Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Legitimacy of a Stolen Election

It's refreshing to hear friends of mine who are working for the Kerry campaign, newspaper columnists, and other injecting a bit of perspective into the mix. Yes, this may be the most important election of our lifetimes. Yes, it's the course of American history may be changed by this election. Yes, there are significant differences between the approaches and policies of the two candidates. Yes, America is polarized as it has rarely been. Yes. Yes.

But you know, America has weathered worse. Even if Republicans steal enough votes in Florida or Ohio to win the election, it's not the end of the world. If it is proved that they stole votes, or engaged in a deliberate strategy to undermine democracy, then there must be reprecussions. But not revolution. Either way, we know that about half the country voted for each guy. If one trusts at all in democracy (and extremists of both sides generally do not) then you have to accept the wisdom of the masses, of the combination of plumbers and journalists, workers for Wal-Mart and Goldman Sachs, of all America's various classes, factions, races, ethnicities, regions, and parties. To trust in that mix is part of what it means to be American. To trust that we won't go all wrong.

In the words of America's greatest President, Republican Abraham Lincoln, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Although some on the left cannot see it at all, many people see something positive in Dubya. If those people prevail, Bush might take America down the wrong road, and those who disagree should do all they can to oppose what they see as wrong. But at the same time, far in the back of their minds, they should remember--even if someone's election is clouded by the taint of fraud, neither candidate would have been in the position to win by fraud if it wasn't for substantial support across America. And what does America stand for if not democracy? There's always next year (or 2008.)


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