Vigil at Senator Wyden's Eugene Office Jan. 3 - 5
Remember the scene in Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 911, where several members of Congress were rebuffed in their attempts to challenge the 2000 Presidential election results? Not one single Senator supported their challenge and then-Vice President Gore repeatedly called for the frustrated Black Caucus members to come to order.
We don't want that scene repeated.
Truth in Voting is continuing our peaceful presence/vigil in Senator Wyden's Eugene office (151 W. 7th) when it reopens after the holidays, Jan 3rd to Jan 5th. We are concentrating on the senator after our discussion with Representative DeFazio on Tuesday, Dec. 21. The congressman stated he would not be supporting a challenge unless something miraculous happened between now and Jan. 5th.
Please join in! If you don't have the time to sit in the office, drop off a letter asking Senator Wyden to support a formal challenge to the electoral college on January 6th, 2005 . Can't do it the week of Jan. 3rd? Mail it the week before. Send letters to the Eugene Office Address: 151 West 7th in Eugene, Room 435 Eugene, Or 97401
To volunteer for the vigil, or if you have questions, please email email@example.com
A short history of the vigil to date:
At the Monday, December 13th Truth in Voting meeting, Kate Rogers Gessert suggested the idea of a peaceful, respectful vigil in the offices of Senator Wyden and Rep. DeFazio. Several of us met with the congressmen's representatives on Friday, December 17th, to better understand where they stood on the issue and to get a sense of what we really hoped to accomplish. Rep. DeFazio had written a letter to the GAO asking for an investigation. (Add letter link here?) But his aide, Carmen, couldn't tell us where he stood on an actual challenge.
Senator Wyden's aide, Juine, told us the senator was very concerned about the issue of vote fraud, and gave us copies of two letters he wrote in support of Rep. Conyers work and another asking the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration to investigate the allegations of fraud in Ohio. (Wyden's letters here)
We decided that a peaceful, respectful presence in their offices in the coming weeks would be a worthwhile endeavor and began Monday, December 20th. With a small sign on a clipboard stating "We respectfully ask Senator Wyden (Rep. DeFazio) to support a formal challenge to the electoral college on Jan. 6th", we went in to the offices and told them what we intended to have a presence in their front waiting areas until Jan. 5th. Both offices' staff were surprised but polite and cooperative. That afternoon, Carmen told us that Rep. DeFazio would meet with 4 or 5 of us the next afternoon. We were elated that our vigil had brought such a quick response. Senator Wyden's aide told us he might ask us to sit in the hallway as he had some privacy concerns since the office handled veterans' affairs. We reluctantly said we would oblige, and the next afternoon he asked the person sitting vigil to move to the hall.
The meeting with Rep. DeFazio was very discouraging. The congressman was clear that he did not intend to support a challenge, that he was concerned about the alleged fraud but that he, as a representative, has no voice on the floor of the senate. He is supportive of Rep. Conyer's efforts but, unless something very big happens between now and Jan. 5th, he can't see the sense in bringing about a formal challenge since the Republicans control the Senate, and everything else in Washington. His battle is saving Social Security, and he picks his battles carefully. He also doesn't believe there were enough votes stolen to overturn the election.
We hit the skids. It had been a very long two days, and we walked dejectedly to Allen Bros. to debrief and decided to hang it up.
Then we learned that a woman was going to fast at Senator Wyden's office for the very same reason we were sitting vigil. Rep. Conyers was interviewed on truthout.org and detailed even more evidence into the fraud issues.(Conyers' article here) So we regrouped through several late night telephone conversations and decided to keep on with the vigil, but only in Senator Wyden's office.
So Wednesday morning, I entered Senator Wyden's office and sat in "my" seat. Aaron was very cordial and seemed glad to see me there. He had just talked to the woman who was going to fast and thought she was from our group. I explained that she wasn't and we had a great conversation that veered from the political to surfing off the Oregon coast and Christmas traditions. Around three in the afternoon, Aaron announced the office might be closed the following day. By five, he said the office was going to be closed the next day and the whole week between Christmas and New Years. Standing at the elevators after the office closed, we had an opportunity to ask Aaron what more we can do to support Senator Wyden in challenging the vote. He said, "You're doing it." He also agreed to make certain any letters we deliver to the office between Jan. 3 and 5th will be faxed to the Senator before the joint session on Jan 6th.
So lets take advantage of this week "off" and ask everyone who we know is concerned with the issue to write letters to Senator Wyden, asking him to support the challenge to the electoral college on Jan 6th. Rep. Conyers had stated that he is prepared to bring a challenge. In order for it to make any real difference, a great many senators are going to have to support the challenge. Let's have a huge stack of letters for Aaron to fax, and many people on the sidewalk outside as well as those sitting vigil inside during the days leading up to Jan. 6th. Perhaps Senator Wyden will understand that the people of Oregon expect him to do the patriotic thing and protect our democracy.
During the holiday week, talk to your friends and family. Bring them up to speed on the issue. Bring paper and pens and ask them to add their voices to the chorus. Bring the letters to 151 W. 7th, between Jan 3 and Jan 5th, or mail them the week before. Word of mouth and the internet are our most effective tools in getting the word out. It's certainly not well-covered on the nightly news.
When the snows clears in Ohio and the court house reopens, John Kerry's reportedly going to file papers in support of the Green Party/Libertarian Party recount effort. Specifically, Kerry will be filing a request for expedited discovery regarding Triad Systems voting machines, as well as a motion for a preservation order to protect any and all discovery and preserve any evidence on this matter. http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/122404Y.shtml
Could this be the big thing we've been waiting for? Perhaps. It's been a rollercoaster ride, that's for sure.