Voting Rights Activist, John Bonifaz, Running for Office in Massachusetts
By Elaine Meinel Supkis
John Bonifaz, a McArthur Foundation recipient, life long liberal activist, election fraud lawyer has decided to put on yet another hat and launch a new career as a full fledged politician. No longer an advocate on the outside, he feels it is time we work to put real activists into positions of power. The right wing is on the wane, the Democrats no longer have to chase after the right wing, it is time for the pendulum to swing towards the liberal side and time to get the Democratic Party back to its FDR roots.
David Swanson, homepage, Let's Try Democracy has been kind enough to send me regular email alerts of various actions he is sponsoring or assisting. Just this week, I recieved an email about a conference call with Joe Trippi, former campaign aide to Howard Dean and John Bonifaz who is now running for the office of State Attorney General in Massachusetts. As my state's Attorney General, Elliott Spitzer shows, this office is both important, it leads to higher political office and it can be a platform to address the nation on vital issues such as the present voting mess we are in.
The conference callers asked mostly questions about this vital matter. As we all can now see most clearly, incompetent, corrupt, ackward voting systems can have terrible repercussions. The very basis of everything that impacts us grows out of the deliberately flawed, unfair voting systems Americans are forced to use. Using these suspect, easily manipulated, utterly unreliable patchwork quilt of voting machines and protocols has enabled the far right wing to politically dominate America to our great suffering.
On November 8th, 2000, I was very aware of this and rushed down to Washington, DC, with a pile of letters to all the Senators. The title was "Uniform Voting Methods for America" and I suggested very strongly that we need a voting holiday, easier registration and a unified system for voting that is tamper-proof and reliable. All other matters were secondary, this was an emergency.
Trent Lott kicked me out of his office. But the Democrats all claimed it was a great idea and they even talked on TV that evening in the news. One senator even showed my letter. So when the Supreme Court ruled that the votes in Florida couldn't be counted because they used too many diverse systems, I said, "Yes! Now for the obvious reforms!"
Dead silence. The media assured Americans that all was well, democracy was alive and the ruling Constitutional. I wasn't the only person outraged by this. John Bonifaz immediately got to work, pushing for reforms. He told us the Supreme Court ruling should have mandated Congress to act but thanks to Scalia, they added the unconstitutional provision that the ruling can't be used by lawyers to sue to force Congress to act.
So Congress didn't act. Even when the Democrats took over, they refused to be alarmed about this and called us activists "conspiracy buffs" for suggesting that the voting systems of America were corrupt and unreliable. They always had something more important to do and when activists pressured them to act, Bush's Trifecta of Terror, 9/11 happened and everything was dropped and instead, Congress threw in the towel and granted dictatorial authority to Bush who used it to utterly corrupt the voting so that we got wonders like the five 18181 vote tallies on Diebold machines all for Republicans, a statistical improbability of the highest order and this latest election mess in Ohio which featured some of the squirreliest vote tabulations yet.
John, ever ready to spring into action, launched lawsuits in Ohio. He has worked long and hard to not only expose the problems there but push them into the courts, forcing the law to be applied, forcing events. Being a lawyer, he knew where to work on this issue and even though Kerry went wimpy on us and chickened out, you can bet, there will be no occassion that John Bonifaz will wimp out.
It isn't just voting that gets John into gear. He is also trying to force our media and the Democratic Party to respond to the war in Iraq. Here is one website he participates in, After Downingstreet.org. As we can easily see, the entire Democratic party is torn to bits over the Iraq war issue. Even seemingly "liberal" politicians have sided with Bush on this obviously illegal as well as moronic war. There are many reasons for this, one of which, in the Northeast, is the very powerful Likudnik-right wing pro-Israeli lobby. Even though liberal Jews are very much against this war, their voice doesn't penetrate very far with our local politicians who get lots of money from right wing organizations as so they support this dangerous war that is bankrupting America.
Which takes me to John's other big thing he pushes: campaign finance reforms. Like myself, he wishes to take private money out of elections, witness the Abramoff scandals that are sucking down one corrupt pol after another, like a black hole of black bag money, this is bad for America and bad for democracy.
John wants to change all this. He pushed for laws to pass in his home state giving public funds to candidates and it passed overwhelmingly only the state government refused to fund it and he had to go to court to force the issue. This is why he decided to ride the horse instead of shoveling the rear debrie all the time. And so he is running for office and needs everyone's support, even if we live far, and I live only a stone's throw from his homestate, for we are in this all together. The present occupant in this office is a Democrat but he obstructed the finance laws. And even in liberal states like Massachusetts, we need more liberal liberals. Namely, we can't move the nation to the left by only supporting the middle, it is now time to stop the "business as usual" attitude in the Democratic party and force them to take us seriously.
They need us and we are doing good things.
The other people in this conference call live in many different states, Virginia, North Carolina, California, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, just off the top of my head.
I typed busily as the call progressed and guess what? This is the night my computer decided to play me for a fool and when I went off to do some evening chores like tending the fires, it was -6 last night!---My computer died on me and I lost everything I typed! Rats! A conspircay theorist should come up with something to explain this!
Luckily, I sitll have a pretty good memory. And look, at Trippi's webpage, he has the recording up. So anyone who wants to listen to us gab, can.
This coming election is important, all elections are important. I hope we can be a force of good. Keep the faith! Hope rises eternal. One vote at a time, one office at a time, we will rise up from the ashes, a Phoenix of Light and Life!
Thank you, John, for your past efforts. I hope I can thank you next year and congratulate you, too.
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