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August 25, 2003, 12:15 P.M.

I think that itís possible that America has looked at itself in the mirror and doesnít like what it sees. Some recent events have given me hope that the American people are getting wise to and sick of what is happening in government today. There seems to be a small but growing group of people galvanizing themselves into action to resist some of the blatant misuse and abuse of power associated with the current Republican administration and its churlish supporters.

First, with respect to the California recall effort, a poll conducted over the weekend shows that the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis is beginning to lose steam. The poll shows an 8% drop in the numbers of Californians who support a recall of Gov. Gray Davis. The number now stands at 50%, which is significant because 58% supported a recall just last week. 45% said that they would vote for Gov. Davis. These numbers are attributable to the lack of a serious Republican contender (Republican Bill Simon, who lost the last election to Davis by a narrow margin, announced Sunday that he was dropping out of the race, and leaves a field of over 130 candidates, ranging from a porn star to a porn king to a former bodybuilder, to challenge Davis). These poll numbers may reflect the realization that the state of Californiaís problems are deeper and more complex than recall proponents let on and because, I hope, people are realizing just how dangerous this recall effort is to our system of government. Gray Davis was elected to do a job for a specific term. Absent extraordinary circumstances, he should be permitted to finish his term, and the job that he was elected to do. The people of California may then vote him out if that is their will. Representative democracy is designed to resist the "tyranny of the majority." A recall undermines the foundations of that design.

A second heartening development involves the ongoing saga of the eleven exiled Democrats from Texas. You may recall reading about their trials and tribulations in this column back in May, first in Oklahoma, and now in Albuquerque, NM. Eleven Texas democrats have once again crossed the border to avoid a quorum call on another attempt directed by Sen. Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Texas Gov. Rick Perry to redraw district boundaries to allow for more Republican seats in that state. Moveon.org has put its formidable fundraising skills to use to raise a million dollars to support these Texas democrats. As of Monday noon, Moveonís million dollar goal was 91.58% funded. The money will be used to defray expenses incurred by the legislators, who face arrest if they come home to Texas. As Moveonís fundraising effort illustrates, these eleven legislators have a lot of support.

Incidentally, I recently learned that Tom DeLayís office has been making calls to registered Republicans, telling them that they are getting a national leadership award from the Senatorís office. When you call the number (which I did), you are connected to a recorded message from the Senator that is nothing but a fundraising request. The message talks about continuing President Bushís policies through the next election. Of course there is no award. And just to be clear, I am not a registered Republican, but my cousin is.

And finally, I read an amusing AP story in Mondayís Sun that illustrates at least one familyís commitment to running George Bush out of office. The family of Sally Baron, who died last Monday at age 71, has asked that memorial contributions in Mrs. Baronís name be directed to "any organization working for the removal of President Bush." Mrs. Baron followed politics closely during her life, and according to her son, "she just didnít trust that a big corporate guy was going to be doing what was best for her." There are a lot of people like Sally Baron out there, and youíre going to be hearing from more of them.

People are beginning to question what is going on. They are no longer willing to accept what they are told by Karl Rove, George Bush and Tom DeLay. What goes for corporate America cannot and should not go for political America. While it appeared that this country had completely slipped behind the looking glass, and inhabited a world where up was down, black was white and good was bad, these are some small but encouraging signs that we may be crossing back.


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