2/22/04

Broken Democracy

By Mumia Abu-Jamal from death row

The news of the entry of civic activist Ralph Nader into
the U.S. presidential race has caused some Democrats to
groan; and some Republicans to cackle with barely
suppressed glee.

His announcement of his intent to run, this time as an
independent rather than as a Green, evoked memories of
the 2000 elections, when the Bush camp stole Florida, and the
entire election, by the foul disenfranchisement of tens of
thousands of African-American, Haitian and Jewish voters there.

Nader has been subjected to the tearful pleas of liberals,
as well as the veiled threats of others on the left, that he
was a "spoiler," and his entry into the race would virtually
insure the reelection of Bush.

Underneath the pleas, the threats, and even the stifled
laughter of so-called conservatives, lies the fundamental fear
of democracy, and the dismissal of millions of Americans from
the very process. For them, the sentiment is, let sleeping dogs
lie. They wish to simply accept the nation's electoral system
as it is, and try to extract the most votes from this group,
which is, after all, *a minority of the American majority.*

That is the sad state of American democracy.

Nader's presidential announcement, made on network TV,
quickly spread throughout the electronic media, and was
slanted towards the spoiler angle. As ever, the media's
addiction to conflict would only allow this kind of coverage;
his principal motivation, as well as his principal complaints
against both the Democratic *and* Republican parties,
(not to mention his critiques of the media!) got shorter
shrift.

Nader's critique is identical to his 2000 run; that both
major parties are in the capture of corporations; that while
their rhetoric may differ, their actions and interests rarely
do. Nader opined that even if Gore were president,
the US would've found a pretext to invade Iraq.

And what of the tall, thick-browed Massachusetts
Senator, John Kerry?

While Nader didn't address him directly (as far as I
recall), the thought of any sitting Senator evokes the
image of Black members of Congress lined up before
Gore, asking for an investigation into the Florida debacle,
and for the Senate to issue a stay of the Electoral College's
actions, based upon violations of the Voting Rights Act there
-- not one. Not one Senator rises to join the Black
Congressmen and women in their motion. One by one
they rise -- and not one Senator - Clinton; Kerry;
Kennedy; Lieberman; Feinstein -- None stood with their
colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus; None
stood in defense of thousands of Black voters who were
bamboozled away from the Florida polls, just weeks before.

For them, this was evidence of a broken democracy;
one that still hasn't been repaired.

Political allegiance should be more than a matter of mere
party membership. What about the Party's allegiance to
its members?

How loyal was the Democratic Party to those
thousands of mostly Black folks who were illegally and
unjustly tossed off the Florida voting rolls?

To be loyal to any party, it must first be asked, how
loyal is the party to you?

 

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal

[Mr. Jamal has written widely about war and other issues. His latest work, *Faith of Our Fathers* (Africa World Press, 2003) was named one of "The Most Remarkable Books of 2003" by *Black Issues Book Review* (Nov/Dec '03).]

Check out Mumia's NEW book: FAITH OF OUR FATHERS: AN EXAMINATION OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF AFRICAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN PEOPLE at www.africanworld.com

Mumia Abu-Jamal is also the author of three other books: 'Live from Death Row', 'Death Blossoms', and 'All Things Censored'.

When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal