Credit: The Wizard of Whimsy
A New York Slime Editorial
One hundred and fifty-three years ago next March, the Supreme Court of the United States of America shamed itself by declaring through its then Chief Justice and former slave owner Roger B. Taney [right], that "no slave or descendant of a slave could be a U.S. citizen, or ever had been a U.S. citizen." As a non-citizen, the court stated, "Dred Scott had no rights and could not sue in a Federal Court and must remain a slave."
Catch-22 Rulings Joseph
While remanding the case back to the Florida Supreme Court and vaguely suggesting a procedure to correct the problem, the Court majority slamed the door shut in the same breath by adding that the deadline to do so was 11:59pm on December 12th, two hours after issuing their ruling.
Vice President Gore was also doomed by another clever Catch-22 trap: Had the Florida Supreme Court set a uniform standard for manual recounting, the U.S. Supreme Court would likely have struck it down because the court had upsurped the State Legislature by "creating a new law." But by not doing so, the Florida Supreme Court ruling was struck down any way on grounds there was a "violation of the equal protection clause" because there was no uniform standard!
Fleeing out the Back Door
Despite the seriousness of the occasion, the efforts by scrambling journalists and legal pundits to interpet the calculatingly confusing majority ruling provided the only laughs for the night. After some commentators initially thought Gore still had a shot at a recount, they found that the "fine print" cynically provided no opportunity for the Florida Courts to remedy the high courts concerns.
Democracy is the Big Loser
So, after 35 days of futility, the struggle to fairly and accurately count the votes in Florida has ended. The country which gave us a man on the moon and the personal computer has demonstrated to the entire world that it is both unwilling and unable to count antiquated cardboard ballots in the most important electoral race on the planet.
on the National Agenda
If there is a bright side to all of this, and the expectation that we will be innaugurating a president who seems unaware that social security is a federal program, it rests with the likelihood that true electoral reform will now be placed on the national agenda. Similarly, even Frederick Douglass was able to find a bright side in speaking of the "Dred Scott" decision: "My hopes were never brighter than now, for this will bring slavery to the attention of the entire nation and be a step toward slavery's ultimate destruction."
The Supreme Court's bluff should be called, and the hypocrisy of the Republican Party should be exposed as it pertains to concerns over equal protection issues and the right to vote, and to have those vote counted. We need a national standard for voting which is fair, accurate, uniform, and free from racial, class, and regional biases.
Bringing Back the Old South?
Voting irregularities were also much higher in African American voting districts, which routinely get the oldest voting machines and paper balloting systems prone to extremely high vote rejection rates (as high as 7%). The NAACP also reported that in some counties, blacks on the way to vote were routinely stopped by police near polling sites.
We call for an end, not just in Florida but nationwide, to cheap and inaccurate punch card balloting and their pregnant chads and dimples, and also elimination of penciled in check box ballots. (In New York, for example, although its voting machines are old, a recount for the entire state can be accomplished in a day, and without manual counting. It is also impossible to vote for two people for the same office.)
Direct Election of the President by the Popular Vote
Having a parlimentary system of proportional representation is also something we need to begin a national dialogue on. Our biggest disappointment with the Green Party during this election was their failure to make this a major campaign issue. Under the current formula, big money will continue to dominate national politics no matter who's in office, and there is no incentive or benefit in building alternative or constituency based political parties. Quite the contrary, Nader's campaign helped put Bush in the White House, which can hardly be expected to raise people's faith in the ability to "fight the power" or find reasonable alternatives to the Democrats and Republicans.
Finally, our country also needs real and substantial campaign finance reform. Never before in history have corporations exerted so much power and influence over politics, government, and the major media. As we have just seen, even the Supreme Court of the nation is not immune to partisan and corporate influence. How to accomplish this is surely a can of worms, but a can that must be opened sooner or later nonetheless.
All content on The New York Slime web site is intended solely as political satire and social commentary, and constitutes protected free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Quotes and circumstances attributed to celebrities and politicians, living or dead, are fictional and strictly for laughs.