Tubbs' and Boxer's stand
In the end, it was more a symbolic stand than anything, but I'm still glad they took it. Most of the media will play this off as a publicity stunt, or sour grapes, or something equally inane, and I'm sure Limbaugh et al will be in a pseudo-righteous huff over the audacity of libruls to question the tactics of the Republican party in general and Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell in particular, and it certainly wasn't going to change who was living in the White House for the next four years, but if there's one thing the Democratic party needs to understand, it's that symbolic stands are at least as important to take as those which effect substantive change.
I've been reading a lot of Joseph Campbell lately, and I think one of the major points he touches on in Pathways to Bliss is that because we as a generation (and this encompasses everyone from the boomers to my kid) have lost touch with the myths that defined our society in the past, we're now floundering. And as a result of that floundering, we see an increasing number of people looking for solace in fundamentalist groups, despite the fact that much of what those groups teach is scientifically ludicrous (the earth created in 6 24-hour days, etc.). Subconsciously, they're looking to reconnect with those myths that have sustained us societally for generation after generation, and the Republican party has hitched their wagon to them for electoral purposes.
So how does the Democratic party combat this? A lot of people have noted that we need to reclaim those myths and their underlying values, i.e. link progressivism to Jesus, which is a good idea as long as we stick to the Jesus part of the teaching, and not all the misogyny that Paul and the subsequent church fathers brought in later. Another option is to build our own set of myths, but as any writer can tell you, that's easier said than done.
But the thing I think we need to remember, no matter what we do, is that the myths we embrace or create ought to work toward making us better people in the end, and not in a "God cares where I put my penis" way, but in a "the greatest commandment is this, that you love one another just as the Christ loved you" way. They ought to extend the in-group of human society to include as many people as possible--anyone left outside should be there only because they choose to be there.
And in the end, I think that's what Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Barbara Boxer were doing when they made their challenge--they were arguing that the in-group was unfairly kept smaller than it was supposed to be, smaller than our laws require it to be. They wanted it noted for the record that whatever decision the Congress came to as far as the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was concerned, the Congress had been told that it had failed in its duty to include every citizen who wished to take part in the election and who had the right to do so, and that anyone who refused to examine the case fairly was an accessory to that act. They made the case that the Republican party as a whole, and particularly the Ohio Secretary of State's office, had done what it could to exclude people from the in-group of citizenship, rather than include the greatest number.
On a side note, could the SCLM have covered this story less? It's already gone from most major websites, and never got more than a handful of paragraphs of the most lightweight coverage possible. It should have garnered curiosity coverage, if nothing else. There's that liberal media hard at work again.