One point that I find myself returning to constantly is that a large number of people, on both sides of this election and in other countries, seem to have a flawed
notion of what's going on. The Republicans
calling for Al Gore to concede the presidency 'for the good of the nation' top my list. Why? Because...
The System is working.
Really. It is. At least as of 11/10/2000, approx. 945pm EST (when I write this). How can this be? I can hear already rising from the roaring crowd. Does this boy have any clue? What?
Okay. Here's my un-humble, not-so-inflated, real-dollar $0.02 on the whole matter. The system is working because the means by which we (the national we) are attempting to both determine and, yes, sway (in most cases, anyway) the outcome of the election are within the law. Where there exists a possibility that the law has been broken, there are judicial bodies investigating the matter. Private citizens and campaigns, upset and afraid that their side has been wronged, are taking to litigation.
Guess what? They're supposed to. Why? Because the alternative is to stat thinking about picking up shovels and rakes and guns and other implements of destruction and to begin trying to force the issue that way. Yet, for the most part (nearly all of it, in fact) there appears to as yet be very little violence or advocation of such. This, my friends, is what our system is designed to do - allow us to change our governing officials (and in fact, if we choose, even change the governmental system) without violence unless it is absolutely necessary. If violence becomes necessary, then the system has failed, and the Declaration of Independence's points about When in the course of human events... become quite immediately relevant. Note, however, that this document doesn't define or create a system; it advocates tearing one down. The Constitution builds ours, and so far, seems to be doing okay.
What happens if your side loses? Your side loses. But the system is still in place; we will still vote for our leaders, we will still retain a representative democracy (with the caveats of the existence of the Electoral College) and life will go on.
Ah, but what about that dashed anachronistic Electoral College? I hear the cry. What about it? If anything, this very election will force us to re-examine whether its consitutional raison d'être jibes with our present notion of 'right.' It may even lead us to decide that in this case, the Constitution is wrong and should be changed! And then, in the next election (which will happen) we will have improved or at least adapted the system to its present time.
But it'll still be there, and it'll still be working.
If Al Gore were to concede the Presidency at this point, when there are still unreleased official vote counts and recounts being pushed for (by both sides of the coin, mind you) then he would be failing us. Because with this much uncertainty, the system deserves the patience of the people while it works. It deserves the patience of the candidates. And both candidates deserve that system's complete, proper function and process - even if it means they can't declare themselves winners for a few weeks.
Of course Dubya is setting up a transition committee. I have no problem with that; if anything, Gore had better be doing the same just in case! Clinton showed us how easy it is to get so behind in one's appointments that the functioning of the government (not the system, the government its manifestation) can be threatened. Better to be ready in case you're declared winner.
But to those Republicans shouting for Gore to concede - shame on you. For him to concede now would be the very wrench in the function of our system that they claim he is tossing by staying in. Besides, at last count, Bush was gaining in the national popular vote as recounts and absentee ballots trickled in - what are they afraid of, a mandate?
The ranter above is a fairly staunch Democrat who is disgusted that he is left with little choice but Gore, but would rather have Gore (or even Bush) than have the system crumble.
Thanks to Gorgonzola for pointing out that the EC is, up until now at least, constitutional in that the Constitution stipulates its existence!
UPDATE 11/11: The Republican party, through shill James Baker, is now calling for an injunction to PREVENT a hand recount in Florida and other states. Excuse me?!?!? In other words, they don't *want* to be sure, they want their candidate to win 'for the good of the country.' I'm sorry, but seeking an injunction against recounting votes already cast, when there has been demonstrated error, is one of the most dangerous precedents I've yet heard come out of this whole mess, and the GOP should be ashamed of itself.