Although we may well remember the hanging chads and the gripping mano a mano between the Florida courts and the U.S. Supremes, Unprecedented, a film by Joan Sekler and Ray Perez, shows that the Florida travesty was a show long in the making.
While election-rigging is not new in America--such martyred icons as Lincoln and Kennedy were known to dabble in ballot-stuffing--the shenanigans on display in Unprecedented are enough to erase any of our lingering Boy Scout optimism about the purity of America's democratic process.
From the revelations of a Texas (!) consulting company's contract with Florida to purge its voter rolls with indiscriminate zeal to the conflicts of interest among Florida's elected officials (including, but not limited to, Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris), Unprecedented is a horrifying document of a hijacked democracy.
Perhaps the most disturbing subtext of the film is the complicity of the U.S. media, which largely ignored the felonious, antidemocratic activity as it was occurring. Unfortunately, it has fallen to an underfunded team of credit card filmmakers to reveal that the ballyhooed "riot" that shut down a Miami recount was in fact made up entirely of congressional staffers who had been flown in for the purpose. Michael Moore used a brief clip of this scene in Fahrenheit 9/11, but Sekler and Perez go further, freezing the frame and naming each Republican brownshirt and the congressperson for whom they work.
Unprecedented will be shown next week at the Cave in Chapel Hill (Monday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.), the Carolina Theatre in Durham (Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 7 and 9:15 p.m.) and the Colony in Raleigh (Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. only). The event is sponsored by the Independent Weekly. $5 suggested donation.