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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

ON THE 2004 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Tacoma, Washington
November 3, 2004 – 12:00 noon

This is no ordinary election.

United for Peace of Pierce County took the lead in organizing this constitutionally protected exercise of our First Amendment right of freedom of speech and of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, because we believe that the administration of George W. Bush is responsible for misleading the American people into war. We are greatly troubled by his election, for the following reasons.

The Urgent Response Network organized by the No Stolen Elections project, an offshoot of United for Peace and Justice, a national coalition to which we belong, stated late last night: "There was widespread voter intimidation, possibly fraud, and suppression. But we do not yet know whether these acts have affected the outcome of the election" (www.nov3.us).

George W. Bush's lead of more than 3.5 million votes is an unexpected and surprising result, given both the election-eve poll numbers, and the exit polls results early in the day. Many citizens fear that black box voting has undermined the integrity of our electoral process.

While it is true that millions of Americans have voted for the reelection of the president, no electoral majority is capable of transforming falsehood into truth, or wrong into right.

It is a fact that a majority of those who voted for the president believe many things about his administration that are demonstrably false. It is disappointing that so many have been fooled. But this is perhaps not surprising, given the fact that to a degree unprecedented in the history of this nation, the Bush administration has chosen to violate its compact with the American people and to govern by insisting upon what is manifestly untrue.

The present war in Iraq is only one of the evil fruits of this approach to government; there are many others.

We can say that we know beyond a reasonable doubt that the majority of Bush supporters are deluded, because a reliable and scientifically dependable survey has demonstrated this to be so. Conducted in September and October by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland, this survey showed that the majority of supporters of George W. Bush are demonstrably wrong in what they believe about many undisputed facts important to evaluating Bush's presidency. To give a few examples:

(1) A majority of those who supported George W. Bush for president think that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMDs. - (2) A majority believes that chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. - (3) A majority believes that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda. - (4) A majority believes that most experts agree with that assertion. - (5) A majority believes that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. - (6) A majority believes that the Bush administration is now saying that Iraq had WMDs. - (7) A majority believes that the people of the world either supported the Iraq war or were 'evenly divided.' - (8) A majority believes that the majority of the people in the world would favor Bush's reelection (actually, the publics in only 3 out of 30 countries recently surveyed did so). - (9) A majority believes that President Bush supports multilateral approaches to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. - (10) A majority believes that the president supports the treaty banning land mines. - (11) A majority of Bush supporters even believes that President Bush is in favor of the International Criminal Court, although he strongly denounced it in the recent debates.

But every one of these propositions believed by a majority of Bush supporters is false. (See Bush Supporters Still Believe Iraq Had WMD or Major Program, Supported al Qaeda, PIPA, October 21, 2004.)

Why are so many Bush supporters ignorant of the facts? "The roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information," according to Steven Kull, "very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake.  This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters ― and an idealized image of the President that makes it difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made incorrect judgments before the war, that world public opinion could be critical of his policies, or that the President could hold foreign policy positions that are at odds with his supporters."

No doubt it is also difficult for his supporters to imagine that the president systematically misleads and deceives them. A majority of them believe these false propositions, and many others, both because the president has deceived and misled them, and because a compliant media system allows these deceptions to pass unchallenged. The mainstream media have scarcely mentioned the PIPA survey, for example.

That this level of mass delusion can persist in contemporary society is a grave indictment of the U.S. media system as a whole, and a strong argument for its reform.

That a president of the United States who has so misled the American people can win what appears to be a clear majority of the popular vote ought to be deeply disturbing to those who believe in democracy, freedom, and the Constitution of the United States of America.

This election endows the president only with the powers, responsibilities, and duties of the presidency as given by Article II of the United States Constitution, and subject to his sworn oath that he "will to the best of [his] ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Unfortunately, as president, George W. Bush has shown himself quite willing to disregard the Constitution he has sworn to preserve, protect, and defend. His administration has, in executive orders, national security decision directives, and legal briefs, expressed a philosophy of government based upon the expanded and unchecked power of the president as commander in chief that is antithetical to the separation of powers fundamental to our system of government.

We will never be willing to accept such a philosophy of government. It is unworthy of a free people.

We repeat: no electoral majority can transform falsehood into truth, or wrong into right.

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."