Most Americans have been watching the fuss over the current results of the 2000 Presidential election. Early results from the state of Florida indicated that Al Gore was going to win that state's votes in the Electoral College. Then the rest of the state, the part that was in an later time zone, turned its results in and the winner looked to be George W. Bush. Then it turned out to be too close to call, and Florida state law demanded a recount.
Meanwhile, the results came in from the rest of the country, and it turns out that Florida's twenty-five electoral votes -- sunny, carefree Florida, home of Disneyworld and Miami Beach and more senior citizens than you can shake a Medicare bill at -- are going to decide who will be the next leader of the free world.
As of this writing, the recount has yet to be completed, but preliminary results have Bush leading by less than a thousand votes. This, however, doesn't even take into account the military and absentee ballots which are still coming in, since those only had to be postmarked by Election Day. Weeks may pass before we have a conclusive winner.
So the rush to find every last Democratic and Republican vote in the state is on. This has led to a number of unexpected consequences across the nation. First, a partial list of what is happening right now:
Now, this is a chaotic mess. But let's look at some of the things that aren't happening:
And none of these things have ever happened, no matter how close an election, in American history. We the People have so much faith in the importance of democracy, the integrity of our Constitution, and the importance of free elections and "one man, one vote" that it doesn't even occur to anyone -- anyone -- to try and usurp the law in order to win the election. Whoever wins, there's little doubt that it will be won according to the strictest observation of the rules already in place.
It's nice to be able to take something like that for granted.