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George W. Bush was not elected President, but anointed.

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Anti-Bush protesters, St. Patrick's Cathedral, July 10, 2001. New York City.

Monsieur Bush and the Guillotine

by Kelly Cogswell

July 16, 2001. The day after French citizens danced at the Bastille celebrating the anniversary of the bloody end to the divine right of kings, The New York Times edged within a yard of acknowledging that in the United States, George W. Bush was not elected President, but anointed.

Above the fold on the front page, on Sunday, July 15, was their research showing that Katherine Harris, Republican Secretary of State, co-Chair of George Bush's Florida campaign and appointee of George's brother Jeb, accepted several hundred faulty military absentee ballots, most of them for Bush.

That tidbit may be news for the Old Grey Lady, but not for many Americans. Thousands of protesters said it at Bush's inaugural. Others said it at the Voter March rally in D.C in May. Every week hundreds of Oral Majority activists denounce it from the sidelines of some W. Bush or Katherine Harris event. Planes dragging banners questioning Bush's victory flew over opening day baseball at Cincinnati's Synergy Field, and circled Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby.

The only thing new and amazing is that a hint of Bush's circumventing of democracy made it to the cover of The New York Times. Like every other mainstream media outlet, The Times has politely allowed Bush's legitimacy to go unchallenged, while delegitimizing anti-Bush, pro-democracy protesters by consigning them to the outer silent circle of the lunatic fringe.

This silence is supposedly for the good of the country. Following the Supreme Court decision ending the Florida recount, the writers of The Times editorial page, along with the Brokaws and Rathers of network TV, hysterically asserted that anything short of public unity would end with heads in baskets and mobs at the palace gates. Not to mention the ejection of reporters from the inner circle of the irritable White House.

I expect that philosophy to prevail. As Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer said: "...the nation, the president and all but the most partisan Americans have moved on."

The Times has already retreated a mile with today's top editorial essentially congratulating the Republicans for their "aggressive precision" and wily strategies, and condemning Democrats for being "outhustled and outmaneuvered." Only as an afterthought does the anonymous writer regret that standards were not applied equally throughout the state.

The Times and the journalistic gentry still smugly refuse to acknowledge that applying voting standards unevenly for the partisan benefit of one candidate is illegal and counter-democratic. And if the illegal manipulation of ballot counts, and the disenfranchisement of black and other voters played a significant role in the Florida election, as likely happened, then Bush is not the legitimate President of the United States.

Pretending otherwise is not in the interest of either democracy or a credible press. History tells us that a nation governed by an unquestioned lie can only end mired in a corrupting tyrannical silence, or, as our French friends reminded us, at the edge of a short, sharp blade.

Related links:

For The New York Times six-month investigation, How Bush Took Florida: Mining the Overseas Absentee Vote (reg. req.).

For the New York Times editorial chastizing the Democrats:Florida's Flawed Ballots (reg. req.).

For Complete Coverage of U.S. politics

For Complete Coverage Americas

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