Big Mac's and Ballot Machines
By Perwaiz Ahmad
It is ironic that one can buy a McDonald's Big Mac from coast to coast (same taste, weight, size, speed of service, packaging and quality) or rather from anywhere on the Globe but we cannot make a Ballot Machine in the United States of America for the National Elections that works without any hiccups (remember hanging Chads, pregnant Chads, half Chad ) and is fool proof.
After eight years, complains are already emanating from polling places where early voting has started that the Ballot Machines are not working again to ensure free and fair elections!A country that can land men on the moon (1969) five years after President Kennedy said, "… we choose to go to the moon" cannot fix the voting nightmares of the year 2000 and 2004 seems rather uncanny. The truth is that they don't want to fix the problem, rather they want to leave as many loopholes as possible so that they can manipulate the election results as they see fit.
One wonders why it is happening in this country which was once the role model for the rest of the world for holding free, fair and transparent elections. It was like second nature and nobody ever doubted the election results but all that has changed since the Election 2000.
Digressing a bit, we saw extraordinary things happening before the elections in 2000: it was the first election where an official selected to find a suitable running mate abandons his search and himself becomes the President's running-mate; sounds spooky because there is no such precedence, it was the first election when the Supreme Court had to intervene to declare a winner by a split decision, which means that there were some doubt about the results, it is the first election where an inconceivable attack (9/11) occurs eight months later in the New York City, leaving so many questions unanswered to this day, it is the first election where a preemptive war took place based on lies and deception and continues to this day leaving more young men and women dead than those who died after the Twin Towers collapsed, this is the only administration where the rights to defend was confiscated under the pretext of National Security, even Abe Lincoln's orders were overturned during the bloodiest Civil War by the then Supreme Court, under this administration clock 35% of the population awaits answers about the 9/11 tragic attacks on the Twin Towers. It was living hell for thousands of innocent people in the two buildings who either succumbed to injuries or have survived this man-made catastrophe with the most horrifying near death experience they will ever face.
Despite all the misfortunes that the middle class has suffered it is quite appalling to note that a great number of Muslims all across the landscape continue to support the Republican Party that has made "fear" a household word to suit its agenda. On their clock three million jobs have moved overseas, millions of homes are in foreclosure, 800,000 in California alone, 1.4 million people have lost health insurance making the total uninsured to 43 million, where the national debt is close to eleven trillion, where the lobbyist write the Bill for Congress to approve and the President to sign on the dotted line, no wonder he did not have to veto any bill until the last few months of his Presidency, where Milton Freedman's fiscal policies (started during the Reagan era) have brought financial miseries to millions of people while making 1% filthy rich, not only in this country but in Pakistan, Iceland and other countries too, where ever Economist Milton Freedman's policies were implemented , i.e. borrow now, pay later, where the life time savings of working class evaporated (thanks to Enron and the copy cats) in the blink of an eye because of unscrupulous CEOs who care about nothing except multiplying their fortunes manifolds so they can have their Country Club membership, lavish cruises, bonuses and their cocktail parties.
Goldman Sachs one of the cronies last year distributed $20 billion to its employees when the company only reported $5 billion in profit, where manufacturing jobs are moved overseas to benefit the multinationals and other conglomerates, they left in droves to take advantage of juicy tax laws, offshore banking, pansy schemes and zero taxes. The results of the fiscal policies of this Administration have worked great for the Wall Street but have ruined most on the Main Street because they simply want the middle class and the working class to stay where they are. Where sub-prime loans, artificial escalation of home prices, unsecured loans Real Estate for the Middle Class has ruined vast majority of its populace s beyond repair.
The reality is that the Republican Party has been hijacked by a small group of neoons and the Evangelicals who exploit the masses in the name of religion because they claim they have direct communication with God and unless the Republican Party gets out of their clutches they will be doomed to extinction because time will catch up with them. They believe God is on their side God while the others who do not espouse their belief will go to hell. This ideology appeals immensely to the Bible belt population because they are God fearing, simple folks, who intend no harm to anyone, but get easily exploited by self-serving , unconscionable human hybrids who have amassed wealth through the blood, sweat and tears of the middle and working class because without them they can only watch their wealth dwindle after a while.
Let’s hope sanity prevails in this election and Barrack Obama wins because he deserves to win, he is articulate, educated and above all a human being who thinks about the common man, one who has stayed above the gutter political campaigning all along the discourse, what ails the economy, unlike his opponents who have spared no dirty tricks to pull him down but people saw through it and they have brought him to this stage where he is within reach of becoming the next President. Colin Powell summed it up very nicely in his endorsement last week by saying that this Election is not about Muslim or Jew or Christian, it is about who can best bring the glory back to the flag of the United States of America, and Barrack Obama is more suited than his opponent John McCain.