Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., did the nation a huge public service yesterday by elevating the 2004 stolen election controversy to a higher plateau, in this Rolling Stone article.
And that's why the Democratic Party in Massachusetts needs to put John Bonifaz on the ballot this weekend. We need John Bonifaz, a bona fide voting rights champion, contesting a primary race for Secretary of State that is about our fundamental right to vote.
Come on, Massachusetts. I was on the McGovern campaign, and you did the right thing back then. Do the right thing again--put the long-shot, idealistic, underdog, under-funded activist on the ballot, and let's have a public conversation about how we can expand our voting rights. John Bonifaz could lead that discussion for all of us.
Look, I was in Ohio early after the 2004 election, invited by my former Kucinich colleague Amy Kaplan, who was volunteering to help organize public hearings on the vote fraud. So I got in the car, drove 7 hours to the hearing in Columbus, and ended up sitting next to my ex-Jackson campaign colleague Greg Moore at the head table for a bit, taking testimony from mostly African-American voters about the travesty of an election they had just suffered through--that's how desperate they were for someone, anyone, to listen to their story--speaking truth to lack of power, as it were...
So I know about this vote fight in Ohio. Indeed, I helped get Reverend Jackson into the post-election fight, at a time when most everyone else of any stature was ducking away, including the nominee.
But my point is, John Bonifaz was there before I was, before almost anyone else from outside Ohio was...John led the court recount fight to count every ballot in Ohio, on behalf of the David Cobb & the Green Party and Michael Badnarik & the Libertarian Party.
John was not a Secretary of State then. He was no office-holder or campaign official. He went to Ohio on his own because it was the right thing for a public service lawyer to do.
Just like he did when he stood up to the Bush/Cheney war machine, and on behalf of John Conyers & Dennis Kucinich and 10 other progressive House members, filed suit to stop the Iraq War before it started. John argued this antiwar case in court, on the true grounds that to go to war against Iraq in the winter of 2003 would be unconstitutional--because the President could not go to war himself, without an official declaration of war from the Congress.
He lost, of course. The judge followed the time-honored precedent of refusing to follow the U.S. Constitution when a President wants to go to war. But John was right, and it was the right thing to do. Too bad they didn't listen.
John Bonifaz has earned the right to be on the ballot in Massachusetts with his idealism, his service, his fighting spirit. I hope the delegates to the Democratic Party state convention in Massachusetts this weekend wait to make their decisions until they hear him speak, until they hear his passion about justice and democracy, until they hear how he can talk intelligently in coherent paragraphs about complicated voting rights issues without notes.
I hope they give John a chance. We would all benefit.