Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Democracy Inaction

I turned 41 this month, and therefore now consider myself something of an elder statesman. As such, I feel it my patriotic duty to weigh in on some of the vital issues with which we, as Americans, are currently wrestling.

There are those who say that our beloved political system is a farce, a travesty, a multimedia interactive theater of the absurd. I myself have said those things. After a few beers I get pretty opinionated.

However, I believe if that if we examine our ongoing presidential crisis more closely we will find that it is a grand lesson in how surprisingly effective our endearingly cumbersome government with its myriad laws, arcane rules, Byzantine codes, nit-picking procedures and unfathomable electoral shenanigans, actually can be.

Here's two guys: One is a governor whose dad was president, vice president, head of the CIA, ambassador to China, ambassador to the UN and a war hero, and whose grandfather was a senator who co-founded a secret society called Skull and Bones that has covertly manipulated virtually every important historical event since WWI. The other guy is the friggin' vice president, has been for eight years, and before that he was a senator and so was his dad.

Both of these guys have all of the essential qualifications to be president: They are white males, they are at least six feet tall, they can smile and kiss ass at the same time and they have millions of dollars of corporate sponsored and professionally laundered funds at their disposal. They both waged impressive campaigns, strategically orchestrated by the finest political minds money can buy. They both offered well-crafted, easily digestible, virtually indistinguishable platforms covering all the issues the voters are supposed to care about. And they both did everything in their considerable power to persuade us to elect them president on November 7th, 2000.

But we didn't. There was a glitch in the system. A Florida state law that triggered an automatic recount, which in turn set off a chain of events that continues to unfold. Leaving us, thus far, without a winner.

And as far as I'm concerned, the system worked perfectly. Neither one of these guys did anything to capture the hearts of the voters. Neither one offered real change or even a half-baked attempt at change. Both just did what they thought they had to do to get elected. Both played the game as safely as possible. Both avoided risk. And nobody won.

Of course when the mail-in votes are counted we will probably end up with one or the other. But, whoever wins, I hope both candidates and their parties have learned an important lesson --

Don't count your dimpled chads before the state election commission, the secretary of state, the state supreme court, federal district court and a bipartisan committee selected at random from a pool of retired oil company executives and substitute teachers, determines that all state and local election codes have been observed and there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that anyone who voted in this past election will ever seriously consider passing within one thousand feet of an official polling place for as long as they walk on God's green earth.

Love, HWD