Tuesday, November 28, 2000 Volume 66, Issue 69


 
 









 

Saints win, unlike Gore, Bush

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 turned away."

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.

Lacour, a senior creative writing major, 
can be reached at jlacour@bayou.uh.edu.

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