As a journalist, I have learned to absorb and analyze events in the
news with little or no emotional reaction. It’s part of this business —
when disturbing, disgusting or horrifying news comes to light, one must
deal with the facts and accurately report them without getting
emotionally affected. There is so much “bad news” in the world that, if
I were to do otherwise, I would likely end up as a resident in one of
those sterile, padded rooms somewhere.
That theoretical paradigm came crashing down Tuesday evening,
however, when I heard about the seven-headed body we call the Florida
Supreme Court writing and enforcing new law from its lofty perch in
Tallahassee. I was forced at that moment to either walk outside and
shout my frustrations at the bats and bears inhabiting the woods where I
live, or perform a cybershuffle from the newsroom here at WND over to
our commentary page to articulate my opinion in a more cogent fashion.
As you can see, I chose the latter.
In its ruling, the court decided to set an arbitrary deadline, Nov.
26, for Florida counties performing hand recounts to submit their
results to the secretary of state. The ruling directly contradicts clear
Florida statute that sets the deadline at seven days after the election
or, in this election year, Nov. 14. I’d like to focus on two of the
court’s comments, as well as a telling statement by Vice President Al
In the public statement released with the court’s decision, the
justices said, “In dealing with similar conflicts in the past, the court
has consistently held that the right of people to cast their vote is the
paramount concern overriding all others.”
OK, what am I missing here? Were the voters of Broward, Miami-Dade
and Palm Beach counties not allowed to “cast their vote”? On the
contrary, voters in those counties not only cast their ballots but had
them counted twice by machine and any number of additional times by
hand. How can the court claim that the people’s “right” to cast their
vote is in jeopardy? These Floridians’ votes, rather, have become
infinitely more important than millions of other Americans’ votes. Their
right to vote was not only exercised, but their ballots have been
elevated to sacred objects, chads and all. A more accurate translation
of the court’s statement: “The court has consistently held that the
right of Supreme Court justices to fabricate perceived violations of the
rights of people is the paramount concern overriding all others.”
The next irksome statement came directly from the
decision. The court said, “Twenty-five years ago, this Court commented that the will of the people, not a hyper-technical reliance upon statutory provisions, should be our guiding principle in election cases.”
Oh, yeah. Why rely on “statutory provisions” — read “rule of law” — when we can just rely on our own common sense? That silly, ol’ legislature didn’t really understand what they were doing in establishing a seven-day deadline. Don’t they know that it takes longer than seven days to shake off enough chads so the good guy wins? Come on!
This gets real scary. When a court, especially a state supreme court, begins disregarding the law, the pillars of this republic begin to crumble under us. One wonders why we even hold elections if seven unelected arbiters are going to circumvent the rule of law. The action the court took was a blow to freedom and the constitutional separation of powers, not only in Florida, but in the entire nation.
The third thing I heard the other night that really chafed me was voiced by the candidate himself, Vice President Al Gore.
“I don’t know whether Governor Bush or I will prevail,” Gore said. “We do know that our democracy is the winner tonight.”
Ever since this electoral nightmare began over two weeks ago, Gore and his minions have been referring to “our democracy” — an outright mischaracterization of this nation’s governmental structure. As any home-schooled sixth-grader can tell you, the United States is not a democracy; it is a representative republic. Yet Gore utters the D-word every chance he gets, and the mainstream media let him get away with it every time.
Before accusing me of frothing about mere semantics, consider the deeper meaning of the vice president’s utterances. Democracy means “majority rule.” That majority rule can, as stated by Walter Williams in
his Nov. 22 column, develop into tyranny. Wrote Williams, “One of the primary dangers of majority rule is that it confers an aura of legitimacy and respectability on acts that would otherwise be deemed tyrannical.”
The local Kiwanis club, when voting for a new president, is a democracy. The United States of America, when voting for a new president, is not. That crucial distinction speaks to the issue Williams and others have addressed ever since Senator-elect Hillary Clinton called for the destruction of the Electoral College. In making her pronouncement, she, too, called this country a democracy. See the significance here? If Hillary and her ilk can eliminate the Electoral College, it will be much easier for her to force her “Democratic” ideals on America as the 44th president.
Gore is no dummy; he’s familiar with this distinction. His continual mis-labeling of our republic demonstrates his desire to empower what James Madison called the “overbearing majority.”
As we sit and watch the seemingly unending drama of this election, I hope and pray that my fears about the rule of law, small “r” republicanism and the broadening of judicial activism will prove to be unfounded. If that is the case and justice prevails, we will definitely have something wonderful for which to give thanks this holiday season.