Thursday, January 06, 2005
( 11:00 AM )
I am proud that today, the two people who took a stand in the House and the Senate, to call for a discussion and who brought attention to the terrible and disgusting state of our electoral process, were women. It took two women legislators to stand up against the whole of the body of Congress and the administration - organizations that move forward under the inertia of status quo, and whose members more often refuse to do the right thing than they refuse kick backs.
Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH) and Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) today stood in the way of injustice and called for the country's attention to be turned to what's really important: the sustaining of our democracy.
Sixteen minutes into the session when Ohio's votes were read, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, issued her challenge, saying the votes "were not under all of the known circumstances regularly given."
Her challenge to Ohio's 20 electoral votes — which put Bush over the top — was joined by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. By law, a protest signed by members of the House and Senate requires both chambers to meet separately for up to two hours to consider it. Lawmakers are allowed to speak for no more than five minutes each.
"I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio's election," Boxer wrote in a letter to Tubbs Jones, a leader of the Democratic effort.
In 2001, Bush took office on the vote of the Supreme Court. In 2005, he will now have to take office on the vote of the Congress. Now in two consecutive elections, two branches of gov't will have elected the third. But it isn't even the way it took office that makes this administration illegitimate - this administration's own actions make it illegitimate, no matter what election results may be (see post below about torture).
But this isn't about overturning a corrupt election. This is about calling attention to the fact that it WAS corrupt, that it was the second time that has happened, and that this must not happen again. And the only two people to stand up for democracy were two women.
And the fact is, no Democratic voters will argue this move. It only takes one courageous person to stand in the way of injustice, and a line of strength will form behind her. I wish these two women were my representatives. But I will be writing them anyway to thank them for representing me, a voter in America. Because what they are doing is standing up for us. What they are doing is making sure our votes count. It's their job, of course. But the fact that these two women are doing their job is significant (a sad fact in American government) - and they deserve acknowledgment and thanks for what they have done today.
UPDATE: If you can, watch CSPAN's coverage of the electoral vote objections. It's amazing and incredible. Some of the finest democratic leaders in this country are defending our democracy. And some of the most deluded republicans don't care about our vote, and they're not afraid to say it.