I like watching “Dancing with the Stars.” I’ve liked ballroom dancing for a number of years and it’s a guilty little pleasure to watch this show. I’ve enjoyed watching some stars develop into some really good dancers. While there have been upsets in the past, nothing’s compared to this season’s mess surrounding Bristol Palin.
Sorry, folks, she really shouldn’t be in the finals. The fact that a guy’s been leading a campaign to stuff the ballot boxes for her is absolutely no surprise to me. I knew something like that was going on all through the season. While she’s nowhere near the train wreck that Kate Gosselin was, she ain’t no Brooke Burke, either. She ain’t even a Cloris Leachman. Leachman may not have been a great dancer, but she always had drama and power. All that aside, and also leaving aside the judges’ nines for Bristol’s shuffling around, I want to look at that ballot box stuffer.
He claims this is revenge for JFK’s stealing of the 1960 election. He’s serious about this. He claims that the Democrats have been stealing elections for a long time, and now they’re due for some payback. That he’s the darling of the 26 Percenters that have transferred their blind loyalty from Dubya to Sarah Palin only reveals their willingness to engage in selective ignorance. A brief history of major US presidential electoral improprieties may suffice to help the rest of us see things clearly.
The Republican Party made its first rigged grab for the presidency in 1864 when they created the state of Nevada to squeeze out 3 more electoral votes. It followed up with the elections of 1868 and 1872 in which they disenfranchised thousands of Democratic voters in the South to guarantee Republican victories. In 1876, the Democrats made a strong run for the presidency, so the Republicans cut a deal with the unreconstructed Southerners to get their man into the White House.
When Nixon ran for the Senate in California, he got a phone bank to call Californians, telling them that his opponent was Jewish. His opponent wasn’t Jewish, but he still leveraged the racism in that state to give him a victory. The 1960 election itself, which the Palinista cites as his inspiration to rig the voting, had a number of shady votes cast for Nixon. Historians feel that the main reason Nixon didn’t want an investigation into voting fraud in that race was because it would reach him, as well.
Then there was the 1968 election in which the Republicans torpedoed a peace deal in Vietnam to prevent the Democrats from having an October Surprise. Thanks for that one, Republicans. Way to stay classy, keeping a horrible war going on for five more useless and unfruitful years – also putting the world in nuclear jeopardy with Nixon’s “mad man” move during peace negotiations. The topper for the ’68 election had to be the ’72 one, in which we had the infamous Watergate scandal. Of course, the selectively ignorant core of the Republican Party has made heroes of the men that committed crimes to destroy the democratic process. The Democrats let Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall fall into the dustbin of history but, no, the Republicans must lionize their scoundrels and criminals.
Then there was the election of 1980. Carter tried to rescue the hostages in Iran, and the Republicans torpedoed the negotiations and – this is hardly ever mentioned – had their men in charge of the botched rescue mission itself. General Secord and Lt. Col. Oliver North were running the mission that saw its helicopters crash in the desert, with Carter’s election hopes with them. Am I saying those men deliberately sabotaged the mission? I can’t prove it. But North was the man in charge of maintenance on those helicopters and he later emerged with Secord in the Iran-Contra Scandal, violating law after law there. Because of that dynamic duo, America’s riddled with crack cocaine and the crime that goes with it. They may not themselves have been drug dealers, but they kept awful close company with them, to the point where they blocked prosecutions and cut sentences.
The 2000 and 2004 elections saw improprieties on both sides, but the Republicans had them where it counted. Diebold voting machines, anyone? So, please, don’t give me the crapulent line that the Democrats are somehow dirtier than the Republicans. As the man that has rigged the voting for Bristol Palin demonstrates, the Republicans have a penchant for not only trampling on the rules they expect others to follow, but feel justified in it.
In 1099, the Crusaders pillaged Jerusalem. They slaughtered Muslims, Jews, and Christians indiscriminately. Chroniclers noted that blood ran 2-6 inches deep in the streets from the massacres. The Crusaders felt justified in their bloodshed. Not only did they feel justified, they felt vindicated in their crimes. I see the same sort of self-righteousness evident in the Republican movement that thinks taking over a ballroom dancing competition is the right way to settle an old score. Such attitudes only weaken the USA when they catapult people in power that, by rights, should not be there.