The people won this election
Another election has come and gone ...
As I'm writing this column, a winner has
not been declared in the presidential election -- but that doesn't matter,
because I want to talk about the real winners and losers.
The first real winner was the non-nasty
campaign. I hated that every time I turned around, it seemed like another
Phil Sudan attack ad was running. I was very glad to see that Sudan lost
big to Ken Bentsen. I love it when mudslingers lose.
Another big winner is the notion of bipartisan
coalition government. No matter who is declared winner of this year's presidential
election (after the recount in Florida or any subsequent investigations
and lawsuits), neither Bush nor Gore received a "mandate" from the American
Not only has our next president barely
squeaked by, but the House and Senate are now closer in numbers than they
have been in years. One or two defectors in either party can spell victory
or defeat for any issue, so the only way to get anything done is for both
sides to come together.
This is good, because despite the fact
that the president is the so-called "leader," Congress calls most of the
shots with regard to the things that affect you and me in our daily lives
-- such as deciding how much we pay in taxes or what our Social Security
benefits may or may not be.
On many issues, the Democratic and Republican
parties differ significantly, but if either of them was expecting to get
a push for their party's platform, I'm afraid each will be disappointed.
I think we're all going to be the winners if our "leaders" can come together
for our benefit instead of their own.
But I think the biggest winner in all of
this is the American voter. I, personally, have been voting regularly since
I was 18, and it makes me so mad to hear people complaining about those
bums in government but don't get off their bums and go out to the polls
This election proved that it is important
to vote, that each vote really does count and that just a few people can
make a difference. I think we really needed this wake-up call.
I think it's also gotten people more familiar
with the workings of our electoral system, specifically with the fact that
we do not directly elect our president.
I really hope that the rethinking of the
Electoral College is something that comes out of this unusual situation.
I don't think we should be using a method of election where, if you play
the chessboard of states just right, the election can be called before
the polls have even closed on the West Coast or the winner of the popular
vote will not necessarily be the winner.
Not everyone agrees with this idea, however.
Someone I know brought up the fact that this system has worked pretty well
for more than 200 years. I said I understand why it was created, but I
think the system has become so distorted that it should be abolished.
Just because something has been around
for more than 200 years doesn't make it a good idea. After all, slavery
was around for that long, but that doesn't make it a good idea either.