Saturday, May 29, 2004

Revisiting November 28, 2000

On November 28, 2000, as we awaited the outcome of the presidential election, I wrote the brief essay below. It has never been published though I did circulate it to the GuvWurld mailing list. I don't think I would call it prescient but it is striking to re-discover that three and a half years ago I spelled out something so similar to what has more recently taken the form of the No Confidence movement.

With the "appearance of impropriety" omnipresent in our recent Presidential election, doesn't it cast doubt on the legitimacy of any eventual outcome?

If so many Americans believe that their voting process has become dysfunctional, shouldn't this cast doubt on the legitimacy of any eventual outcome?

Having cast a vote, each of us is supposed to know that we did our part to elect our next set of leaders. Yet we are in fact helpless to influence the outcome of events in Florida. Will the election be determined by legal wrangling or concession, vote totals or fraud? No matter which seems to be the ultimate basis for declaring a winner, many will scream injustice. Doesn't this uncertainty cast doubt on the legitimacy of any eventual outcome?

When developing nations hold elections, the media usually report on the impartial international observers. Now the whole world is watching us. If any world leaders are indeed scrupulous, shouldn't *they* contest the legitimacy of the recent U.S. Presidential election? Could you imagine if impartial voices of reason from around the world helped us to hold up the mirror displaying our own ridiculous image?

In the final analysis, either foreign powers will choose not to recognize our next government or the entire world will be complicit in our illegitimacy. Either way, it would not only serve us right, it will be what we deserve.

Returning to the present, 5/29/04...

The madness we are experiencing need not be viewed in terms of "whose fault" it is. But looking back on this essay makes it pretty damn clear that we all should have known from the start that we were letting this happen. Can we possibly let it happen again? Does anybody really want to get into contingency planning for what to do in the event of another uncertain election outcome? Our time will be better spent making absolutely sure that this scenario will not occur. This is the goal of the No Confidence campaign.

"We have no BASIS for confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results reported in United States elections."



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