and reaping the benefits of their strong influence, the scattered success of the anti-Bush movement will likely prove ineffective. The privatization of the U.S. voting system, replete with biased CEOs and promised election results, spells the end for democracy in this nation. What should be our best hope, the Democratic Party, has failed its (non-corporate) supporters and this nation. As a result, both Kerry and democracy stand little or no chance on Nov. 2.

Steve Kline’s column will appear Friday. Alex Dunkel is a University employee. He can be reached at [email protected]