Ed De La Garza
Miriam A. Garcia
Two men walk into an election
"The other night, when I went into a
restaurant in Santa Monica, there was one president -- Clinton. When I
ordered a pizza, there was another one -- Gore. When I paid the bill, there
was a third president -- Bush, and when I walked out onto Ocean Boulevard
there was no president, because Bill is now the husband of a senator from
-- Bepe Severgnini, newspaper columnist
in Milan, Italy
Pay attention to this year's presidential
election. Not only will it go down in history as one of America's most
hotly contested, but it may mark the first time the rest of the world views
the United States as an erstwhile banana republic floundering in the absence
of clear leadership.
As the nation enters its third day without
a president-elect, the fight for Florida votes increases in intensity,
with most of the heat coming from Democrats worried that the White House
will slip through their fingers.
To increase their chances of winning what
will probably be the pivotal state in this year's election, the Democrats
have resorted to the popular modus operandi of declaring disenfranchisement.
On Thursday, the epicenter of injustice was Palm Beach County, home of
the infamous "butterfly ballot" that allegedly confused thousands of people
into voting for the Reform Party's Patrick J. Buchanan.
The ballot was approved by both major parties
and widely distributed among voters before the election (by mail, in the
form of fliers and exposure on the media). It is clear that anyone who
looked at the ballot carefully could have figured out which hole to punch.
Never mind that Palm Beach County, a Buchanan stronghold, has a history
of voting for minor party candidates.
But the injustices don't stop there: More
than 19,000 ballots from the county with more than one candidate selected
were discarded. Democrats say it is clearly a violation of civil rights,
but they don't point out that it is also a common practice across the country.
As we wait, pundits describe the situation
as a potential "constitutional crisis." That's melodramatic -- the Constitution
is not in crisis. But we, as a nation, should be on guard as we watch two
men struggle for power. It's a tough world, and chaotic conditions like
these tend to leave a nation more vulnerable.
If there was ever a time when the United
States needed a leader, that time is now. Unfortunately, we may have to
wait another month before we find out who he is.