The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday May 28th

Despite Craziness, Democracy Rules

What is up with the presidential madness? I said I wasn't going to bore you again with politics after encouraging you to vote and making fun of both presidential candidates equally, but how can I resist when Florida is about to erupt into a civil war and we still aren't completely sure who the president will be?

This just in: We are currently the ass of the universe, truly a laughing stock. Here we are, having proved to struggling, undeveloped countries fraught with corruption and war that we are the superpower of the world and that democracy is the tool of political enlightenment they should attempt to follow. But now it seems we can't even make our own democracy work.

Regardless, I'll be the first to say that even though we look like buffoons, we're still right on about democracy. We've been in business more than 200 years, and we've maintained amazing political stability, with the exception of the Civil War. In the past week, Palm Beach protesters have civilly exercised the beauty of their First Amendment right to whine, complain and wave signs behind CNN correspondents concerning this voting fiasco. But this voting crisis is a good thing because it brings up issues that are tied inherently to our democratic philosophy, proving that democracy can and will work.

Now, the most important question remains: Do our votes really count?

I'm still a "fence-sitter," but it's the Gore and Bush radicals who need to think about how they will react once the president is decided. The Monica Lewinsky scandal cost taxpayers more than $500 million. If Al Gore, George W. Bush and their respective supporters allow these hotshot lawyers to enter, there won't be any taxpayer money left for senior citizens' medicine after they've exhausted every injunction and threatened every lawsuit possible. This kind of childish bickering only works to further divide the nation, inciting unnecessary political and civil mayhem.

Obviously, we have a lot of problems to fix concerning future voting. For instance, how in the hell can we build billion-dollar ships and not create a decent ballot? It looks like we need "Sesame Street's" help because counting has become such a challenge.

Internet voting is a great idea, but when you have people who can't figure out a punch card and old-timers who don't surf anything more than an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show," how can you expect them to figure out online voting? And of course there's the fear of fraud associated with Internet voting, unlike the pristine and perfect system we currently have.

So let's talk about 2004. First of all, the Floridians of Palm Beach County who can't read or follow an arrow should be banned from ever voting again. But then, that wouldn't be very democratic because every citizen who isn't a felon has the right to vote regardless of ability to read, connect the dots or tie his or her shoes. So next election we need to get the Palm Beachers a 50-foot ballot so there will be no confusion.

And while we're at it, we should do away with the Electoral College so that presidents will be sure to campaign solely in densely populated areas like California and New York where they'll pull more of the popular vote. Meanwhile, those of us in good ol' North Cackalacka can look forward to becoming "the forgotten voters." Luckily, it takes about a century-and-a-half to pass anything into legislation, so we'll all have plenty of time to debate this Electoral College/popular vote issue.

Finally, there is the controversy concerning the plans to recount the recount of the recount. (How about another recount?)

And of course the confused Palm Beach residents want another try at that oh-so-difficult thing called voting. Bah humbug. It's not fair to let one miniscule group of people revote when they now know how the entire nation cast its votes. So, if the Palm Beach whiners sue for their revote, then we should all sue to revote. That's the only fair way to do it. Just send us all back to the polls because most likely the Ralph Nader supporters would change their votes now knowing the great Green Party didn't pull 5 percent, for which I am thoroughly disappointed.

But as always, Miss Glamorous Trash has a solution. Let's have co-presidents. We could make Bush and Gore spend four years together, working for us. The nation is about evenly split, so why not make everyone happy and send them holding hands into the White House together. Otherwise, the news media and court systems will find some way to drag this saga out until 2004.

Now, for those of you who don't like presidential compromise, I have one other solution: Let Gore and Bush duke it out in a World Wrestling Federation-style Celebrity Death Match of sorts.

Either way, the candidate who wins should enter into office humbly, because neither got a mandate. The sooner we can get on with life and have a president, the better.

I'll be happy with whomever is rightfully chosen to be president, and that's the attitude that all Americans should have if they truly believe in democracy and the future success of our nation.

Anne Marie Teague is a senior business administration major from Lumberton.

E-mail her at teague@email.unc.edu.


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