conservative South Carolina, the motor vehicle employees werernbusy (under federal mandate) registering to vote a considerablernnumber of Asians and Hispanics—whether citizens or not,rnwho knows?rnIt was not thus at the founding of the American Republic.rnGeorge Washington and John Adams received the suffragesrnof their fellow citizens in much different fashion. Most electionsrnwere indirect except those for the representative bodies;rnthese, not the executive and judicial, had most of the power,rnand the number of decisions made by the public sector at anyrnlevel was small. Voting was viva voce. The justices of the peacernspread a table under the trees by the courthouse and the citizenrncame and declared his choice in front of the whole public (beforernor after to be feted with rum and barbecue by the candidates’rnfriends). It was a manly act of citizenship, allied to servingrnin the militia or on a jury. It was limited to those who hadrnachieved responsible ownership of productive private property.rnOf course, since human nature was present in those days,rnthere was demagoguery and clandestine manipulation, butrnsome eras and societies are more honorable than others. Whenrnthe election, which often took several days, was over, there wasrna general public knowledge of the sense of the community.rnThe utilitarian counting of heads with which we are now so obsessedrnwas an afterthought.rnCan we really say today that our counting of papers in a box,rnor of holes in a computer card, produces majority rule in anyrnbut a superficial sense? Do we really think, when such vastrnamounts of power, wealth, and vanity are at stake, that politicians,rnwho control the machinery and the ground rules of thernelections, always, or even usually, behave honestly?rnMy enlightenment came in 1968 when I volunteered as arnpoll watcher for the Wallace campaign in a liberal college townrnin the South. I discovered, as did the Republican watcher, thatrnthe Democratic precinct manager, an oldtime leftist of localrnnotoriety, was giving two ballots to the black voters, and instructingrnthem on how to fill them out. When confronted, shernavowed unashamedly that she was making amends for theirrnprevious disfranchisement, which was only fair. We reportedrnthis to the Republican county committee, and were ready tornswear affidavits. We were told later that the FBI was notified.rnNothing further was ever heard. Nixon carried the state by arnplurality over Wallace. It was not in the interest of Republicanrnpoliticians to upset the system. I had my youthful eyes openedrnto the difference between politics and democracy.rnDoes anyone really believe that John F. Kennedy defeatedrnNixon fair and square in I960? In an incredibly close electionrndivided by less than one percentage point and with evidence ofrnfraud in several key states? Nixon made the “statesmanlike” decisionrnnot to protest and upset the apple cart. A real democraticrnstatesman would have insisted that the true will of the peoplernbe determined, whatever the consequences to the convenientrnparty games. The consequences for American society were immensern—the deification of Kennedy by the media, his martyrdom,rnand the implementation of social revolution by Johnsonrnon the emotions produced by that martyrdom. Yet in whatrnsense can Kennedy’s election be said to represent the unqualifiedrnwill of the people?rnIt is absurd to congratulate ourselves on our right to go to thernpolls and choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum whenrnin fact our government, though it is never mentioned in politerncircles, is in many aspects a plutocracy. We plain folk are overshadowedrnby accumulations of wealth that make the differencernin property between Ceorgc Washington and a tenant farmerrninsignificant. Decisions are made more often than anyone likesrnto admit by the wielders of great capital. It is a measure of realrnpower when one can exercise it without even being noticed.rnHow often behind some foreign policy decision we find lurkingrnthe interests of the Rockefellers and other big money manipulators.rnOne does not have to be a conspiratorialist to see the distortionrnof majority rule this represents.rnHow else to explain a buffoon like Nelson Rockefeller becomingrngovernor of a powerful state, Vice President (by appointment),rnand a perennial presidential candidate without anyrntrace of intellectual or moral qualification? Somewhere CarrollrnQuigley, President Clinton’s mentor and an admiring historianrnof our Establishment, records an anecdote of Averell Harriman,rnthe multimillionaire Democratic mover and shaker. When hernfirst heard of Jimmy Carter, Harriman, who was temporarily outrnof the loop, remarked in a moment of senescent candor: “Herncan’t be President. I don’t even know him.” As Orwell remarkedrnlong ago, some animals are more equal than others.rnHistory begins about 1960 for our media and politicians.rnThey know no more of the spirit and little more of the letter ofrnearly American history and government than I do of the Hanrndynasty. The complications that may well arise in the 1996rnpresidential election, if there is no majority, could become arnvirtue. They could invoke further deliberation and compromisernand the addressing of neglected issues. They won’t, becausernwe will see the media and the two parties coalescing tornput down challenges to their hegemony.rnIn a Distant Fieldrnby Emanuel di PasqualernThe ocean is almost stilllikerngrass let grownrnindifferentrnover an old gravernleaning lightlyrnto a light wind.rnThere is no warm linernof current that leadsrnto a river, andrnI see no treernno bushrnno fallen leaf—rnonly the hard pawsrnof a wild dog.rnNOVEMBER 1996/23rnrnrn