Saints win, unlike Gore,
J. Brandon Lacour
This Thanksgiving weekend, as we counted
our blessings and fought the effects of tryptophan from our turkeys, we
could at least be mildly thankful that the 2000 election appeared to be
coming to an end.
The election could be almost over and while
it has divided the country, most -- excepting those who are stockholders
in CNN -- seem to just yearn for resolution.
As the tension continually rose in Florida
this past week, the various protests seemed to swell in anticipation. One
highlight was the crowd gathered outside the vice-presidential residence
at the Capital, carrying signs with suggestions for Al Gore, such as, "Get
Out of (Dick) Cheney's House!" That is humor. I recognize this.
Yes, we have much to be thankful for this
year. The New Orleans Saints trounced Superbowl victors the St. Louis Rams,
bringing them to the top of the NFC West and ushering in the oft-promised
golden age for the New Orleans franchise.
Southern won the Bayou Classic, and Thanksgiving
is still the only day I can see an entire Detroit Lions game. Mr. Rogers
is retiring (in case you don't remember, that sort of less-creepy-than-former-president-George-Bush-looking
man we used to watch as kids), but we'll still have reruns.
All humor aside though, in the wake of
the Florida debacle, numerous stories of election skullduggery are coming
to light, but receiving precious little coverage in the press.
The Advancement Project in Washington,
D.C., a civil-rights organization, reported this week that "hundreds, maybe
thousands" of blacks in Florida were blocked from voting in the 2000 election.
In light of the current situation, "hundreds,
maybe thousands," becomes extremely significant. If they had been counted
we might not all be glued to CNN ad infinitum (or ad nauseam depending
on your view of the world).
According to Time, (who devoted a rather
small spot to this quandary), "In Florida, black college students came
to the polls with their registration cards but were turned away. In some
black neighborhoods, cops set up intimidating roadblocks near polling places.
Some voters who applied for absentee ballots never got them, while others
who came to the polls were told they had already voted absentee and were
In an election where black-voter turnout
increased rather dramatically in Florida to 15 from 10 percent (to 12 from
five percent in Mississippi), even though the black population accounts
for only 13 percent of the state, this is a rather grim situation. While
I personally do not account for some over-arching conspiracy, I simply
take it for a sign of the times we live in, and as food for thought on
how things haven't really changed.
The other question is: Why is this issue
not getting the publicity it deserves? I suspect it's easier and more entertaining
to argue over Florida county voting bloopers and banter reverently over
the military vote than to address this painful issue.
This issue goes deeper than just the Gov.
George W. Bush and Gore melee, more than just the 2000 election. It's beyond
that, and is something not everyone is ready to address.