A Matter Of Trust

Despite Summer’s steady stiffening into Fall, things are heating up. The economy remains steadfastly going nowhere and the federal deficit -which, according to the experts, isn’t necessarily a bad thing- is looking to be $500 Billion next year. Former General and television pundit for military affairs, Wesley Clark just announced his intention to vie for the chance to become President.

Those pictures of George W. Bush in a flight suit ought to make for a pretty good visual aid for the former General’s campaign, don’tcha think?

One hates to keep reminding people, but American soldiers are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq every week (along with many more Americans at home losing jobs, or job benefits -but that’s another story). The guy who started it all, Osama Bin Laden (right?), looks to be alive and, to me, in pretty good shape somewhere in the hills of Asia Minor.

No Saddam, nor weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Israel is close to offing Yasir Arafat as the best solution for the Palestinian problem.

For those with a more esoteric appreciation for global affairs: the collapse of the latest round of WTO talks on “free trade” in Cancun ought not be seen as advantageous for anyone.

And the People of California are looking at the real possibility of being governed by someone elected with a tiny minority of votes, by a process already being contested in the courts before the first poll opens.

Here lies the crux of the biscuit.

Because of the way this president came into office, the most important aspect of our way of doing things has become the validity, the integrity, and the security of our elections.

It doesn’t matter if we Californians speak to our preference for the current, presumably duly elected governor on October 7, or if we do so in November, or in March. What matters is that the means by which we do it provides clear, verifiable, secure, physical evidence of our election’s validity.

With no trust in the electoral process, a people’s access to the tools and benefits of democratic governance becomes severely limited. Of course, the ramifications extend far beyond the borders and the interests of us lunatics in California. With another presidential election looming in the Fall of 2004, even if we can’t manage to produce more than a split decision among the voting public, we must have confidence that the votes we cast are counted, and counted properly.

So if it’s logical to embrace evolving technology, and thus, to utilize touch-screen voting, we must demand a hard copy verification of our votes. We must fear not the benefits of progress, development, or innovation, but demand of them all accountability, reliability, and security. This is the ultimate non-partisan issue. Let the chips (chads, anyone?) fall where they may, but have faith in the croupier for godsakes.

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