The Tortured Tale of Hanging Chads
In the first week after the U.S. presidential elections, we've received more than 1,200 letters on the post-election drama. One reader observed, "Clunky old voting machines that break down must make way for a more modern approach." But others saw the situation's positive side. "This should definitely raise America's political IQ," wrote one. "If democracy is the opposite of apathy," declared another optimistic reader, "then let's rejoice in the banter, the debating, the shouting and the emotion."
The Wait for the White House
I got your Nov. 20 Election Special Issue, "The Winner Is... ," in the mail today and I can't put it down. Bravo. I've spent countless hours in front of the TV following this still-undecided presidential race, watching the twists and turns it keeps taking. But the stories in your issue are fresh and engaging. It's like I'm reading something that was written this morning. Good stuff. Thanks. Now I've got to get back to reading the magazine.
Bay City, Michigan
Instead of "The Winner Is... ," the cover line on your Nov. 20 election issue should have read "The Whiner Is..." Presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore have acted more like spoiled, peevish children than like true statesmen, displaying behavior that has become an embarrassment to our country's proud political heritage.
Kenneth L. Zimmerman
Huntington Beach, California
Your Special Election Issue brings two words to mind right away: great cover!
San Diego, California
Congratulations on an excellent election issue and on the stories tracing how the candidates entered the race for president and ran their campaigns. The material only confirmed the ravenous hunger for the presidency manifested by Al Gore in his willingness to alter his personality and mien in- stantaneously if it could garner votes. The Republican effort seemed to center on the desires of a group of power- hungry super-annuated individuals (all of the elder Bush's former advisers) to regain the perks of power and privilege by training and sponsoring an inflatable dummy. The tragedy of this election is not the struggle for the presidency, but the fact that the richest and most powerful country on earth could not come up with better choices for leadership.
The American people have spoken, and despite the utter bewilderment of politicians and pundits alike, they have spoken loud and clear. We, the collective voice of the electorate, have no overwhelming desire for either party to carry out its political agenda. We've had enough of agendas and ideologies. We want no experiments, fixes, "improvements" or "bright ideas." No tinkering with government programs that currently work, if only imperfectly. No posturing, promises or partisanship. No politics as usual. We want the two major parties to settle their differences and, if necessary, to make a deal. To rule by consensus. To form a "caretaker government" in the European style. We want an end to the paralysis caused by the electoral impasse. In short, we just want to get on with our lives.
St. David, Arizona
As an African, I'm amazed to learn that Americans, whom we considered to be well educated and intelligent, could be confused by a ballot paper. The implication is that the responsibility of choosing the world's most powerful leader rests on voters who cannot even interpret the position of an arrow or a punch hole. How well, then, do they understand the issues they are supposed to base their decision on? If, after several centuries, this is the state of democracy in the most advanced country in the world, I can understand why it does not succeed in Africa.
Erasmia, South Africa
I was astounded to hear that thousands of voters in Palm Beach County were deprived of their right to choose the president of the United States because they inadvertently voted for more than one candidate. …