Hang on, America. The wild ride we call democracy is going to get bumpier in the next few weeks. Maybe months.
You woke up last Wednesday morning anticipating the final chapter of Election 2000 to have been written while you slept.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Popular votes, electoral votes and the recount of those Florida votes has assured us of additional hours, seemingly endless, of reporting and analysis, along with thousands
of words in newspapers and magazines and on the Web picking apart last Tuesday’s elections results.
Bush. Gore. Winner. Loser. No matter the final result, and we expect the win to go to the Republican governor from Texas, the country’s major news organizations will
be talking about this Big Story for a while to come. Hopefully, the important issues won’t be obscured by the melodrama.
For instance, voter turnout was record-setting in many communities, but looking at the big picture, too many eligible Americans are not participating in the political process.
And cynicism aside, it’s possible to assert that every vote did count in last week’s election. Ask Gore supporters in Florida how those votes for Ralph Nader hurt their
candidate. Every vote. Every vote.
Hard work remains if we want to end the apathy that holds a majority of the American electorate in its grip.
On the campaign trail, George W. Bush claimed that he wanted to put an end to the partisanship, ill will and pettiness that he thinks, and many of us would agree, have
marked the past eight years in Washington.
In light of the hard-fought nature of this year’s race for the White House, as well as tough battles for House and Senate seats, and the emotional elements in the final vote
counting, it may be terribly difficult for Bush to work together with congressional Democrats (and even some Republicans), get along and move the country forward.
The wild ride roars on.