Viewpoint: Upcoming election is critical

Viewpoint: Upcoming election is critical

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

Once again, we are approaching a decision point in our national life. On Nov. 5th we will go to the polls to help determine the future course of our country, and it is OUR country, no matter what some in the administration may think.

Many in this land believe their vote is no longer of any consequence. Voter turnouts of 50 percent or less in recent major elections bear that out. But each vote is truly critical at this juncture in our history.

Where do you want this nation to go? Where does it appear to be headed? Does the reality approach the ideal, or is it all smoke and mirrors?

Do we want more “representatives” who march in mental lockstep with George W. Bush and his henchmen, or do we want independent, thinking members of a genuinely deliberative Congress who will perform unstintingly in our best interests?

We lost one such legislator this past week with the passing of Sen. Wellstone. We need many more such men and women who will listen to the electorate, search out the facts, and do their own reasoning and draw their own conclusions as to the best course for the country.

Under the present administration, this nation seems headed into a dark morass of far right fascism. A pseudo government controlled by an uncontrolled, perverted capitalism of the corporate elite.

This cabal has been revealed as unworthy of the trust of ordinary Americans. Its god is money and power, its conscience dead. It cares nothing for the rights, needs, hopes and desires of the working people who make this country what it is.

Since we were small, we have been told that the ultimate authority here is the president, the commander-in-chief. Harry Truman’s little desk sign said: “The buck stops here.”

We were handed a lie. That may have been true at one time, but in the last 40 years at least, it has been a farce. The occupant of the White House is merely an errand boy for other, unseen powers. They do not care what we want.

What chance do we have against them? It is still true that there is strength in numbers. If the voters really want to turn things around, they must show up at the polls and make their wishes known via the ballot.

If you don’t like what your congressman has done, vote for the other guy, but first try to learn what the other guy or gal stands for and who may have claims on him or her.

This may be a different kind of election than we expect. President Bush has said he may call out the National Guard in Maryland and the D.C. area to “supervise” the vote. How do we know he won’t find some reason to have the Guard on hand in all the other states as well? Do you really want to vote with an armed trooper looking over your shoulder?

Once the sanctity of the voting booth is gone, no amount of flag waving can get it back. The ballot exercise could easily decline to a charade like that in Saddam’s country, where he was the only one on the ballot. How about King George II?

We are at a pivot point, a threshold. We can either slide into the abyss of tyranny, or we can climb upward toward the America we know and most of us want. The choice is ours, but the window of opportunity is closing.

As Benjamin Franklin said those many long decades ago: “We have given you a republic, if you can keep it.” We say, let’s keep the republic and discard some of the alleged “Republicans” infesting it. United we stand is fine, but we must do more than stand. We must make ourselves heard. We must vote! Tell your friends!

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