by Brendan Lalor, thereitis.org
If Iowa is an indication of voter turnout to come, it's worth noting that Democrats are coming out in droves by historical standards. According to the Des Moines Register, “More than 122,000 Democrats attended caucuses Monday, of which roughly 45 percent were first-time participants, according to entrance polls.” Compare that to the mere 61,000 caucusers who turned out in 2000!
There should be no mystery why we're seeing the leap in civic engagement.
We finally have something for which we can thank Acting President George W. Bush. (I know, I'm grasping a little.) He has activated Dems (Independents, Greens, and many Republicans, too!) who are
- rightly offended that the 2000 election has been waved off as legitimate. It was not. It was plagued by all kinds of foul play that included illegal exclusion of voters, racism, and a bogus Supreme Court decision by justices who should have recused themselves (link)
- rightly offended that Bush's Administration has been the source of many lies and much deception about WMDs and about Saddam's alleged link with Osama — at the cost of a growing number of U.S. soldiers, and around 10,000 Iraqi civilian lives taken by U.S. violence
- rightly offended at a series of serious misnomers: the so-called Clear Skies Initiative, No Child Left Behind Act, Family Time Flexibility Act (empowering bosses to strip millions of workers of their overtime pay through reclassification), and an Economic Stimulus Package (tax cuts for the wealthy, which might have helped some corporations, but without leading to creation of jobs — in the U.S., anyway), to say nothing of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the notion of the Compassionate Conservative, and the unprecedented unjust actions of our so-called Justice Department!
And these are not the only reasons Democrats and others are angry. Additional peeves vary with individuals, but might include the following:
- John Ashcroft's so-called Justice Department is prosecuting GreenPeace because two of its members drew attention to illegal mahogany logging in the Amazon (link; perhaps those who draw attention to the illegal actions of large corporations are the terrorists?)
- the Bush Administration's manipulation of scientific findings and processes for political ends: http://www.house.gov/reform/min/politicsandscience/ (this is from August, but did not receive enough attention)
- Bush's serious under-funding of homeland security: http://thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030922&s=corn | http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16968
- Colin Powell's lies in his war-justifying presentation to the UN on Feb 5, 2003: http://www.cbsnews.com
- the languishing of National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers while they await medical care: http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/9194
- Bush's banning of the news coverage and photography of dead soldiers' homecomings on all military bases: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ | http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=17063
- Bush's avoidance of funerals of dead U.S. soldiers: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=17079
- the awarding of big-money, no-bid contracts for the “rebuilding of Iraq” to Halliburton and other companies that heavily supported the Bush campaign: link