Isn’t Ohio’s Recount More Newsworthy than Ukraine’s?

You are the citizen of a breakaway democracy that values and extols the virtues of personal freedom. After an election that appoints the head of your government, allegations of fraud surface. Some say the entire election is called into question; others insist voting irregularities were not widespread enough to change the outcome.

What do you do?

  1. Demand a new election.
  2. Demand recounts in areas suspected of concentrated amounts of fraud.
  3. Declare the vote valid so the country can move on despite the concerns.
  4. Engage in widespread disinformation campaigns to hide efforts to recount the vote, utilizing the media to do so.
  5. Nothing.

Please select an answer before moving on to the next question.

This is not a test.

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If you love democracy, chances are you’ll select the first or second option. After all, democracy is bolstered and enriched when government is representative of its people. When it isn’t the constituents are being manipulated. Democracy cannot survive in a moral vacuum.

But it thrives when people demand accountability from their government. Such is the case in the Ukraine. A former Soviet republic, Ukraine’s recent elections were a disturbing show of corruption and electoral abuse until Ukrainians rose up by the thousands, declared the results a sham, and demanded Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich be forced from office. President Bush even broke rank to say that the Ukraine’s elections “ought to be open and fair.”

The results are nothing short of astonishing: the Ukrainian Supreme Court threw out the results of the November 21st election and has set a new one for December 26th. Should anyone who believes in democracy be surprised? It is representative governing at its most earnest, is it not?

Yep. That’s why it’s making headlines around the world. It’s also why Americans are so puzzled as to why they should even care.

The answer is simple — the Ukrainians love their freedom and do what it takes to make sure their voices are heard, that their votes make a difference. They are not afraid to rock the status quo for something they believe in. Two hundred years ago our forefathers felt the same way; it’s a shame so many of us remain ignorant of the legacy they continue by birthright.

That’s not to say there aren’t a number of Americans actively ensuring our own presidential election in November was fair and honest. Tens of thousands of people all across the country donated money to the Libertarian and Green Parties to force the state of Ohio to recount. Ironically, in the “land of the free,” recounts of sketchy situations aren’t gratis — they require $150,000 and a volunteer army to do the counting… on a deadline, of course.

The worst part is that the American media gives little or no indication massive grassroots campaigns are active in battleground states while simultaneously reporting around-the-clock about the situation in the Ukraine.

Excuse me, but what the hell?

I find it ridiculous that the press, already smarting from being bitch-slapped over its failure to report that the Iraqi invasion was built on lies, would have the gall to champion the democracy of a far-flung Eastern European country that has zero relevance to the average American citizen. When someone does manage to bring it up in print or on television, it’s always prefaced with an exasperated sigh, as if to say, “this old story? We’re still talking about this?” Faced with a media that has no problem splashing every inch of paper or television screen with Scott Peterson innuendo, that mindset only highlights how much the press wants to bury the story.

Beyond that, such utter refusal to accept the possibility of fraud reaches new heights of absurdity when exit polls are considered trustworthy for the Ukraine but not for the United States. You won’t see pundits bending over backwards trying to explain that lapse in logic away — they’ll just hope you don’t remember the inconsistencies.

The hypocrisy doesn’t end there. In addition to Bush’s abovementioned comment (hilarious considering he has been at the center of two major election controversies), the United States also monitored the Ukrainian election while eschewing foreign observers from our own. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the representative in charge, decried the rampant fraud and voter intimidation as things the world would not support.

Yet said press release reads like a checklist of purported fraud here in the United States. Shady, unverifiable vote counts? We’ve got it. Students being coerced into voting a certain way? Of course. Registration tampering? Absolutely.

Forgive me if I find it shameful that our own election woes merit less attention than those of a people I know very little about (aside from the fact that they have huge collective balls). I’m not even stating that a crime has been committed in the United States, although an overwhelming array of evidence shows patterns of voter disenfranchisement, flat-out racism and ballot tampering — and that’s without the computer glitches.

But all of this is secondary to one basic question — did we get an accurate vote? If so, prove it so the millions of outraged Americans harping and bitching about Bush stealing the election can shut their mouths. Granted, it’d be a lot easier if all of the computerized ballots had verified paper trails and ran on open-source software, but I’m not picky, I’ll take what I can see. Believe me, I’d be ecstatic to learn that my hunch is, in fact, bullshit.

But if the vote is thrown into question, shouldn’t all Americans shake off their malaise and require the country to siphon a few million from the war to pay for a recount or new election? Shouldn’t we the people care enough about the legitimacy of our own government to demand its veracity? If nothing else, shouldn’t we at least hold the vote sacred?

To quote one of the Bobs from “Office Space” — “you’re god damn right.”

It’s not difficult to raise awareness of this issue. It’s the simple matter of convincing a bought-off conglomeration of media whores and politicians desperately hoping that accountability stays as far away from Capitol Hill as possible to…

Oh. Wait. Never mind.