By David Swanson
If your television declares John McCain the president elect on the evening of November 4th, your television will be lying. You should immediately pick up your pre-packed bags and head straight to the White House in Washington, D.C., which we will surround and shut down until this attempt at a third illegitimate presidency is reversed.
A McCain “win” will not be illegitimate because I disagree with his policies, but because he himself has rendered it illegitimate. He and his campaign and allied supporters have sought to illegally remove hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls, fraudulently registered people as Republicans without their knowledge and against their will, obstructed voter registration drives, falsely warned students against voting where they attend school, falsely accused community groups of voter registration fraud, falsely alleged the widespread existence of voter fraud, and encouraged supporters to falsely believe McCain’s opponent is a foreign terrorist through speeches, recorded phone messages, and flyers. Already in early voting in a number of states there have been cases of votes on electronic machines visibly flipping to McCain or McKinney when intended for Obama. We will see McCain supporters on November 4th challenging people’s right to vote, seeking to force people to vote on provisional ballots, and seeking to have provisional ballots discarded. And we will see electronic vote counts wildly out of step with the most recent polls, although not with exit polls — which we will be denied any access to unless they have been “adjusted” to match the official counts.
Inciting your supporters to violence with racist and religious lies about your opponent, effectively alleging treason on absolutely no basis, should be enough, alone, to disqualify a campaign for the presidency of the United States. Working to block voters from registering should be enough on its own. Any of the dozens of creative forms of vote suppression currently being used by the Republicans should be enough. And allowing votes to be counted on completely unverifiable machines owned and controlled by corporations allied with your party should make the results illegitimate even if plausible. If McCain is declared the “winner,” it will not be plausible, but at this point he has so disgraced himself and our electoral system that he is no longer a legitimate candidate for president regardless of what the polls (themselves fallible, but all we’ve got) say just before election day. Too many people have already been denied the opportunity to even push the buttons and have their votes miscounted. Too much incendiary slander has been let loose. Too much visible vote flipping has already been documented.
If Obama officially wins, McCain is likely to challenge it, charging the Obama campaign with some of the very crimes engaged in by McCain himself. Our reaction should be exactly the same in the event of a McCain challenge as in the event of a McCain “victory.” We should not sit back for even a split second and wonder how it will work out. We should not try to organize a plan on the spur of the moment to travel to key battleground states. We should be prepared already to immediately travel to Washington, D.C., head straight for the White House, occupy Lafayette Square Park, the Ellipse, and surrounding streets, block entrances, and shut the place down until Obama is recognized as the president elect or we are guaranteed a credible election with universal registration and hand-counted paper ballots.
We may be there for days or weeks or months. But we must be there. We must be there by the millions. We must show each other, and the nation, and the world that we have had enough, that we will not stand for one more stolen election, that we will not give in to fear, lies, theft, and intimidation. If they choose to attack our nonviolent gathering of citizens, let them do it right in front of George W. Bush’s White House with the world’s media watching. We will not back down.
I’m not hoping it comes to this, of course. If it doesn’t because the official election results are credible and just, we should celebrate and prepare to lobby our government for real change. But if resistance does not develop because people are too scared and obedient to act, then you’ll still be glad you packed ahead of time, and you might want to look into tickets to Canada.