Posted by: shannynmoore | November 17, 2008

The Sacrament of Democracy

If democracy were a religion, voting would be the sacrament.

I grew up in what I call “The First Free-Range Organic Christian Church of Homer.” Sundays brought a message, fellowship, and a line of repentant souls taking communion-a remembrance of sacrifice.

The first time I cast my vote, it struck me as similar. The blood shed for my right to stand at a flag draped table and make my choice part of the collective wasn’t lost on me. I had one of those “Come to Jesus” moments and in 20 years I haven’t missed an opportunity to vote. Unlike Christ, the idea of democracy has never shed a drop of blood; patriots did. The same can be said of the suffragettes. Unlike the sacrament celebrated in religious ritual, elections should not be faith-based. The framers never intended our government to be run on trust; hence the myriad of checks and balances. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Election integrity is not about restoring faith in the system. Checks and balances are. When we vote, the agreement we all make is we cast our ballots for candidates who may not be the victor. We know that. Taking the risk of voting for a loser only works if you have confidence the process is beyond reproach. It is equally vital the winning candidate have an agreement the citizenry will follow their lead. Leadership can only be ordained if the people know their votes counted.

The past eight years have shown us the result of questioned elections. After election disasters in Florida and Ohio, a good portion of the country didn’t agree George W. Bush was legitimate. I know people who refused to call him President Bush because of the suspected election fraud.

Alaska has a rich history of questionable elections. 2008 has been no different. Anomalies prompt people to scratch their heads and watch just a little closer. From some reactions, you would have thought asking a question was “unpatriotic.” After reporting on the 2004 Election tampering, and knowing full well it was questionable, I wondered what this year’s ballots would tell us. Apparently, Alaskans have completely changed their “voting habits” to include: a mail-in preference, cross-ballot voting, and finally, registering to vote and then not showing up. Alaska headlines are screaming “record turnout!” But in truth, our percentage of voter turnout is still lower than our average historical Presidential election records show. So what? Does that mean we shouldn’t ask questions and get answers about reconciliation? As Americans we pledge to hold our leaders accountable; why wouldn’t we start by holding the process of elections to the highest levels of integrity.

The day after the election I was in contact with both the Begich and Berkowitz campaigns. I’ve been in very close contact with the Alaska Democratic Party which has filed Public Records Requests. Experts from around the country are more than happy to answer questions or to mull over possible explanations to the election anomalies. People much smarter than I are paying attention, and are asking their own questions. A reporter I’ve bumped into for several years called today. He wanted to know if I thought the current vote count in Alaska was still “stinky.” Another local asked if I thought the process was now legitimized since Begich was now leading Stevens. ARE YOU SERIOUS??? That my questions would hinge on partisanship is insulting and indicates a complete lack of understanding. Anyone who thinks we don’t need a more transparent election process because their candidate is in the lead is a pathetic partisan hack. Anyone who believes election integrity is a “fringe” issue mocks those who have died to either earn the right to vote or protect it.  I became a voter registrar in February of this year. To want to count only votes cast for my party of choice is vulgar. Not watching the referee calls when your team is winning is to invalidate the game.

So do I still smell the mudflats? Yes. Do I know what the source of stench is? No. Could it be the late wafts coming off the 2004 election? Possibly. What I know most certainly is this: voting is a sacred right; a remembrance of those who fought hard and shed blood for a bulletproof idea. Guarding the integrity of elections is essential to our democracy and anything less is blasphemy.

Show up. Ask questions.

Every vote counts.


Responses

  1. What a load of self serving hooey. God knows why you screamed STOLEN ELECTION when you did, but I hope all the wanted attention you got made you feel better or got you a job or whatever.

  2. Nicely done Shannyn!

    I agree with everything that you said, and am just as surprised as you are by the efforts of some to keep us from asking the questions that EVERYBODY should be asking.

    So thanks for asking them, I believe that Alaskans owe you a vote of thanks for calling attention to our clunky election process.

  3. I am confused, the suffragettes did suffer, they were beaten, chased by cops on horses, starved and forced fed in prision in Virginia, just outside of DC, in a Place called Lorton, which is still a prison…………

  4. Tim, you arrogant fuck. Who the hell do you think you are? If we don’t ask the questions WHO THE HELL DOES????

  5. Yea, just asking questions. Horse hockey! You were making accusations before the facts were at hand. Shame on you all.

  6. Keep going Shanyn. Without you the national spotlight wouldn’t have been turned on Alaska’a election and Ruder itch would have gotten away with another one.

  7. Thanks Shannyn. You are an inspiration and we need to be involved and pay attention, especially when things just don’t look quite right.

    People like Tim just go with the flow because they can’t be bothered and thinking gives them a headache. They just like to point fingers and criticize.

    Keep up the good work and thanks again!

  8. Well, dear, you know that if you question authority, you must be a terrorist and hate your country.

    “The First Free-Range Organic Christian Church of Homer”

    Snort. I’m going to be flashbacking on Brother Asaiah for the rest of the evening thanks to that.

  9. Sounds like Tim is more than a little jealous of you Shannyn. We do need to question the system as true patriots. More questioning should have been done in 2000 & 2004. Today’s crises might have been avoided. I don’t trust anything with the name Diebold on it.

  10. Shannyn, I completely agree with you. I still wonder why the number of absentee and early votes kept growing and growing as the days went by. Where were they? Why didn’t they have a more accurate estimate? I’m glad you sounded an alarm. People need to pay attention.

  11. Hey Turnagain Tim- Turnagain is a good name for you!

    What uniform did you wear?

    I guess we should have waited another 15-18 months like last time to let the same “machine” alter the numbers! You think I trust that “machine” – no way!

    Shannyn you right on the money!

  12. Turnagain Tim smells like a bitter jealous marginalized sheeple; pathetic and curious about nothing. Even if everything is just fine with this election, Shannyn was absolutely correct to wonder aloud NOW and ask questions NOW. Asking questions post election certification DOES NOTHING except possibly elect people who might not have been voted in! Thanks Shannyn…

  13. Shannyn thanks for your thoughtful reporting on the voter ” illregularities” here in Alaska. People like Tim have nothing left to do but attack the messenger. The right really has no interest in addressing the issue of vote counting here in America. They would rather scream about 200 people who regestered as Stewart Smalley ( as if they could really vote under an assumed name).

    Insulting yes because they have no interest in participating in political process when it means them loseing their tenuous grip on the “illusion of power” they cling to as a comforting “teddy bear.”

    Thanks again and as Randi Rhodes says” truth to power.” Stick to the truth and we have no fears!

  14. I like you because you are blond, attractive, intelligent, and liberal. I can’t say I like your state much, though. It’s awful. Just the thought of Palin still makes me want to vomit, not to mention Stevens. What an awful, awful state. I am disappointed that there has been no serious movement in the Real 48 to sell Alaska yet, and to be honest, I do not have the time to start the movement. If I remember, I will put up some anti-Alaska ad banners on my Web site sometime.

    You have gotten a TON of exposure on MSNBC and HuffPo and yet you do not publish your page views. Why is that? Was it something I said? Just remember: I am NOT on television.

    You’re a cutie. Let’s grab a cup of Joe the next time you are in the Real 48.

    http://cnbcsucks.wordpress.com

  15. Go Shannyn! If you don’t shine a spotlight on the corruption up there, who will??

    Also delighted to see your appearance on MSNBC.

    The Obama administration has a plate full, but election reform should be added before Don Young is elected (?) for another term.

  16. Maybe, just maybe, your attention to the matter and the subsequent attention of a lot of other people in Alaska and the nation made a few election insiders a little nervous – all that talk of investigations and jail time?

    Minding the integrity of our vote is NEVER a bad idea.

    Tim, go suck silt ’til your lips shrivel and your bung hole bleeds.

    Shannyn, keep doing what you do best!


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