Re: [steiner]AT LAST!!!!!!!!!!
- ******** This election was a referendum by the American people on whether they support President Bush in counterattacking against Islamic fundamentalism. Now they can be no mistake about how Americans feel.
As reported in the media throughout the day, the election fared well for the Republican party but was hardly a referendum by the "majority" of Americans since the majority of the voters stayed away from the polls. Commentators pointed out that apathy and long felt cynicism created the greatest number of non voters in 42 years. That over 50% of the voting public refused to participate is telling of a deeper malaise in our system (and it wasn't due to lack of political will- just hopelessness and futility that things will remain the same no matter who is in office.
*******Interestingly, I just heard this very line of reasoning convincingly debunked by a political commentator, just before I opened up this letter. (I love synchronicities.) She pointed out that people tend to vote when they're really upset about something and/or when they're worried that something the government might do would have a bad effect on them. The American political system of checks and balances was created to sharply limit the power of government, so that people wouldn't have to worry about a European-style tyrant taking over, and could go about freely living their lives and producing... which is how we became the economic giant we are. So, most of the time people can ignore a government if it's a sharply limited one. It can't do much damage to them. Low voter turnout is a sign that people aren't that concerned, and that the government isn't much of a danger.
The founding fathers were very well aware of the madness of crowds and how irrational the masses can be, and didn't want anything like the participation of every single person; they knew that, as Aristotle said (and as the French Revolution proved again), democracy always degenerates into tyranny. They created a republican form of government, not a democracy. If you read the Federalist papers, you'll find that they put in their checks and balances to keep some demagogue from being able to sway the masses into the very kinds of things that the Russians did.
Of course this is usually taught today with no understanding of the political reasons. When young people find out that originally in America owning property was a requirement for being able to vote, it's very easy for some leftist professor to encourage them to think this shows class bias and tyranny of the rich. Actually the reason for this requirement was that many people were sharecroppers, farming land owned by someone else, and, since votes were counted in ballot boxes on each large estate, the owner could tell how his employees voted, and so anyone who didn't own his land could be forced to vote a certain way by the person he was beholden to, under threat of being kicked off his land.
Moreover, you're wrong when you say that voter turnout is declining; it was estimated at 39 percent of all the eligible voters yesterday, where it was 36 percent in 1986 and 1990. Check the statistics. And that is a percentage of all the "eligible" voters, which is a little deceptive, since it includes everybody over 18 who can breathe. Many of those people are listed as "eligible" but have never had the slightest bit of interest in doing so, or in many cases would not even know how to, or understand what they were participating in if they did---people with mental illness, alcoholic homeless people, etc. (And that's not even to speak of the the fact that a large number of these people don't even exist, as I know from participation in the 1990 and 2000 Censuses: they're fictitious residents that are counted just for purposes of receiving more federal money.)
A general rule of thumb among poll inspectors is that about half the people who supposedly could register to vote do so, and about half of those who register actually will vote. A little bit more in presidential years, less in off years. So 39 percent is pretty good for an off-year.
So there is no basis for ascribing motives to the 60 percent of allegedly 'eligible' voters for not voting, as if they were doing so intentionally and you could interpret what their intention was and the supposed 'message' it is sending.
But since the Democratic Party, which has blocked the creation of a Homeland Security Department and is against war with Iraq, made this election a referendum on President Bush -- -- -- targeting his brother in Florida, targeting the races in Texas -- -- -- the fact that a large number of voters came out and voted AGAINST Democratic candidates and in support of President Bush, definitely does send a message that is not just an imagined one. If people were against the idea of war with Iraq, they would have voted for the candidates against it. They didn't. If people were concerned that what President Bush wants to do was dangerous, they would have supported his opposition. They didn't. If they hadn't wanted the Senate to agree with the president, they would have voted for Democratic Senatorial candidates. They didn't. Instead they handed the Senate to the president's party.
Liberal Democrats may misinterpret the election results, but I'll bet Saddam Hussein knows exactly what they mean.