Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Arms and the President

Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Arms and the President

Article excerpt

Although the party oracles wailed about divisiveness in the nation, the Bush-Gore race has had much to offer the American people. Families have begun talking together around the kitchen table. Kids have discovered something besides the funnies in the newspapers. Even television is offering honest-to-goodness news analysis, and I haven't seen that--apart from the TV news magazines--since the Gulf War ended.

Cartoonists and late-night comics haven't had so much fun since President Clinton's impeachment. The cartoon I enjoyed the most wasn't even published in a newspaper or magazine--at least, not initially--and it made its creator an instant celebrity. You may have seen it. It's the one of a modified butterfly ballot with an arrow connecting Bush's name on the top left to a voting button on the top right, and arrows from all the other candidates' names running through a rat's nest before connecting presumably with appropriate buttons elsewhere on the ballot. The creator, who is not a cartoonist but just a clever guy, emailed the drawing to a few friends. They forwarded it to other friends. Within days, the drawing appeared on T-shirts from Bakersfield to Bangladesh.

We can be most thankful that while we've been the butt of jokes around the world, there have been no killings, no violence--well, no serious violence, anyway. There has been only rhetoric. Other nations--especially those that have tolerated our oversight of their elections--have laughed at us, but they've grudgingly had to admit that the democratic process does work here. …

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