Thursday, September 11 2003

Low-hanging chads

A while back, the folks at Making Light recoiled in horror when I casually commented that I thought Bush had been legitimately elected. Several of them hijacked the discussion to focus on what was, to me, much smaller than the issue being discussed. Because they seemed to be otherwise reasonable people, I promised to give a fair hearing to any comprehensive references they were willing to point me to on the subject.

It was like pulling teeth to get those references, and the ones I got needed to be filtered for obvious bias, but heat eventually gave way to light. Sadly, I suspect that when they hear I have not embraced their position 100%, they will conclude that I never took their arguments seriously, and write me off as some sort of Bush-loving “freeper”, “looter”, or “theocrat”. I guess they’d rather be righteous and wrong than accept that someone can be a reasonable human being without passionately despising the President.

What do I think now about the 2000 elections, particularly in Florida?

  1. I think the election itself was as honest as any other in recent history.
  2. I think it is the individual voter’s responsibility to cast a valid ballot, and no improperly marked ballot should be “interpreted” by someone with an interest in the outcome.
  3. I have found no persuasive evidence of a pattern of misconduct in the preparation and distribution of the ballots, the operation of the vote itself, or the initial counting of votes.
  4. I have found that there is still no real consensus among legal experts as to the validity of the decisions of either the Florida or US Supreme Courts, so I withhold judgment on that issue.
  5. I think that the facts surrounding the various recounts have been so muddled by both sides that I cannot determine the truth from 3,000 miles away.
  6. Given the above, I think the result of the initial count is sufficient to grant Bush the benefit of the doubt and accept him as President.

I did not support Bush before the election, and I have serious issues with many of the things that have been done by his administration since he took office, but I remain unpersuaded that he somehow “stole the election.”

Am I glad he’s President? Given the alternative, yes, particularly today. I don’t believe that Al Gore would have really fought back against the people who hate America for existing, instead making a token effort and then apologizing for our culture. I’m quite certain that his domestic policies would have had worse results than Bush’s.

This puts me in the odd position of being grateful to Ralph Nader, for finally doing something positive for the people of this country.