Thoughts . . .

Ken AshfordElection 2004Leave a Comment

Jeez. I go to bed with explicit ideas and instructions about how the election is supposed to play out . . . and you guys screw it up. (I don’t know specifically who I am refering to here, but that’s my rant).

Seriously, let me get out some random thoughts.

First of all, the country is not going to be torn apart if Kerry waits and holds out hope for the Ohio provincial/absentee/military ballots. This is not a ballot controversy like it was in 2000.  These are not recounts. There are no major court cases over these ballots. It is more important, for the sake of democracy, to be RIGHT than to be politically expedient. Especially in wartime.

Note to wingers: Are you seriously asking Kerry to concede because we are at war? Is our democracy that fragile? And what kind of a message does that send to Iraq, who we are expecting to have elections in the midst of a REAL war? Your lack of faith in the democratic process is so staggering, that I begin to wonder if you should be lending your voice in support if it.

Furthermore, I expect that Bush will ultimately prevail in Ohio. If it was meant to be, then let us let him. You want to be rid of the moniker "Commander-in-Thief"? You tired of hearing about the illegitimacy of the Presidency? Me, too. This election, for all its closeness, went well. Let the votes be counted the way they are supposed to be counted. For the sake of democracy, if it has to be Bush, then let’s for once and for all give Bush an UNDISPUTABLE legitimate win by counting all the votes that should be counted. It is in everybody’s interest. Calls for Kerry to concede before he’s even assessed the Ohio situation are anti-democratic. Only totalitarian states and dictatorships are afraid of controversy — not democracies.

Thirdly, kudos to the news organizations for a change. When it became clear that the exit polls were screwy, they stood up and said, "Hey, the exit polls are screwy" and with one or two exceptions, they all stopped the stupid game of trying to be the "first", and they all started playing the game of trying to be "accurate". Which is what we want from them, right?

Which beings me to a meta-point of the past two years. Pick your favorite story — WMDs in Iraq, CBS memos, the election results — and you will see that the same theme emerging over and over again: ACCURACY OF INFORMATION. Specifically . . . "how quickly should we act on information, and how good should that information be before we act?"

It seems to me that those who act hastily, and whose partisan beliefs cause them to accept bad data too readily (or reject alternative information too quickly) do a disservice to the American people. Dan Rather was one such guy. So was George Bush. I am becoming increasingly of the opinion that there are only two kinds of people in this world — those who go to the utmost extremes to convince you of their rightousness . . . and those who actually want to BE rightous. Be wary of the former.

But it looks like the dawn of the Bush second term. And if Bush is sworn in, let him be sworn in clean. Let’s be able to at least say that Bush won and (assuming Ohio doesn’t get short-circuited), he won legitimately. I and many others will happily remain the loyal opposition, as is befitting any democracy, and — from the outside — move this country to a better, more secure, more equitable, more respected, more honest place. There are tens of millions of us — you don’t think we can’t???