Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Volunteers Needed -- for America

 Whatever You Do, Don't Volunteer

MeanMesa knows how frequently we hear things such as "support needed" or "participation needed."  In too many cases, what's actually being sought is, of course, money.  In other cases, the "assistance" being sought amounts to a terrifying, risky prospect which goes against the popular codependent "risk aversion" now so prevalent in the American people.

"Do you mean, knock on some one's door and then actually talk to them?  What if they don't agree with me?  What then?"

Well, this posting is about a very comfortable, low risk type of critically important avenue of voluntary participation.  One with astronomical relevance and immediacy.  Sure, it would be nice to solicit funds and volunteer services for some political candidate, but that gambit is based only on the prospects of a candidate winning or losing an election.

The stakes we're talking about here are "saving" or "losing" the country.

Are we talking about "driving a stake" through the heart of our political opponents?  No!  We're talking about "driving a stake" through every automatic "ballot counting" machine in the country.  

Every "ballot counting" machine which has ever been purchased by any state in the past.  

Every "ballot counting" machine which might ever possibly be purchased in the future.

It is a project which can sincerely welcome Republicans and Democrats, a kind of democratic catharsis offering up an opportunity to cleanse ourselves, once and for all, of past sins, suspicion and distrust.  It's also a project which holds the promise of sustaining our democracy for a few more decades.

Oh, We Can't Do That

After the flock of voting disasters we have endured in the last decade, most Americans would, of course, prefer fundamental reform in campaign and election law.  However, just like universal health care, even though we can see  successful examples of the kind of election system we'd like to buy -- spread across the planet in the growing population of legitimate democracies -- so much as a fleeting murmur of such reforms here are strictly prohibited.

Instead of any rational discourse which might address such on-going catastrophes, we have spent our time "proving" that electronic vote counting gizmo's are the only possible way to keep American democracy on the tracks.

Election Problems? The "Proof Is In the Pudding"(image source)

Now, MeanMesa visitors know that the official "reasons" why we have so profoundly perjured our elections runs on two levels.  Once the "battle is joined," we will find two primary reasons trotted out in defense of these horrible, democracy-wrecking decisions -- and, by the way, horrible, democracy wrecking machines --  in the past.  One reason, the one which will appear in our newspapers and on a few dozen "soft interviews" is cost.

We will be told that the expense of elections had become so unmanageable that the "ballot counting" machines offered the "only hope" of being able to "afford" the elections which represent the engine of our democracy.

The second reason will remain somewhat more obscured. That part of the explanation will deal exclusively with the process of "marketing" these election crashing devices to state and country officials.  The stock owners and management of the voting machine companies, as well as the public officials who signed the purchase orders, turn out not to be folks we would want close to our children.

Wasserman - Boston Globe 12/03

Exactly Why Nothing, Absolutely Nothing,
Can Possibly Be Done

Now, to the explanation of precisely why these little electronic monsters were so absolutely necessary in the first place.

Blame it on us.

See, in the old days, ballots were cast until the polls closed, citizens made coffee and sat down to patiently count each vote.  Other citizens watched over their shoulders to be certain that no "hank panky" slipped into the process.

Local election commissions had to actually pay these citizens something close to the minimum wage to perform this service.  The voting machine idea caught on when the manufacturers presented this new approach as both a "cost saving" and "highly efficient" modern way to do the same job.

(image source)
Presenting the Corpex "Election Handler Mark 9000"
The "Bongo-Snort Ballot Bomber"
Effortless, Fast, Dependable, Predictable Voting for Results You Can Count On 
24 Hours Before the Polls Open
Brought to you by Corpex Corp. 
Innovation for a Corporate Tomorrow

The sign went up above the door of the election commissions:

"Citizen Poll Worker Volunteers No Longer Needed."

Once these little election twisters had gained a foot hold, the original question was quickly forgotten in favor of a new question, that is, not about whether the whole scheme was really that good of an idea after all, but rather, whether the old voting machines should be replaced with new ones.  From there, democratic elections were plunging into the ditch like an early morning milk truck on an icy mountain road.

We can see the most recent results of this terrible idea in Wisconsin.

The "math" involved in counting ballots is what we call "arithmetic."  It is very, very tedious and complicated, riddled with troubling concepts such as "addition" and "subtraction."  It also turns out that Americans are more frightened by the prospect of solving a long division problem without a calculator than they are by another terrorist attack.

This Post is About 
"Volunteering" to Save Democracy
So, what exactly could a bunch of volunteers do to improve the situation?

MeanMesa's suggestion isn't that complicated.  

Recruit a nice big bunch of Americans who are willing to volunteer to save the democracy.  Divide them into two groups -- there's room for everyone in this project.
The more "energetic" of the two can begin a public movement to permanently eliminate electronic voting machines.  Passing state laws making them illegal would be a good start.  

When even the most "well lubricated" state legislators saw the mob coming -- and even more important, a mob of democracy loving folks which included everyone from retired SDS liberals to tea bags in wheel chairs -- they might begin to pay attention.

As for protest signs, simply saying that  
"We intend to un-elect any legislator who keeps insisting that we must continue to use these 
wretched, democracy wrecking  machines."  
would probably do it.

Expect that the counter argument to spring forth immediately. 
"We can't  possibly run elections any other way besides on the machines we bought.  There aren't enough election volunteers to count all these ballots by hand.  Plus, there's the "math" problem.  You don't want to be humiliated do you?"

This is where the second group of volunteers comes into play.  While the "lively ones" were at the state capitol raising hell, the other group was compiling a massive list of election volunteers to count the ballots and look over each other's shoulders.

The poll working volunteers have already been recruited.  The list has been  made and the names have been "checked twice."  The frightened state legislators would be left with no place to hide.

Even with the approaching onslaught of even more democracy cranking corporate money after the Citizens United decision, election results might still actually improve.  Citizens might begin to trust the process again.

Even more fun, we already know whose "ox would be gored."

No comments:

Post a Comment