a Copy of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a
Legitimate White House, by journalist Jackson Thoreau and social
worker Sharon Thoreau. Foreword by Michael Rectenwald,
CLG Founder and Chair
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"Like many other similar organizations, we have been ignored by the media. My question has been: If there is a protest and the media doesn't cover it, did it make a sound?" - Voter March member
"The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth." - Tom Paine
When the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the legal counting of votes for U.S. president in December 2000 and effectively handed Republican George W. Bush the White House, the justices eroded many people's confidence in the judicial system, the White House, and elections. Thousands of supporters of Democrat Al Gore, who attracted more than 539,000 more overall votes than Bush, took action. They wrote letters, organized rallies and marches, signed petitions, formed Internet sites and groups, and did whatever else they could to register their disapproval of what the court did. They worked for needed electoral reforms so that all Americans' votes could be counted in future elections.
We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House covers their story, which has been largely ignored by the media. The roughly 100,000-word book was written by journalist Jackson Thoreau and social worker Sharon Thoreau. Backed up with hundreds of footnotes and sources that are linked to Internet pages, We Will Not Get Over It starts by outlining how the Republicans employed questionable actions to win the election in Florida. Those included purging legal voters from the rolls, doctoring absentee ballots, using state offices for political purposes, giving voters misleading instructions, approving confusing ballots, questionable decisions that favored Republicans by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who was Bush's state co-chair, behind-the-scenes maneuvers by Bush's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and blaming Democrats for delays when Republicans filed the lawsuits blocking and delaying the legal vote-counting process.
We Will Not Get Over It goes on to detail what organizations like Democrats.com and Citizens for Legitimate Government, panels like the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, politicians like U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and others are doing to restore confidence in the White House and U.S. electoral system. It shows how many in the media ignored and belittled such actions and embraced a president who has little business being in the White House. The book also covers how people and organizations in other countries are reacting to the controversy. Michael Rectenwald, an adjunct professor and writer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and founder and chairman of Citizens for Legitimate Government, wrote the foreword to this book.
Finally, We Will Not Get Over It includes recommendations from people like Rev. Jesse Jackson, Barbara Streisand, and U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and organizations like the ACLU, NAACP, and the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, led by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, on what needs to be done to restore legitimacy to the White House and our election system. There is a long directory of more than 220 organizations, Internet sites, and individuals - with Web site, email, and mailing addresses and other information - to enable readers to learn more and get involved with this important cause.
Unlike other books that are focusing mostly on what happened in Florida and with the U.S. Supreme Court, We Will Not Get Over It spins the story forward and coincides with the one-year anniversary of Bush's takeover of the White House. No other book covers the people involved who are making a difference to restore confidence and integrity in the U.S. political system in as much detail, the authors said.
"The development of a grassroots movement in the past year to oppose the Bush administration is a very important story that has been largely overlooked by the mainstream media," said Jackson Thoreau, 42, a journalist, photographer, and activist for more than two decades, primarily in the southwestern United States. "Many people who were not really involved in politics before have become involved, largely through the Internet. I know I stepped up my involvement after the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the counting of legal votes and handed Bush the White House. I joined the Democratic Party and groups like Democrats.com and Citizens for Legitimate Government that have worked to raise awareness of how devastating the Bush administration has been to civil liberties, the environment, health care, and other issues."
The mainstream media, especially television, has pretty much marched to the Bush party line, and We Will Not Get Over It is Thoreau's effort, as a member of the media, to say, "Enough is enough," he said. "I was mad as hell about how Bush and the Republicans stole the White House last year, and I continue to be mad as hell about that to this day. I will most likely be mad about it for the rest of my life. Bush is not, and never will be, my president," Jackson Thoreau said. "This is not a petty burglary we're talking about. This is the theft of one of the most cherished institutions our country has, done right before all of our own eyes. And we just let them get away with it. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Tom Paine, and others are probably still rolling over in their graves. If you can fix an election like this, you can fix almost anything."
The book is dedicated to the Thoreau's young son, said co-author Sharon Thoreau, 36, a clinical social worker and adjunct professor of sociology for a college in the southwestern United States. "We want him to grow up in a country that truly practices liberty and justice for all, that cares about issues like health care for all people, a clean environment, and civil rights," she said. "We want to show him that there are people who care about this country for more than just their own selfish motives and will continue to fight for our most cherished ideas and institutions."
The terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001, make it more important than ever to campaign for a legitimate White House and improve our political institutions, the authors said. "What better way to honor the victims than to improve the American system that they worked for and lived under? We have to move forward and address the issues that the terrorist acts brought to the forefront," Jackson Thoreau said. "The Bush administration has cynically used Sept. 11 to push through much of its agenda and erode the liberties that many Americans worked, lived, and died for. We have to move in a different direction, one that truly addresses the underlying causes of terrorism and works to prevent such acts through increased security, intelligence, international cooperation and aid, and diplomacy. We have to continue to help those in other countries develop a higher standard of living so they don't resort to terrorism. We certainly should not be bombing other countries; we didn't bomb our own country after the Oklahoma City terrorism act done by Americans in 1995. We should treat these acts of terrorism like we did the one in 1995, as a terrible crime that should be handled in the courts."
Jackson Thoreau has written for numerous newspapers and magazines and authored several books related to politics, history, and other subjects. He has written about and participated in numerous projects and demonstrations that raise awareness for world peace, human rights, environmental justice, and other causes. He walked more than 5,000 miles on a project endorsed by Jimmy Carter, Mario Cuomo, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and others to reduce Cold War tensions by walking across the U.S., Europe, and Russia and meeting everyday people in 1984-85. He is, or has been, a member of organizations like Citizens for a Legitimate Government, Democrats.com, Sierra Club, ACLU, Amnesty International, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and others. He was politically independent for much of his life, but the way Republicans won the White House in 2000 made him become a member of the Democratic Party for the first time.
Sharon Thoreau has worked for children as an investigator with Child Protective Services, for mentally ill clients, for Democratic Party values, for workers' rights as a union leader, and other causes. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Democratic Party, and others.
The authors used pseudonyms for We Will Not Get Over It to help protect their son and guard against personal and professional threats. "It's a sad environment we live in, when those who speak out against the established powers are threatened with the loss of their jobs and more. We think we live in such a free country, but the reality is quite different," Jackson Thoreau said. "Professors who speak out against Bush's policies are threatened with being fired. Students who speak out are threatened with being expelled. I was recently laid off from my full-time reporting position with a daily newspaper, even though I had an excellent work record and had won some awards. Though my former bosses deny it, that could have been a political decision. I know that Cheney and Bush want a certain number of layoffs to turn our economy from an employees market to an employers market. Before last year, all these CEOs were complaining about how they couldn't find enough good, loyal employees, and Cheney and Bush went on television talking down the economy and all-but asking companies to lay off employees. Now you don't hear those complaints from CEOs. That's another payback from the Bush administration for their campaign contributions. I know that several bigwigs at my former company contributed to Bush's campaign, while I was forbidden to as much as sign a petition."
The authors' son has also been the target of vicious comments from Bush supporters who used profanity. "We know the risks of speaking out and aren't afraid of anyone ourselves, but we will do whatever we can to protect our son," Sharon Thoreau said.
With their pseudonyms, the authors chose to honor a sibling who passed away, one of their dogs who recently died, and one of Jackson's favorite writers and activists, Henry David Thoreau. Sharon was the name of Jackson's older sister who died when he was young, while Jackson was the name of the authors' late dog. "In this way, my older sister and our dog still live to do some noble, important deeds," Jackson Thoreau said. "Thoreau was a writer who did a lot more than just write about problems in society in the 1800s; he worked for solutions. He helped start a school that did not practice corporal punishment and took students on field trips. He was active in the anti-slavery, transcendental, environmental, and other movements of his day. If Thoreau was alive today, I think he would have written a book like We Will Not Get Over It."
Table of Contents of We Will Not Get Over It Foreword & Afterword by Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. Introduction - Why We Will Not Get Over It Chapter I. Roots of the Coup d'etat Chapter II. Completing the Coup Chapter III. Patriots Revolt Chapter IV. The Establishment Responds - Sort Of Chapter V. Getting Stronger Every Day Chapter VI. The Whole World Watches Chapter VII. The Media Sleeps on Bush's Lap Chapter VIII. What Do We Do About It? – Suggestions for Electoral Reform and Responding to Terrorism Chapter IX. Other People Who Will Not Get Over It – A Detailed Directory Bibliography Note: Footnotes appear at the end of each chapter.