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Take Back American Democracy!
2000-11-08 10:57:11

You know, these beers are only the beginning...
-- El Snatcher


The Presidential election this year has shown us one of the biggest flaws in our political system. Any third-grader can tell you that the electoral college is a stupid idea. Now it will bring us a President who won fewer votes than his opponent.

Call me a foolish idealist, but I believe in democracy. Believing in democracy has many possible meanings due to the distortions and interpretations of politicians and demagogues, so perhaps I should clarify myself. Democracy is the closest thing we have on this planet to Divine Right. If God speaks through people, then the Will of the People is the Will of God. I don't like using religious terms in this context, but it's the only way to express how firm my conviction is that Democracy is the best and only form of government, with the possible exception of self-government, or anarchy. I can be wrong, but the will of the people cannot be. Sure, I've groused about popular beliefs from time to time, and I reserve the right to continue doing so. But I am willing to bow down to the will of the majority in a great many matters though I disagree with the verdict.

My friends, a travesty has been visited upon this nation that can only be described as a blight on the face of democracy. The United States has a system it calls representative democracy, and I'm not here to argue the benefits and drawbacks of it. But the system of representative democracy that the U.S. practices has failed the American people in as heinous a way it knows how, and the result is that George W. Bush will be inaugurated as President of the United States come January.

Am I opposed to George Bush? Yes, I suppose I am. I'm not fond of Gore either. If anything, I feel that Gore deserves to have lost for betraying the values of American liberals. I have cast my vote, however, and done my part, however small. The time for me to affect the outcome of this election is past.

The travesty here is that thanks to our electoral college George Bush will become the president even though Al Gore won the election. The electoral vote differing from the popular vote has not happened since 1888, when Benjamin Harrison beat Grover Cleveland in electoral votes but not popular votes. The fact that this can happen today is a slap in the face of every citizen of the United States.

The only sovereignty the leaders in this country can claim is the backing of the American people. Regardless of the result of the recount in Florida (it looks like that race is darn close no matter which side wins) Gore had about a quarter million more votes cast for him this time around than Bush. That's a reasonably small margin considering that nearly 100 million people turned out to vote this time around. Nonetheless the numbers are clear: if the person with the most votes wins, Gore should be President.

I call on George W. Bush to withdraw his bid and allow Al Gore the presidency. Heck, I don't even know if that's legal, so I won't pursue that any further.

Barring that remote possibility, I call on every American who has even a shred of belief in democracy to take to the streets. The electoral college must be dismantled! As long as the electoral college stays in place, the votes of people in some states mean more than the votes of people in other states. In America, we shouldn't have second-class citizens!

Write your congressman! Petition for a constitutional amendment dismantling the electoral college! It's been a bad idea, a blight on the pretense of democracy, for over two hundred years, made clear in the first electoral tie in 1800, when the House of Representatives decided that Thomas Jefferson would be the third President. I was brought up to believe in the righteousness of the rule of the majority tempered by the restriction of the Constitution. Without a working democratic process, the monster of the political system rather than the will of the people makes the critical decisions that affect every single person in the world.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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