Thoughts on the Election
Tomorrow is election day. I voted more than two weeks ago by
mail. And I voted for Bush.
My prayer for tomorrow is that whoever wins, wins big so we
are not left in limbo for weeks and months, wondering who is
president. After the last election, when Gore was declared
the winner at 5:30 p.m. PST, hours before the polls on the
West Coast had closed, then Bush was declared the winner a
few hours later and then by midnight we were hearing no one
knew who'd won, John turned to me just before we shut the
television off and said "Welcome to the United States of
America, the newest banana republic." Exactly. What makes
this country work is that when there's an election, the
loser concedes, the winner accepts graciously and we go on.
As the Red Sox fans used to say, "wait'll next year".
But Gore left us a horrible legacy. We now take elections
into the courts. The lawyers sue; the judges rule. The
election has been taken out of the people's hands. I hate that.
If you've read my journal for any length of time you know
that I despise Nixon. He used the Vietnam war for his
political ends. He ordered stand downs just before the 1972
election in order to win and abandoned the remaining
soldiers. Election day that year was two days after Steven
died and I've always associated the two events in my mind.
But he'd run for President before 1972, before 1968. He'd
run against John F. Kennedy in 1960 and lost. That's the
first presidential election I remember. When we went to bed
we still didn't know who our next president was going to be.
When we got up in the morning my mother had the television
on, something she never did in the morning, and as we ate
breakfast, she told us we still didn't know who our new
president was. The disputes were in Illinois and Texas. JFK
won both. There was talk about voter fraud, especially in
Illinois, especially in Daley's Chicago where dead people
are known to vote early and vote often.
There were some who told Nixon he should challenge those
votes. He refused. People sent him money to do so and he
returned their money. It wouldn't be a good thing for the
country, he said. It would tear the country apart, he said.
So he wouldn't do it.
Nixon had class. He thought more about the country than his
own selfish ambitions, at least at this point. Gore didn't.
I was a Democrat for more than 30 years and it was Clinton
and Gore that pushed me over into the Republican camp.
Clinton and his legal parsing "it depends upon what 'is' is"
and Gore's "no controlling legal authority". And like many
converts I am more rabid because of it.
I am also concerned about the push to reform the Electoral
College. Bad idea. Very bad idea. I really blame this on
the public school system which doesn't teach students about
how government works. Folks, the president is NOT the
President of the People of the United States. He's the
President of the United States or, to put it another way,
the President of the States United.
If you take away the Electoral College you reduce the weight
of the votes of people in the states with small
populations. They become irrelevant. Someone could win the
presidency by concentrating on a few states in the East and
Midwest, add in Texas, California and Florida and that's it.
Voter fraud could happen anywhere in the United States and
would. No presidential candidate would ever bother to visit
Oregon or Wyoming or Montana. And worse, the federal
government, which many in those states already feel has no
clue about what's going on their state, wouldn't even have
to pretend to care anymore.
So tomorrow, like millions of others, I'll watch and wait.
I'm really tempted not to turn on the television or radio on
at all. John says it's like watching a sporting event. It
is. You root for your side. You cry foul. You get angry
when it appears your team's opponent has tried to pull a
fast one. I'm not sure my blood pressure medicine is up to
the task. No. I'm tempted to lock myself in my sewing room
and quilt all evening. But I know I probably won't. Hugh
will turn on the television to watch and I'll be drawn into
it. I'll be glad when it's over.
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