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In the first days after the election, you could feel the sorrow here in Charlottesville. When I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods, that usually cheerful place felt funereal. A lot of people, including me, were buying flowers and big desserts to cheer ourselves up. My family, and almost my entire neighborhood, was going through this weird communal mourning.

What I'm wondering about is how this feeling of loss is affecting people's reaction to the possibility of fraud. Could it be that some of those who don't want to hear a word about the possibility of fraud can't stand the idea of going through another fight that seems to offer only a slight chance of being won?

Is staying in that gray realm of ambiguity too uncomfortable? Accept the bad result and move on because a lingering death is too painful?

I'm not trying to start another fight about whether fraud exists or not. I think everyone pretty much agrees that so far there isn't any proof of it. What I'm wondering about is why the idea of fraud seems so horrifying to some people that they don't want it even mentioned, as though people who say the F-word have broken some crucial taboo, like taking a dump on Great-Aunt Lulu's living room rug.

If we push hard to investigate, if we try to look hard enough and thoroughly enough that we can actually know whether there was fraud or not -- and find none -- then what? Would looking but not finding fraud feel humiliating in some way? Is not knowing the answer in advance unbearable? When people say, "the country shouldn't be put through this" I keep hearing that the poster can't stand to be put through this.

What I'm trying to get at here is some kind of psychological basis for the positions some are taking. I'm not saying people shouldn't take them, just wondering about some of the underlying reasons for these strange and ugly fights that keep breaking out.

Originally posted to lanellici on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 05:46 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  PUT guilt trips in the bin (none)
    and feel good about making the country a better place for cleaning up its voter systems.

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

    by southlib on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 05:43:22 PM PST

    •  The production of doubt (none)
      has (by existence proof) been executed as efficiently as the production of desire.

      With doubt comes guilt.

      With guilt comes fear.

      With fear come silence.

      With silence comes death.

      With death comes grief.

      With grief comes an army of volunteer trolls-turned-shrinks to optimize grief processing.

      Thus does electoral emotion meet mass production.

  •  Whether or not fraud is found... (none)
    We must take this opportunity to diagnose and overhaul our election system.  It is incredibly important to restore some faith in our democracy.  Even if it is painful for many right now - it may prevent many more post-election "funerals" in the future. My only regret is that we didn't do this more aggresively after 2000.  Lots of worthwhile things are painful...
  •  paging dr freud (none)
    You're dealing with trauma resulting from assault. Prescription: ;lots of couch time +  cops catching the badguys. But that's another profession entirely.

    <"Do not seek the treasure!" >

    by moon in the house of moe on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 05:53:17 PM PST

  •  whrer are they breaking out? (none)
    compared to 5 days ago, things seem... peaceful.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 05:55:32 PM PST

    •  really? (none)
      Seems like every thread about recounts etc. people start duking it out over whether the subject is legitimate.
      •  tempest in teapot compared to a week ago (none)
        compared to the primary flame wars

        compared to lot of other things.

        Perspective is helpful. There are still annoyed, pissed-off and depressed posters, but it's been worse and it seems to be getting better.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 05:56:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've had this thought myself (none)
    Because it's odd. It really is.
    The fact that people even seem afraid to talk about the perception that something is amiss is troubling in a party I've always thought stood for standing up for the disenfranchised.
    Where's Al Sharpton in all this? If anyone can de-mystify this taboo it would be him.
  •  So far, (none)
    folks with the ability to get the message out (Conyers, Schumer, Kerry and Co.) have avoided the f-word. But with the N.H. recount via Nader assured, and the possibility of a recount in Ohio looming, the facts will speak for themselves. Should unexplainable numbers be exposed, no right thinking person would not want answers and be confident in the voting process.
  •  In a word, denial (none)
    Because of this community, we've been able to process our grief to the point that we are at the place between anger and resolution (not acceptance, resolve).

    There is a significant feeling, reality-based or not, that something died on 11-2-2004.

    Give them some space; we will need their help later.

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 06:11:10 PM PST

  •  Two Separate Issues (none)
    1.  What would the Democratic Party/Liberals/Progressives have to do whether or not John Kerry became President?  A Kerry win would not have changed the amount of work we needed to do to build the party; it just would have prevented worse things from happening.

    2. What we need to do to prevent election malfeasance or incompetence.  This also stands as an important issue separate from whether or nor Kerry won the election.

    Simply, Kerry losing and election fraud are two separate and important issues.  Their remedies are also separate.  Perhaps that is where people's head's were at after the election.  At least for me, that's where I was
  •  I posted a link to this diary (none)
    in my diary as an outlet to discuss this issue. ( also recommended it. )
    Stop by this diary as well and if you can donate to the Cobb/Badnarik Recount Fund.
    Click here to go to Cobb/Badnarik recount page The link will open a new browser window.
  •  Probably the biggest issue I have with the fraud (none)
    thing, is that "fraud" seems to have become a catchall phrase for anything that was wrong with the election.  

    I can't link to the specific diary, but I was reading a comment in one that was calling the long lines and few machines in a precint fraud.  This is NOT fraud, what it IS is VOTER SUPRESSION, which in my opinion is every bit if not worse than actual fraud (i.e., I think many more had to be privy to the realization that suppression was going to occur and did nothing to prevent it and to be so obviously racially and age biased motivated about it, it burns me up but good).  Same diary or comment (?) said that machines were moved to largely Republican areas from the largely dem areas.  

    The whole problem with screaming "FRAUD" is that issues such as these are being mislabeled and are going to get swept under the rug and not shown the light of day that they so much deserve.  They are going to get away with this unless the people who are calling this "fraud", start calling it "racially and age biased motivated voter suppression" or something along those veins.    

    I think a lot of people need to step back and breath deep.  Hate is not a good thing whether it be Christians, conservatives, red states, red companies, people on Kos that don't agree with your viewpoint, ad nauseum. Hate has virtually no effect on the hatee, but is extremely to toxic to the hater.

    It's okay to be mad, it's not okay to take it out on each other (at Kos), your family, the dog or cat.  My son came home from the mall and bought me a blow-up Bush punching bag (maybe he is trying to tell me something about my foul mood!).  

    There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by otis704 on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 07:16:08 PM PST

    •  You're referring to the Fed'l Voting Rights Act (none)
      Intimidation, harassment, too few machines, not having provisional ballots on hand, etc. are violations of the Federal Voting Rights Act.

      In addition, there was pre-Election Day intimidation carried out by certain church leaders who placed blown up photos of Bush in their chapels and/or urged parishioners to vote for Bush.

      A friend who was a poll-watcher outside Racine, Wisconsin, has a lot to say about outright intimidation inside her polling place--which the precinct captain did nothing to stop, because she, too, was intimidated.

      Is there a website/politician/journalist collecting voter intimidation information?

      Tikkun Olam: Heal the world.

      by diamondpen on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 08:01:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Laura Flanders .... (none)
        On AAR has been dealing with this aspect (Voter suppression) I hear.

        Might want to check her website, if there is one.

        US Commission on Civil Rights?

        ACLU?

        It's an important aspect of why we need electoral reform to be our priorty, en toto.

  •  This shows you haven't thought this through (none)
    If there was fraud that was decisive - you do not live in a democracy.  Moreover, your opponents are fascists willing to do anything to win.

    I do not believe fraud was decisive.  Moreover, I believe to unfurl this charge without certainty is to start this country down the banana republic path.

    What part of this don't you get?

    •  I'm with you until your conclusion. (none)
      Why do you think there has to be certainty before "unfurling" the charge? You can't get certainty unless you search for evidence, but if you conclude in advance that there is no fraud, you obviously will find no evidence of it. Somebody remind me, what's the formal name for that logical fallacy?

      If the votes are being counted inside the boxes, how do you know whether fraud exists or not? Is the idea that your statements are true -- that we don't live in a democracy, that our opponents are fascists -- too terrible to contemplate? Or do you want to believe in the bottom-line decency of your fellow citizens? I'm trying to understand WHY you've decided there was no fraud. I understand the case hasn't been proven, but I think it's unrealistic to expect the evidence to be immediately apparent.

      Next question: why is making an investigation starting the country "down the banana republic path"? I don't get that at all.

  •  Fraud is what you charge when (none)
    you've ruled everything else out. We've seen diaries with words like "proof" and "smoking gun."
    What we haven't seen is actual proof, or an actual (figurative) smoking gun. We're acting like Ashcroft, just substitute "fraud" for "terrorism." It is not enough to have vague suspicions, or circumstantial evidence. A case for fraud will take lots of careful work, if the case is there to be made. If we do eventually come up with proof, I, for one, would like people to still be listening.
    •  So you think (none)
      the problem is with the framing and not the actual efforts to get recounts?

      I agree that the case for fraud will take a lot of careful work -- but to do the work, don't we have to presuppose that fraud is possible? Do you think that presupposition should be disguised?

  •  Fear of Failure (none)
    The simple psychology behind the fear of failure is that if you don't go for something, then you can always fall back on it that as an excuse (well, we could have investigated and I'm sure that x or y would have occured......), ie if we DON'T investigate, then we can always claim the election was stolen or that it wasn't depending on which side of the fence you are on.

    Actually going for an investigation opens up the possibility of being wrong and proving that there was or wasn't fraud. Some people would rather continue to think, in the back of their minds, that fraud did or didn't occur, then to know definatively one way or the other. Expending the energy and failing to show that their was or wasn't fraud would dispell the ability to claim whatever they want to thereafter.

  •  There's no democracy without TRUST (none)
    Whoever wins, it must be clean.

    Otherwise the division and bickering we saw the last 4 years will seem like "the good old times"

    What's theoretical about it ??!?

    by lawnorder on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 08:20:05 AM PST

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