We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
• latest news
• best of news
• syndication
• commentary




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/ĂŽle-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

COUP WATCH: Right To Vote MIA In Courts, Media & Gore Campaign

by Paul Rosenberg Wednesday, Dec. 06, 2000 at 3:35 PM

Two crucial court decisions yesterday reinforced the marginal importance of the right to vote in American and Floridian law, while media coverage from Fox to Pacifica focused narrowly on Al Gore’s waning chances of becoming President, and totally ignored the beating being taken by the right to vote. This is what it looks like when the system “works.”

error COUP WATCH: Right To Vote MIA In Courts, Media & Gore Campaign

By Paul Rosenberg

Two crucial court decisions yesterday reinforced the marginal importance of the right to vote in American and Floridian law, while media coverage from Fox to Pacifica focused narrowly on Al Gore's waning chances of becoming President, and totally ignored the beating being taken by the right to vote. As for the Gore campaign itself, it now appears it will pay a heavy price for ignoring the widespread violations of voting rights reported by voters and activists, particularly against the rights of minority voters. But this is what it looks like when the system "works."

The Supreme Court's primary concern was that the Florida Supreme Court not rely on the right to vote in the Florida Constitution. Because the US Constitution and federal law gives state legislatures the power to determine the selection of electors and says nothing about voters in this regard, the Supreme Court essentially voted to overturn the Florida Supreme Court ruling pending a showing that it relied solely on Florida election law--passed by the state legislature--in making it's decision. But if it relied on the right to vote in the Florida Constitution, then the original decision allowing more time for hand recounts would be overturned.

Meanwhile, in the trial court hearing Gore's election contest, presiding good old boy Judge N. Sanders Sauls showed just how far Florida law could go in ignoring the right to vote. What mattered in Sauls's ruling was not that "every vote count" as Gore has repeatedly argued in the best high-school civics class manner. Forget civics class, this is a bathroom knife fight. At the heart of Sauls's ruling was his two findings that (1) there was no showing of fraud or intent in preventing an accurate vote and (2) there was no evidence showing that Gore would win if the votes were recounted--a piece of circular illogic I'll get back to in a moment.

Voting Rights Trampled and Ignored

Of course, it matters little to you if your right to vote is denied through careless neglect or conscious malice. By focusing on the intent of those who deny the right to vote, and ignoring the effect on the right itself, Sauls has once again revivified the ancient Southern tradition of trampling the voting rights of the dispossessed in the dust, although with a postmodern multicultural twist that targets the rights of Holocaust survivors, Haitian immigrants and U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico along with Southern blacks. In doing so, he was only following Gore's lead, however.

Gore never sought to challenge the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach, or the more complicated set of circumstances in Duval which produced one invalid vote for every Gore vote in the county. Gore never tried to collect affidavits from the thousands of voters turned away from the polls because they'd been improperly excluded from precinct lists and were not allowed to cast provisional ballots as Florida law provides. Nor did he seek affidavits from the smaller number of voters who were actively harassed--most notably by police road blocks. Nor did Gore follow up on accusations that Republican operatives disguised as Gore campaign workers handed out fraudulent palm cards at Precinct 153 in Miami-Dade County, giving Bush's number on the Miami-Dade ballot, while pretending to instruct people on how to vote for Gore.

For the ugly truth is that there was fraud in this election, and there was intent to deny people the right to vote, even though many more votes were nullified by malign neglect and systematic second-class treatment. But because Gore was only concerned with getting enough votes to win, because fighting for everyone's right to vote would bring down the wrath of racist pundits who accuse Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton of being racial troublemakers, and because empowering and supporting the grassroots goes against everything Al Gore and the New Democrats stand for, Gore decided to "play it safe" with a narrow, legalistic strategy that played right into the hands of his Republican opponents in the election and co-conspirators in globalizing plutocracy and destroying democracy.

Gore's neglect of the multitudinous problems with the Florida election gave Sauls all the opening he needed. Gore made no mention of voter intimidation or fraud and Sauls jumped on that omission. Not that it should matter, mind you. A vote denied is a vote denied. Wholesale indifference is a whole lot more effective and efficient in denying votes than retail intentionality. But if the former cost Gore tens of thousands of votes, the latter certainly cost him enough to make up the margin of victory--if only he had cared enough for the rights of "the least of these" to save his own political skin.

Equally important, Gore's neglect of the wider patterns of irregularities, intimidation, misdirection and fraud opened the door for Sauls's circular illogic I mentioned in passing above: the "logic" that essentially says Gore can't get the votes to prove he would have won unless he first produces the votes to show we would have won. Sauls doesn't come right out and put it that way, of course. Instead he uses high-sounding but ambiguous legal terms which he never translates into something concrete. But the result is a clear impossibility. Gore cannot prove he would have won the election if he can't get the handcount of the votes he's counting on.

Law Without Justice

Unless he expands the scope of his challenge. But it's too late for that. For the heart of the process is a set of rules and procedures and timetables--above all it's about time-tables, about running out the clock on people's rights. On Election Day it was all about sending people from one precinct to another until they ran out of time to vote, instead of simply allowing them to cast a provisional ballot. Now it's about sending cases from one court to another until time runs out on selecting Florida's electors, instead of simply casting a provisional ballot for justice--which would mean counting all the ballots, and investigating all the other irregularities, fraud, voter intimidation and other violations at the same time that all the court cases go forward.

Historically we've been taught that the rights of those who are excluded are non-existent. The Dred Scott decision went so far as to claim that blacks were not citizens at all, and had no rights that a white man was bound to respect. We've also been taught that the rights of those who are marginal are marginal considerations. If it's not too much trouble for us, when we have time to get around to it, maybe five, ten, twenty or fifty years after the fact, well we might provide some small measure of recognition for the rights that have been trampled underfoot--and then again, maybe not.

The way in which the disenfranchised votes of Florida are being treated--by the courts, the media, the Justice Department and the Gore campaign--falls squarely within this ancient and dishonorable, nay despicable tradition, whose logic subordinates the most fundamental rights of the marginal to the slightest convenience of the privileged. We're all used to this kind of logic, for it is the logic of power and all of us must live our lives in intimate familiarity with it, whether we embrace it willingly or oppose it with every fiber of being.

But there is another logic, the logic of justice. And the logic of justice tells us that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, that injustice toward anyone is injustice toward everyone, that an injury to one is an injury to all. For justice is not an individual possession, it is a shared treasured enjoyed by everyone, or else it is a mockery. What we are seeing unfold in Florida is a mockery of justice and democracy. But we need not surrender to it. Indeed, we must not surrender to it if we are at all worthy of the mantle of freedom, of the legacy of those who fought before us against even more impossible odds--the Abolitionists, the Suffragettes, the Freedom Riders, Bus Boycotters and marchers from Selma to Montgomery. Al Gore is a candidate of the system and by the system. He may abandon us--as he already has by framing his battle so narrowly--but we cannot afford to abandon the much larger and much longer struggle for justice and freedom.

Let there be no doubt, if Bush is certified the next President of the United States he will not be legitimately elected, and will not rule America legitimately any more than his namesake King George III did. It isn't just a matter of not liking his politics, or opposing his desire to pack the courts with judges and justices that would take us back to the 19th Century or earlier. It's a matter of fundamental justice, a matter of respecting everyone's right to vote. This election has not done that, and even more significantly the post-election process has not done that either.

After all, it is understandable--if not forgivable--that elections will dirty to the point of violation people's fundamental rights. What is neither understandable nor forgivable is that the courts should put their stamp of approval on such a shameful betrayal of the promise of democracy. We need no more "justices" to stand in the way of justice. We need no President put in power by a legalistic coup carried out by a tag-team of thugs in suits and blind justice that recalls the immortal words of Langston Hughes:


    That Justice is a blind goddess
    Is a thing to which we black are wise:
    Her bandage hides two festering sores
    That once perhaps were eyes.
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
The right to vote Fred Hilgart Thursday, Dec. 07, 2000 at 2:10 AM

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale J15 9:51AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

Markets as a Fetish, Globalization, and Dissent Management J14 1:03PM

State Debts - The Primal German Fear J13 5:09PM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité J13 8:09AM

From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump - and Beyond J12 9:22PM

Copper Cures Cancer J11 1:42PM

Steven Taylor, Investor who Evicts J11 9:24AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J11 8:10AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J10 6:34PM

Patrick Kilpatrick discusses and signs Dying for Living J09 11:51PM

SexActs vs Sexuality USA 2018 Invitations to Power Marriages without Affection J09 8:36PM

Changer de mentalité, changer de société J09 9:17AM

Teacher Strike? Time for Labor Studies J09 6:26AM

December 2018 Honduras Coup Update J08 10:12PM

Paraphysique de la désespérance J07 9:38AM

The Unification Church with Rev Moon is in La and Orange Counnties J07 9:07AM

Time to Start Imagineering a Post-Ayatollah Iran J05 10:00PM

L'Ă©comorphisme, du culturel et du temporel J05 10:33AM

Sexual Harassment Charges of Men Suing Women who are accused of Harassing Men are now 10% J05 4:08AM

Stases psychiques et stases sexuelles J04 11:34AM

Paraphysique de la sous-vie J02 9:01AM

Paraphysique de la biomasse mondialisée J01 9:45AM

La mathématisation du monde D31 7:42AM

Refugee other Asylum I.D. reraly granted U.of :ouisiana DEc 29 ,2018 D30 5:32AM

L'inhumanité thermonucléaire D28 10:12AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy