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Monday, November 7, 2022

Election Day–Vote Early, Vote Often–The Shameless Fiction Of Free And Fair Elections

The days of Mayor Daley, Chicago ward bosses, Jersey City’s Hinky Dink Kenna k and Bathhouse John Coughlin, Tammany Hall, and ‘Welcome to Maryland, watch your coats and hats’ Spiro Agnew seem things of the past – remnants of a wild, untamed political age where voting was a ritual - but like April Fool’s Day, Mardi Gras, or Halloween they are still here more than ever.

‘Democracy matters’ say signs all over the lawns of tony liberal neighborhoods of Washington, a thinly veiled reference to Donald Trump and his attempted coup; but those who stake them out among zinnias and rosebushes have forgotten their history.  America’s electoral process has never, ever been a pristine, innocent, honest affair.

The residents of DC remember Marion Barry, Mayor for Life, famous for ‘The bitch set me up’ excuses for his crack-smoking, hooker cruising days; or his ‘Get over it’, a fuck you to the white voters of Ward 3 whose tax dollars finance the lions’ share of public expenditure but who to a man voted against this corrupt, race-bating excuse for a Mayor; and ‘It’ll melt’, another fuck you to the white elitists of Spring Valley who were snowbound for days waiting for District snowplows.

Image result for images bathhouse john and hinky dink

Barry was perhaps best remembered for ‘walkin’ around money’, the dollars passed out to voters in ‘his’ wards – the majority black, poor inner city neighborhoods that were the foundation of his political longevity – every voting cycle.  He was remembered also for his patronage, no-show City Hall jobs, and generosity to brothers-in-law, families of the incarcerated, unfairly convicted, and victims of racism.

Image result for images mayor barry dc

So DC elections, just like those of Chicago, Jersey City, Baltimore and a thousand other ragged and bought municipalities in the old days, were never fair.  For sure, voters showed up at the polls and pulled the levers, but their choice had long before been determined.  Mayor Barry would always be elected with 99 percent of the black vote and zero percent of the white.

Dead men could certainly vote in Chicago, no one ever questioned that truism; and ward heelers were sent out to the city’s cemeteries to canvas the dead, recruit them for the Democratic party, and be sure they voted on election day.   The Chicago  trifecta was that 1) dead men voted; 2) they voted early and often; and 3) voted Democratic.

Today, except for the fol-de-rol of Donald Trump, claims of stolen elections, and claims of political insurrection, progressives believe that there actually is such a thing as a fair election, that the will of the people can be voiced, listened to, and honored.  Nothing of course could be further from the truth.  Elections are bought, thanks to the millions spent on campaign financing, advertising, and high-level promises and walking around money.

Campaign advertising is a hoopla of outrageous claims, vaudevillian antics, side show freaks, and Las Vegas runway glitter, sequins, and pasties.  There are no facts, no objectivity, no attempts at temperance and reasonableness.  Campaign ads are as scurrilous, borderline, and hysterical as ever.

Everything in Las Vegas is proudly, unashamedly fake – the Eiffel Tower, the Sphinx, and the Roman Forum. It is a re-creational tour de force.  It is more than enough for visitors to experience the recreated, fantasy world of the Seven Wonders of the World without ever having to leave America.  No one who goes to Las Vegas is concerned with facts, or ‘reality’. No visitor has his feet on the ground or is looking for meaning.  It is a virtual world in which every fantasy can be created and shared. It is Las Vegas excess and fantasy that will always rule the day in America.  

‘Free and fair elections?’ wonder political admen in the atmosphere of anything goes as long as it is paid of today’s electoral process.

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America has never been diplomatic, temperate, and considerate.  We have always felt exceptional and entitled. American politics have never been genteel affairs.  The campaigns of Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams were notorious.

Adams’ supporters hurled accusations at Jackson’s wife, Rachel, and questioned their marriage. Critics claimed the couple’s marriage some 40 years earlier had occurred while Rachel was still married to her first husband. Opponents labeled Jackson an “adulterer,” and called his wife a “bigamist.” It marked the first time a first lady’s moral character had been scrutinized so publicly. The Jacksons said Rachel’s divorce had already been finalized before they married...
Jackson countered by claiming that Adams, while working as the Russian ambassador, had procured an American girl for the Russian czar — a baseless allegation, but calling the sitting president a “pimp” was certainly a bold move (listosaur.com)

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Grover Cleveland and James G. Blaine went at it in the same vein:

Democrat Grover Cleveland seemed to have the advantage in the months before this presidential election, but in July 1884, allegations arose that Cleveland, a bachelor, had years earlier fathered a child out of wedlock. Republican James G. Blaine’s supporters gleefully took advantage of the scandal, chanting, “Ma, ma, where’s my Pa?” at campaign rallies.
Cleveland admitted he had paid child support to a widow, Maria Halpin, even though he alleged she had been involved with several other men at the time. However, Halpin told newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, that Cleveland had sexually assaulted her, and that after she gave birth to a son, Cleveland had it forcibly removed from her custody and placed in an orphanage. Halpin was then committed to an insane asylum, although she was later released (op.cit.)
The campaign between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson set new lows.
[The Presidential] race was full of mudslinging accusations and character assassination. Adam’s supporters accused Jefferson of sympathizing with the Southern slaves whom he wished to emancipate — going so far as to say he maintained a “Congo Harem” at Monticello. In one over-the-top condemnation, Yale President Timothy Dwight said that if Jefferson were elected, “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced. The air will be rent with the cries of distress, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.”
The accusations continued right up until the election. One Jefferson supporter likened Adams to a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Adams’ supporters countered with a leaflet calling Jefferson, “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” Jefferson’s camp claimed the president reportedly planned to smuggle London prostitutes across the Atlantic to satiate his sinful tastes.
Image result for images john adams

Ninety percent of the charges leveled at candidates in political ads cannot possibly be true.  The distortion, the recasting of perfectly reasonable speech in to hateful screeds, and the outright smarmy ad hominem attacks can only be laughed at as were the grand guignol antics of the Jefferson-Adams campaign

The whole idea of elections, let alone free and fair ones, as the Holy Grail of democracy has always been a hypocritical joke.  Anyone with the patience to look behind the scenes knows that high-roller donations, walkin’ around money, big salary Madison Avenue huckster talent, the persistent ethos of Las Vegas, Hollywood, daytime TV, the Borscht Belt, and the  wild jungles and savannahs of social media give final like to the notion of ‘a pillar of democracy. ‘

Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State desperately looking for African success stories, bought the Malian fiction hook, line, and sinker.  The President announced that he would stand for election in a fair and transparent process; and given the United States’ criteria for receiving foreign aid (free and fair elections was one of them, and heavily weighted), the US Treasury millions should be sluiced his way.  He received the money, and he won the election by 98 percent.  Shortly thereafter, and despite and regardless  of Hillary’s loud and encouraging voice of approval for ‘the restoration of democracy in Mali’, a military coup removed the president from office.

Image result for deposed president of mali images

Bangladesh has been equally applauded for its free and fair elections; but whoever lost at the ballot box refused to budge, and Parliament was dismissed.  The idea that losers had to accept defeat had never occurred to Bangladeshi politicians.

This could never happen in America, liberals shout.  We have evolved, become responsible, fair-minded, respectable citizens.  Whoever wins and election has reflected the will of the people and should govern…at least for a while.  

The electoral system is set up so that Congressmen, once finally seated in their Congressional offices, must immediately begin campaigning for re-election only two years hence.  Politicians cannot run on their Congressional record, but on the same balderdash that got them elected in the first place.

Elections are a sham, a two- and four-year cycle of nonsense and chicanery.  The results reflect the will of no one in particular but a mish-mash of special interests, deep pockets, ideological crazies, marketing shills, and walkin’ around money.  America likes to present elections to the world as an indication of our democratic purity and rectitude; but no other country where political vaudeville is par for the course and elections are simply one of the rings of a gaudy three ring circus, takes it seriously.

So tomorrow (Election Day 2022) be sure to vote early and vote often.

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