by Deck Deckert
The Yyuran Series
(Swans - June 19, 2006) "Are the Republicans going to steal the election again?" my Martian friend Yyuran asked me the other day.
I choked on my coffee. "What a ridiculous question! Why would you even ask something like that?"
"George Bush and the Republicans stole the elections in 2000 and in 2004. But you let him become president anyhow. Are you going to do that again?"
I didn't know where to start. "Look. In the first place, he never stole anything. In fact, in 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States actually ruled on the election and said he won it. And besides, he can't run again. Presidents are limited to two terms."
He ignored that. He is always ignoring the good points I make.
"Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. says that the Republicans stole the election in Ohio and other states in 2004," Yyuran said.
"He claims that," I said. "It's all nonsense."
"Not really," he said with infuriating calm. "He shows that Republicans stopped more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from voting or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House."
"Prevented them from voting? Get real. What did they do, have police stop them at the door to the voting booth?"
He ignored me again. "Most of those lost votes were from Black voters."
"Even if you're right, and I'm not saying you are, so what?"
"Black voters were far more likely to vote for Kerry."
"Votes are secret," I said. "You don't now how they would have voted."
He just laughed, and I shuddered. I have told you before what a Martian laughs sound like. "Black voters had a 900% higher chance of losing their votes due to 'technical errors' in voting machinery than white voters," he added.
"So maybe voting machines in Black districts just happened to be a little more decrepit and prone to problems."
"Just happened?" he said sarcastically. I didn't like his tone, or its implications. "Just happened? Like all those Black voters in Florida in 2000 who just happened to be purged from the voting rolls because they were felons?"
"So, felons lose their right to vote, at least in some states like Florida," I said.
"But most of them were not felons, it turned out after the election. They just had the same name as some felon."
"Accidents happen," I said.
"Most often to Black voters," Yyuran said with another chainsaw laugh and I winced.
"I don't believe any of this. But even if it were true, both parties had been guilty of some election shenanigans. The Democrats have done their share."
"But even if it were true," he said, mimicking me, "are you saying that it's OK if the Republicans stole the last two elections, because some other elections in the past were messed up?"
"No," I said. "Stop putting words in my mouth. I just don't believe what you are saying. Period. If it were true, I would have heard about it on Fox news... or the newspapers," I added quickly, knowing that for some weird reason he thinks that Fox TV slants the news in favor of Republicans.
"I can't believe that your media is ignoring the story."
"They are ignoring it, because there is nothing to it," I said.
"Well, you Fox viewers believe that, anyhow. Ninety-nine percent of you don't think that the elections were stolen."
"So there you go."
"That's not what people who watch any other news source think. At CNN, 70% say the election was stolen."
"CNN are a bunch of liberals," I said.
"Viewers of all the other networks agree more with CNN than Fox."
Before I could answer, he switched on me again.
"Actually, there's one thing that the media is finally beginning to pay attention to."
"What's that?" I asked. I shouldn't have. It just let him get on his high horse again.
"Your New York Times and a few other papers are at least showing some concern about electronic voting machines."
"They reported that Diebold's voting machines can easily be hacked and votes changed."
"Well, even if that's true, I'm sure that Diebold will fix them before the next election."
"If they want to, maybe. But Diebold has close ties to the Republican Party."
"It's a business. Businessmen have to have good relations with politicians. You're so naive sometimes, Yyuran."
"Should so many of your elections really be in the hands of a private business? Republicans or Democrats? If I were an American voter..."
"Pretty hard for an illegal immigrant from Mars," I said, trying to lighten the mood.
"If I were an American voter," he repeated, ignoring me again, "I would be concerned that the CEO of Diebold once promised to give the election to Bush."
"Now, come on!" I was getting mad. "That's a lie!"
"He promised in a GOP fund raising letter to 'deliver Ohio's electoral votes to George W. Bush.'"
I started to answer, but he rudely cut me off. "The women in charge of elections in Florida in 2000 and the man in charge of elections in Ohio in 2004 were closely tied to Bush. They were co-chairs of the Bush campaign."
"So?" I said. He was getting under my skin.
"That doesn't bother you?"
"Why should it?"
"If it was the other way around, if they were chairman of the Democratic Party, would it bother you?" I wouldn't admit it to him, but that idea did creep me out. "Whatever," I said. "I'm sure that the Democrats will watch the next elections closely and make sure that no funny stuff goes on."
He shrugged the Martian shrug that turns him into a corkscrew. "If it's not too late."
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