And other coverage where we can find it...
Koehler: 'George W. Bush, The Great Polarizer'
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2005, 7:00pm PT  

{Blogged by Brad on the road...}

I've been so busy with so many things concerning and since the National Summit to Save Our Elections that I haven't had much time to write about it. Thankfully, others have. Including the great Bob Koehler of Tribune Media Services with whom I had the honor of sharing 45 minutes or so on stage at the Summit where we were both able to interview each other. (The BRAD SHOW carried that and more from the summit. The Koehler interview is in HOUR 3 of the archives for last Saturday's show which are now up here.)

More coverage of the weekend was written by DU's "Autorank" and carried by Scoop (only New Zealand is interested in Democracy in America, apparently). Coverage of Day 1 is here, and Days 2 & 3 is here.

As usual, of course, it's Koehler who hits the ball out of the park again after this conference, as he did after the Nashville Conference last April with his now-classic "Silent Screen of Numbers" column. (As well as with his "Citizens in the Rain" column which was spiked by Tribune Media Services and thus never ran other than on the net!)

In Koehler's latest, "Ballot and Soul" he again puts the weekend's events into appropriate --- and chilling --- historic perspective. Here is just a taste:

If I want to generate a little fear-based insomnia, all I have to do is remind myself just before bedtime that the 2006 elections are barely a year away. Suddenly I'm awash in cold sweat and my heart starts pounding like a steam piston.

No, please, somebody stop the clock. It's too soon. We can't hold the elections until we get our right to vote back.

If you are one of those people who has opened up the can of worms known as the 2004 election and stared appalled at the irregularities writhing around the count in Ohio and New Mexico and Pennsylvania and other swing states — where dirty tricks and outright disenfranchisement (spurious voter challenges, too few voting machines) were blatant in inner-city and other Democratic strongholds and where electronic, no-paper-trail voting yielded results at odds with exit polls in statistically near-impossible percentages — you know what I'm talking about. Our elections, and therefore our democracy, are not safe, and not enough people know or care yet that this is so.
...
We've been complacent about our democracy for the past 40 years...The contests between superficially distinguishable candidates seemed to hinge on gaffes and tie color, not issues. Our democracy was dying of indifference.

The 2004 election was a watershed in several ways. Thanks almost single-handedly to George W. Bush, the Great Polarizer, voters surged to the polls in numbers not seen in several generations. And thanks also to George Bush and his friends, the election was dirty enough to spark a citizenship movement.

At last.

“We need a revolution every generation,” Thomas Jefferson said. Now there's a bit of Founding Father wisdom that hasn't been worn down to a platitude yet.

Please read the whole thing. And thank you, Mr. Koehler, for giving a damn. I wish more of your media brethren did so as well.