Jesse Jackson Defines a 'Stronger America': One that Does Not Abuse Its Power or Sacrifice its Soul

The [Bush administration claims] if we succeed in creating a democracy in Iraq, we will send a message to tyrants and terrorists across the world. Who cares about the U.N. or the allies or legal niceties? We have them on the run. But cynicism about law is corrosive. Its spreads like a cancer... Soon [Bush]is claiming the right to imprison even US citizens, designate them as an enemy combatant, lock them up without a hearing, a lawyer or charges brought against them. [Bush] says we will...spread the blessings of democracy, law and liberty there. But thus far, we're spreading lies, subverting our own democracy, trampling on the law and sacrificing global legitimacy. If you don't think that matters [then why is Iraq] now a bonanza for terrorist recruitment? We have the military prowess to police the world. But we better develop the moral prudence to shun being judge, cop and executioner too."

Princeton Professor Slams 'Republicans Assault On Democracy'

Sean Wilentz, the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History at Princeton, writes: 'Whatever its motivation, the Republicans' partisan assault on democracy displays a will to power unlike any seen in our country since the fire-eater secessionist movement of the 1850s that led to the creation of the southern Confederacy... The current Republican Party has no need for secessionism (although its pandering to racist Confederate sensibilities in the South has long been one of its key political weapons). What it shares with the fire-eaters is an implacable will to dominate and a combination of cynicism and contempt for our democratic constitutional procedures. This is not hard-knuckled politics as usual. It is radical and abnormal. It has already degraded American democracy. And it portends a crisis in our politics as great as any since the era of Reconstruction."

Bush Speeds Up 'Self-Government' in Iraq - Why Not in America?

NY Times reports, "The Bush administration, moving up its timetable for self-government in Iraq and yielding to its own handpicked leadership there, has decided to try to hold elections in the first half of next year and turn civilian authority over to a temporary government." That sounds like a great plan - for AMERICA! Let's move the US elections up to June, and appoint a temporary government to replace the illegitimate Supreme Court-appointed Bush regime!

MoveOn's Online Primary Draws More than 200,000 Votes!

AP reports: "More than 210,000 people have voted so far in the 48-hour, online Democratic presidential primary being held by the advocacy group MoveOn.org, officials with the organization said Wednesday. That total has already surpassed the number of registered voters who cast ballots for Democratic nominees in the 2000 New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses combined, a sign of the influence the Internet can wield in national elections, said Wes Boyd, the group's co-founder. 'We're reaching a lot of people nationwide,' Boyd said. 'It's beyond the big contributors and the big contributor networks'... The group plans to endorse the candidate who captures more than 50 percent of the vote and ask its 1.4 million members to donate money to the winning candidate's campaign. Last year, MoveOn.org members contributed $4.1 million to the congressional candidates highlighted on its site, Boyd said." Great. Now make sure you're registered to vote in the polling booth and beat Bush!

It Has Never Been Unpatriotic to Oppose An Incumbent's Election

Noting that an election was held during WWII and "no one pulled their punches", Paul Krugman writes, "Last week John Kerry told an audience 'what we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States.' Republicans sought to portray this remark as little short of treason. 'Senator Kerry crossed a grave line when he dared to suggest the replacement of America's commander in chief at a time when America is at war,' declared Marc Racicot, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Notice that Mr. Racicot wasn't criticizing Mr. Kerry's choice of words. Instead, he denounced Mr. Kerry because he dared to suggest the replacement of America's commander in chief--knowing full well that Mr. Kerry was simply talking about the next election. Mr. Racicot, not Mr. Kerry, is the one who crossed a grave line; never in our nation's history has it been considered unpatriotic to oppose an incumbent's re-election."

Life Isn't Fair. Democracy Should Be.

John McCreery writes: "I've been thinking about what it means to be a Democrat, looking for a slogan that not only captures the essence of what it is to be a Democrat but also appeals to a value that most Americans share. To me there is something very simple and powerful about these words, 'Life isn't fair. Democracy should be.' Few, if any of us would assert that life is fair. Some are born rich, some are born poor; some are born beautiful, some are not. Some are great athletes, artists, scientists, or financiers. Most of us have to make do with something less than extraordinary talent. But if life isn't fair, we as a democratic nation can be, and we Democrats think that's important."

It Has Happened Here, The USA We Knew is No More

Bev Conover writes: "The final nail has been driven into the coffin of that great experiment in government of, by and for the people. George W. Bush has gotten his wish: This is now a dictatorship and he is the dictator. History will record that the death blows were delivered by the Democratic Party. An awful but inescapable truth. The party turned a blind eye to the stolen 2000 presidential election. The Democratic congressional leadership shrugged at the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling declared Bush the winner, then decreed that not one of its US senators would back House Democrats in their challenge of Florida's electoral votes. Without an investigation, they accepted the administration's claims about Sept. 11, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, and bought into the phony 'war on terrorism,' allowing the US military to kill thousands of innocent Afghanis. For what?"

Misconstruing Nationalism as Patriotism

Larry Hufford, Graduate Director of International Relations at St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX, writes: "As the Bush administration, led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, prepares to lead the United States to war against Iraq, citizens should proclaim their patriotism. Notice that I use the word patriotism rather than nationalism. Throughout our nation's history, two opposing views can be found of the country. In the United States there is a secular tradition embodied in the Constitution with its checks and balances and commitment to fundamental civil liberties. In this tradition, secular rationalism is the foundation of the state. 'United States' citizens understand that the key to democracy is found in defense of political liberty, that is, the amount of unorthodoxy tolerated in society. Citizens defending the secular constitutional tradition are true patriots."

'Vision Requires Effort Consistently Applied Over A Broad Temporal Scale'

Charles Sullivan writes: "Whose government is it? The answer is surprisingly clear: it is the government of the rich, for the rich by the rich - the Corporate States of America; the place where money and wealth are king; the land where people do not matter; where citizens are treated as so much canon fodder for each successive administration's insatiable war machine; where people are little more than disposable commodities to be used and abused by those who hold the reins of power. The solution to our dilemma is also surprisingly simple and clear: we must show people how to empower themselves. This is an easy solution on paper; but a hard won in the field. So, how do we proceed?"

Authentic Patriotism

What is patriotism? Not just waving the flag and singing songs, says Bill Tammeus of the Kansas City Star. It's knowing our history, informing ourselves about the issues and voting, supporting our communities, praising and criticizing our government, respecting other countries. Patriotism is active involvement in making our country a better place. Are you a patriot?

The Government Does Not Equal The People; We (The People) Are The People

Matthew Riemer writes, "It's virtually a full-time job to understand the world and to know who does what and why... This has led to a state of apathy within the citizenry. Everyone has the right to know what's going on in the world, why it is going on, and to participate in intelligent dialogue... so as to possibly affect the what and why... The government does not equal the people. We (the people) are the people, but the government is not the people... One might say, 'Why should I really care about what's happening in the world? I'm pretty well off. Why get involved in all that political mumbo jumbo. I'm not affected by all the injustice in the world. I know that there are people starving, even right here in America; but even so, what could I actually do about it?'... But what happens when you are affected... when you're pulled right into the middle of something... your world is turned upside down? Suddenly you care, right? Well, that's just what happened on September 11, 2001."

The Busharraf Syndrome: Rigged Elections Followed by Coups, Coups Followed by Rigged Elections

Last week, Bush bragged how he and Musharraf are "still tight." Yep, as they say - "Birds of a feather.." Both men were dumped into power by rigged elections and coups - Musharraf with a coup followed by a rigged election, Bush by a rigged election followed by a coup completed by the Supreme Court. Now former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has demanded that Pakistan hold "free and fair elections" and that votes be counted in the presence of representatives of candidates as in other Commonwealth countries including India and England. "Unless the vote count is changed, I doubt this election will have anything to do with fairness or impartiality or neutrality," said Bhutto. Sure sounds like a pattern to us: the Busharraf Syndrome.

Zambian Protesters Demand Investigation of Rigged Election

Thousands of Zambians took to the streets to protest a Presidential election they considered rigged. Dozens of protesters stormed into the Supreme Court, which refused to consider an appeal until after the inauguration of the disputed winner. "Opposition parties had demanded an investigation into complaints of stuffed or stolen ballot boxes and other vote tampering by the governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy. International observers from the European Union and the Carter Center say they have no evidence of widespread electoral fraud, but they have urged officials to investigate the reported irregularities and asked for the inauguration to be delayed if necessary." Why is Democracy taken more seriously in Zambia - both by voters and foreign observers - than in the USA, the "leading" democracy in the world?

Can Technology Perfect Our Democracy?

Can we ever fully entrust our precious democracy to imperfect technology? Or should we recognize that democracy is fundamentally NOT a problem of technology. Rather, Democracy is about giving people a chance to be heard. And the only way one person can be heard is if other people are listening. The capacity for listening is precious and uniquely human. We cannot delegate this activity to technology, because no matter how many MIPS they can process, computer chips will never truly "understand."