Wednesday, November 11, 2015

President Al Gore (and Other Things We Forget)

This past week marks the 15th Anniversary of the most controversial election in United States history. It took weeks before the next president of the United States was determined, and even then, that only happened because Al Gore decided not to continue challenging the results despite obvious fraud and institutional tampering. And while I've heard people lamenting, not only this week but for years afterward, about what could've been, what upsets me is not so much how the course of history could have been better, because honestly we don't know that for sure...sure, Iraq might not have happened, but who knows what would've taken its place.

The part the truly bothers me is that NOTHING has changed in the system since this happened. Gore won the popular vote nationwide. That was a big part of the outrage that followed. There was all kinds of talk about ending the electoral college that puts far too much power into the hands of a few states, which also lends these states to corruption, like the questions that surround Ohio in 2004. This was all going to change. There were pledges to do so, there was momentum to get it done, and then...well, we just sort of forgot about it and once again the status quo holds.

There are numerous examples of this kind of thing happening in this country. The public gets all fired up about something, the issue gains traction, then the establishment politicians get a hold of it and do little or nothing, because often these issues threaten their stranglehold on the engine that steers the nation in whatever direction benefits the ruling classes. 

At some point, we must stand up to this sham. We must demand an end to Citizens United. We must demand an end to policies that make the extremely wealthy even more obscenely wealthy. We must demand the end to gerrymandering practices such as the ones that have the very liberal city of Austin, Texas represented by several conservatives. We must demand an end to restrictive voter policies that keep the poor from voting, and make it harder and harder for working people to get to the polls. 

These are the things this election season should be about. This should be the outrage the public feels. But once again, the powers that be use things to distract us, and instead of the real issues, the outrage in this country right now is directed at a disposable coffee cup that lacks snowflakes.

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