Update 4/27, 11:54pm PT...
- Ellen Theisen, John Gideon's co-director at VotersUnite.org on his passing.
It was a very lonely time for advocates of democracy in the U.S. when John Gideon posted his first guest blog here in the dark days of October 2005, and when we began to carry his vital "Daily Voting News" on Election Day, one month later, in November of that same year.
While the fight for democracy in this country has become somewhat less lonely as the Election Integrity movement has grown since then, thanks in no small part to the tireless, daily contributions of John, it feels very lonely again today. My good friend passed away this evening in a Seattle hospital, having succumbed to a surprise and sudden bout with bacterial meningitis.
John held on as long as he could, but tonight he'll rest with his beloved wife who passed some years ago.
He was 62, and a Vietnam veteran who never stopped fighting for his fellow veterans and in service of our country. He is survived by his son Rick and grandson, and a life-long legacy of fighting in defense of his nation, and for all that it stands for. He has left that legacy behind as a gift --- and challenge --- for us all.
John's always-understated "Daily Voting News" --- which he filed, often seven days a week, for well over five years --- provided simple links to news of election reform, failure and success from around the nation, as culled from papers, blogs, press releases and official and academic reports around the country, and even the world. In so doing, he connected the seemingly disparate dots of local stories, and apparently anecdotal woes, into a cohesive tale of a nation struggling to regain footing on the pedestal on which it had once, and still hoped to stand.
The compelling narrative the DVN slyly wove together daily --- almost, as if in slow-motion, with each passing day --- was clear: We were, and are, a country whose promise of public, transparent democracy threatens to slip away forever beneath a cynical and foolish crush of ill-considered corporatism and greed, self-imposed expediency and often well-meaning, yet destructive naivete. In short: Unless we take care --- every single day --- what's left of our democracy will further wither to the whims of cold, disinterested privatization no longer resembling the self-governance our founders envisioned, and that we have convinced ourselves still remains.
If there is anything we can give back to the man, in thanks for his selfless service, over so many decades, on so many fronts, it is to continue to carry the torch of the man who fought for democracy until he had nothing more he could give...