With less than a month to go, I'd really like to know whether or not my former colleagues of the OSCE - Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - have a plan in place (on invitation of the U.S. government, of course) to send a full-fledged mission to monitor next month's U.S. presidential election. I figure that, like me, most folks anywhere can honestly say they have never lived through a set of circumstances to match what is going on today in the United States and the rest of the world. As I see it, much of this contagious turmoil and heartache could have - would have - been averted had only someone cared, paid attention and taken effective regulatory and legal action in years past. That includes back in 2000 when professionals of conscience like Atlanta Legal Aid Society Home Defense attorney Bill Brennan and others made crystal clear the extent of U.S. financial institutions' merciless and ultimately self-destructive attempts to exploit and extort the U.S.'s most vulnerable populations: people of colour, women, the elderly; in short, the poor, near-poor and working poor. A related concern is that, come November 4, we very well could witness a third consecutive chapter of the political equivalent of what is now boiling over financially. That is to say we stand to witness the same, grave problems in the conduct of the 2008 U.S. presidential election as the whole world saw, first in 2000 and yet again in 2004. An excellent documentary American Blackout explains clearly what happened in both elections as well as the efforts and work of then-Democratic congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. (As I've blogged before, Cynthia is now the U.S. Green Party's presidential candidate and I plan to vote for her.)
The centerpiece of the 2000 and 2004 messes were 'malfunctioning' (or allegedly possibly rigged) voting machines combined with quite partisan (chiefly Republican) and even premeditated efforts to target and remove voters from voter lists, plus the failure of the whole U.S. elections system to go back and actually count, one by one, all the votes that were cast. The largest impact of the failure to count votes was on Black American voters, along with others who tended to vote somewhere to the left of the Republican Party. Currently and historically U.S. election regulation is relegated to the individual states (and the District of Columbia). All this leaves me to wonder, without protection, what is democracy?