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"Get over It!"

Many times since the fall of 2000, including just lately, I have heard that those of us who think the election of that year was stolen, and constituted a kind of coup d'etat, should simply "get over it." It has been quite demoralizing, for me. In other countries, there would have been a rebellion or an armed resistance. Instead we have seen the American people acquiesce very submissively. The most hostile response has been to regard the entire political process as even more obviously corrupt and unworthy of any serious attention or participation.

That was until Representative Charles Rangle was interviewed on "Meet the Press" recently. Mr. Rangle stunned Tim Russert, when he exclaimed, "We'll never forget Florida!" Black voters were turned away from the voting polls by the dozens of thousands, as a result of a massive purge of voter lists, supposedly undertaken to remove the names of felons from the lists. In effect, it was a major disfranchisement of black voters.

Rangle believes that minority voters will come roaring back this year to undo the wrong done to them in the 2000 election. He refers to George W. Bush as our nation's first appointed president. In these rants I have very carefully and consistently referred to him as "the acting President." Neither Rangle nor I regard the one now in office as legitimate. The Bush campaign should take note of the fact that there are a large number of us who have no intention of getting over it at all. We intend to get past it, which does need doing, by correction the wrong done. We will never forget it, or get over it, or trust the cheaters in the future.

We have been impressed recently with how often the media have allowed Democratic voters to say to the camera and the world, "I'm trying to figure out who would be best to defeat George Bush!" "I'd vote for the devil himself, if I thought he'd beat George Bush." "My motto is, 'Anyone but Bush!'"

"Get over it," the others say. I don't think it will happen. It's like saying, "Get over being cheated. Get over being robbed. Get over the relentless visits to your place by burglars. Get over the loss of bicycle, car, TV, VCR, microwave oven, lawn mower, rakes, hoes, shovels." Get over it? No way. I've been trying to warn the police to have them in turn warn the burglars that this is a place to avoid, because the householder has become a homicidal maniac.

Now if we can get the non-voters and the voters who felt cheated in 2000 as riled up as that, we could yet turn things around in this country. The reasons why it needs doing are legion. Here's the start of a list:

the doctrine of pre-emptive war
the addiction to fossil fuel
the eagerness to export jobs
the obsession with secrecy
the plan to get rid of Medicare and Social Security
the scorning of science
the teaching of evolution in the schools
ignoring the threat of global warming
ignoring the threat of radioactive poisoning
the readiness to lie about anything and everything
the attack on women
the attack on homosexuals
the violent attack on the wall of separation between church and state
the assumption that the stock market is the entire economy
and so forth, on and on, ad nauseam...
Those of us who thought the United States owed reparations to Vietnam for all the slaughter and destruction heaped on that country by us have often been told to "get over it." Some even pretend, still, that we won. But as a country, we are not getting over it. In fact this election has stirred up the whole Vietnam debate afresh. The contrasting roles played by John Kerry and George W. Bush in that war may be decisive. The fact that Kerry served in exemplary fashion in the actual fighting, and then became a leader in the Vietnam Veterans against the War movement is a huge plus for him, and the American people may soon have a practical means of indicating that they feel the same way. Bush, on the other hand, represents all those who are trying to forget that war, without dealing with any of its implications or ramifications.

"Get over it." The 1967 Six-Day War, in which Israel conquered from Jordan what is now called the West Bank in Palestine, has been discussed in similar terms. An American Jewish woman expressed to us her genuine puzzlement over the attitude of the Palestinians. "What do they want? They lost the war, didn't they?" She meant that they should get over it.

But they won't be getting over it. Her puzzlement, which seems to be reflected in the minds of many in high places in the Israeli and U.S. governments, remains all-pervasive. To call the armed resistance to the occupation "terrorism" does no good at all. It only takes a little imagination to get past the puzzlement. If you kill my sons, my father, my grandmother, if you bulldoze my house, if you cut down my olive orchard, I will not get over it, nor will my descendants for many generations.

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Copyright © 2004 Harry Willson

[Harry's recommended reading for a companion piece to this Rant:
"Vietnam Remembered" by Robert B. Reich in THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, March, 2004]

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