Giving the (Purple) Finger to Democracy

An Iraqi voter's purple finger (Source: Department of Defense)In the U.S., fewer than half of eligible voters do vote, elections are determined by big money, sitting politicians almost always win re-election, and opinion surveys show a frightening willingness to sacrifice fundamental human rights for governmental promises of security. It's not surprising, then, that U.S. foreign policy furthers sham democracies abroad. Michael Slackman observes that in the Middle East elections have "increasingly become a tool used by authoritarian leaders to claim legitimacy. ... Countries like Egypt and Syria, which hold elections, also allow a ruling class to hold a monopoly on power, limit freedom of speech and assembly and deny their citizens due process. ... 'Democracy itself has lost credibility as a way of government,' said a Western diplomat based in Algiers. ... 'I think the Iraqi experiment, and the purple finger, didn't help anything.' ... The purple finger had initially been a symbol of pride in what was hoped to be Iraq's nascent democracy. Millions turned out to cast their ballots in the first post-Saddam-Hussein election, dipping a finger in ink to prevent double voting. Rightly or wrongly, the purple finger has become a symbol of failure."


For years now I haven't been able to hear "America the Beautiful" without thinking, "...For purple-finger photo ops, amid the ravaged plains -- " And it's not funny, it's tragic.

Mayor Election may have to be held again

(Springfield MO)

An election was held in April for Springfield Missouri. But a local resident who filed with the County Clerk was not allowed to run as a write in candidate as allowed by law. So Steven Reed has filed a legal case in Greene County Court Case No. 107CC1310 and the case and current motions can be found at Reed has also asked in the case that the State Attorney General Jay Nixon to join or take over the case since Missouri law allows write in candidates. Every city in Missouri allows write in candidates as allowed by the State Constitution.

“We promote and fight wars over the right of the people to vote and help lead the direction of our communities, states, and the nation” according to Reed. Reed says “let us be truthful, because the truth sets us free”.

A recent letter wrote by Reed to a local paper talks of efforts to bring better jobs to the area.

Recently it was announced that several hundred jobs were being lost in Springfield. Now the Roy Blunt Innovation center is the main attention that will create they say around 200 jobs. We still have anemic low wage jobs in Springfield. I began work in the late 1990s to get support for a technology park and the second industrial park could be changed in name and purpose to that cause.

Millions have already been spent on the industrial park infrastructure and in economics they call that sunk cost. These monies can be retrieved by moving forward with a technology park for more information people can go to Efforts to place the issue on the ballot were ignored by the Springfield City Council, but at least they took along with Roy Blunt part of the idea. Why not do something to help those who need better jobs. Prosecutor Darrel Moore says we have the highest level of domestic violence in the state.

Steven L. Reed