Monday, April 14, 2008

Count On Me

We in the newspaper business like to see ourselves as civic-minded souls.

We almost play the role of Don Quixote as we use our place in the communities we serve to exhort our readers to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

It is a sacred right, one that has evolved from allowing only property-owning white males to cast a ballot.

Some black males, followed by women, received the right to vote in the 19th and 20th centuries. The National Voting Rights Act of 1965 sealed the deal.

If you are a citizen - of any gender, creed or color - you are guaranteed the right for which history books tell us Americans fought and died.

Evidence is mounting, however, that those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms may be spinning in their graves.

This horrifying notion has been put forth with such aplomb by David Earnhardt in his documentary "Uncounted: The Math of American Elections" that you may never take the holy voting process seriously again.

And it makes one wonder if the real role of the mainstream media, one that has virtually turned away from these seemingly founded and well-researched accusations or egregious acts against the common citizen, should be to encourage a voter boycott.

What if they throw an election and nobody came?

It would be almost as compelling to watch at the 80-minute effort produced, directed and written by Earnhardt, who will be on hand April 16 for a Q & A session following a screening of his project at the Hiway Theatre in Jenkintown.

"Uncounted" is made in the spirit of Michael Moore's veracity to awaken the American public from its slumber on core issues. Although lacking some of the comic relief of Moore's narration ("Uncounted" has none, whatsoever, adding to its impact), this project could go down as the political documentary that Michael Moore should have made after it became clear that the irregularities - seemingly centering on the rich (whites from the right) winning national elections by disenfranchising the poor (minorities who lean left come Election Day) - of 2000 in Florida were not anomalies.

If this were a relay, Earnhardt picks up the baton and continues the race for justice by exposing almost laughable and obvious discrepancies and miscarriages of justice in the 2004 presidential elections and again in the 2006 elections.

Among these discrepancies are eye-opening exit poll numbers that don't add up, voter suppression that evokes the name "Jim Crow" without stretching it, the insidious evil of under voting (less votes reported than ballots cast in key districts in key states), electronic voting and the inability to confirm its accuracy, privatization of the election process that rivals that of the the privatization for profit of the war in Iraq and so on and so on.

There is so much here that more than one viewing is suggested. Even if you are unable to make it to Jenkintown for a one-time, mid-week viewing, I suggest you go to the Web site and order a copy for yourself.

It could be the most patriotic act of your life.

--Gordon Glantz, Managing Editor


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