“If you’re not turned on to politics, politics will turn on you.”
Ralph Nader used these words once, and I am writing to reiterate them. Now that the certification is in and it seems as if “W” is going to be the winner, I can’t help but feel morally defeated. Once again the American people have amazed me and voted for a bumbling governor from the state of Texas who has no right to be in the position he’s in. OR DID THEY? Vice President Al Gore won the country’s popular vote, but lost the election due to our Electoral College system. The citizens of this country have been ripped off once again by the so-called “political wheels of justice.” However, I wouldn’t plan on seeing any mass movements on the eleven o’clock news anytime soon, since 50 percent of the country doesn’t even care and made that fact quite evident by not showing up to vote on election day. This is where the real problem begins.
The people who voted in this country are divided in half – as the polls showed, roughly half the people voted for Gore and the other half for Bush, with nearly 3 percent going for Nader. If you calculate the “fuzzy math,” it turns out that 25 percent of our country decided this election. This is a problem people! Especially since the lesser of two evils lost!
I voted for Gore. I’m not a Democrat; in fact, I voted for John McCain in the primaries because I believed in his reform-minded ideas. I’ll even admit that I thought, for a moment, about voting for Nader. I stood at that booth inside of the Isla Vista Teen Center and looked down at that ballot thinking I could change the world with that purple marker in my hand and my single vote – I was right. The only problem is that not enough of my fellow countrymen and women felt the same. Gore didn’t win. However, I made history on Nov. 7, 2000. My vote sent this election into a recount unprecedented in our nation’s history and put the Electoral College, which favors an outcome that opposes our nation’s popular vote for the first time in over 100 years, to work.
No matter how anyone looks at this election and no matter how much history was made, our country has taken a turn for the worst. We can say goodbye to campaign finance reform and let all the millionaires take away the dream that maybe one of our children could grow up to be president. We can say goodbye to our beloved surplus. We can say goodbye to our environment. We can say goodbye to closing the gap between the rich and poor. But at least we get tax relief and cheaper oil! The only thing I’m happy about is that the death tax is gone so at least the government is no longer shafting us after we die by taking 35 percent of our children’s inheritance.
The cynicism in politics stems from the day Nixon was impeached and continues today, when our nation’s president can decide that putting national security at risk is okay because receiving sexual favors and conducting government business simultaneously is something he can get away with. The cynicism reached even further in this past Sunday’s pathetically long certification of the Florida vote recount. Bush was signed, sealed and delivered by all the corporate powers of America, and now he is certified as our nation’s leader.
This election had nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat; it had everything to do with choosing someone capable to run our country. Now it turns out that when it mattered most, we allowed 25 percent of our nation to dictate the closest election in the past century. That isn’t a democracy people, it is an oligarchy. Rome is said to have fallen in the year A.D. 476. I pray that the year 2000 does not behold the same fate for our great country. Vote.
Ken Spain is a senior history major.