From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 14 - 11/30/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Old-Fashioned Political Discourse

by Bobbi Wade

My husband and I took off for a long overdue mini-vacation after we voted in Big Piney on Election Day. We headed south to see some new country, specifically the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks in Utah. The landscapes there are awesome and the country is big enough to take your breath away for a brief moment. We traveled up the Colorado River and into the state of Colorado to Grand Junction and over to Rifle to begin our journey north back to home turf. Of course, we hit icy roads and a major snowstorm just inside the Wyoming border. It was a memorable trip in more ways than one.

When we retired for the evenings, our attention was drawn to the endless talk on every news station on the cable channels regarding the election that wouldn't end. We agreed with a few and disagreed with most of the media commentators and we shouted at the television when obviously stupid comments came out of their mouths. It was an opposite experience to the serene and quiet days we spent out in the vast quiet and grandeur of the country by day.

I noticed a strange, yet marvelous phenomenon going on in public though. Wherever we ate meals or checked into motels, everyone was talking about the election. A breakfast waitress in Moab basically told us whom she voted for when she said, "They should just give it to Gore and get it over with." The desk clerks at the motel in Rifle, Colorado and I talked for ten minutes about the entire scenario and the owner came in and joined the discussion, all while my hungry husband sat in the car waiting for me to get the room key so we could go eat. In Craig, Colorado, we sought out and discovered the favorite locals' breakfast coffee shop. The old mens' morning coffee club and the last nights' waitresses' table were all cussin' and discussin' the twists, turns and absurdity of the whole election affair.

My observations told me that most people (except for the Moab waitress) felt that Bush had won and that Gore was a sore loser. Everyone had an opinion and people would talk to complete strangers about what it all meant for the country and the office of president. One thing everyone seemed to agree on was that the television media are a bunch of self-serving liberals who are more concerned with who gets the news out first, instead of getting it right. People were really outraged that the major news networks called the election before the polls were all closed and then, when they realized their "mistake", how they just swept their irresponsible actions under the rug.

All the discourse by the "talking heads" who can get a gig on a news program to give us their cosmic wisdom on how this narrow election and the subsequent litigation are harming the country is just a lot of lip-flapping. There are a lot of things that have been done since the day after the election in the name of "the democratic process" that I think are wrong and have been done improperly. But only in the United States of America are we free to carry on these discussions with each other without fear of retribution and to challenge the system without raising our own army to force someone to listen to us. No matter which political camp we join up with, we are free to stand outside the state legislative offices and protest against the process or the politics of the other side without any real fear of being gunned down or hauled off to a backward jail just for shooting off our mouths. The process for electing our president, as is laid out in the Constitution, is in motion, albeit with a few detours, but nonetheless it is working the way it is supposed to.

Democracy is not perfect and no one ever said it would be pretty, but it works. The country still has a sitting president in power and though it may take a little longer and be a little messy, a new president will take office on time and in accordance with the laws of the land. The transition will be relatively uneventful and the USA will not miss a beat. It is all part of the grand design given to us by the Founding Fathers in the form of the Constitution and we should be more thankful than ever that they were so smart and wary of a central government, especially in light of this presidential election drama. Folk, aren't we lucky this isn't Yugoslavia?

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