Letters to the EditorDec. 1, 2000
Even in flawed election, following rule of law most important -- not who wins
The editorial board, like the rest of the nation, is I think missing the point. I'm not defending Bush or Gore, not advocating either one of them as president. I think that's a lose-lose situation. Really, the outcome of this 'election' is irrelevant. I can't see either man having a terribly effective stint of leadership following this. Our true concern should not be with the president, but with the precedent.
Gore and the Democrats have obviously gone too far. I do see their point, though. In an election this close, there are clearly some things that warrant scrutiny. But these things that are now suddenly so important happen in every election, and they are not some new malevolent impediment to the will of the people or the integrity of our democracy. I'm sure it would be baffling to know how many 'chads' become 'impregnated' in each election, only to be 'aborted' by forces beyond the control of the voter. It would only be logical to assume that just as many chads for Bush are still clinging to their ballot cards all over the nation.
What this election proves is that our system is flawed. But in order for our electoral system to retain any integrity whatsoever, we must abide by the rules that currently govern it. If Gore is ultimately declared the winner, it will open the door to a flood of challenges and technicalities in almost certainly every ensuing election, and it will give the loser the power, the precedent, to say, 'Democracy hasn't been served until you find a way for me to win.' We might as well not even have statutes if they are meaningless.
America, suddenly under the scrutiny of the world, needs to do the right thing. This issue of who actually 'won' will never be resolved. In order to retain any dignity whatsoever, we must follow the guidelines we have established. When we fail to follow even our own rules, I wouldn't worry too much about other nations not respecting us. It seems we don't even respect ourselves.
I've never written in to comment on the quality of articles presented by The Lariat staff. However, I've seen one too many inaccurate opinion letters in your paper in the past month or so. Wednesday capped it off. With a 5-2 vote, the editorial staff agreed on an article which cited liberal Democratic viewpoints as fact. If you really follow closely the facts presented in this extraordinary election, you can draw some interesting conclusions of your own. However, The Lariat merely reiterated the rhetoric, not facts, presented by the Democratic party.
I somehow swallowed the gross interpretations of Clint Cox all year long, and this article (I don't know if Cox wrote it but I wouldn't be surprised) just put me over the edge.
I'm not sure if The Lariat thinks these writers are qualified or good for the paper because they create controversy or what, but I've talked to many people that have seen the quality of the paper go way down through some of these opinion articles.
I suppose I'll just skip that section of the paper or just not read the paper altogether from now on because the quality really is poor. I'm not trying to bash The Lariat, but the writing really has disappointed me and The Lariat is not at all a respected publication in the BU community. It has lost integrity because of Cox and others.
I am writing this letter in response to Ruben Paul Slater's letter in Wednesday's Lariat. While I am happy to see that the oft-neglected issue of race's influence on politics has finally been acknowledged in this forum, I believe Slater's letter is incoherent, shortsighted and mean-spirited.
He says that 'the common thinking is that you're not truly black unless you vote Democrat,' but I wouldn't be so eager to assert that. I'm black, and I voted for Nader; I did enter a number of vehement debates with people who voted for Gore or Bush, but not once was my 'blackness' questioned. I can also recall an incident during a debate hosted by Delta Sigma Theta, a historically black sorority, in which a black lady in the audience announced that she was a Republican, before asking a College Republican debater a relevant question. Although the audience was predominantly black and Democrat, not one person blinked an eye at her announcement.
Although race does have an influence on politics, it is often superseded by the influence that education has on politics. You can't complain about how many blacks voted for Gore simply because he is a Democrat without acknowledging that many white people voted for Bush simply because he was a 'good ol' boy from West Texas.'
People, regardless of race, cast their votes based on superficial information because of a lack of knowledge about the political process.
At Baylor we are in an environment filled with intellectuals of all colors; we must give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the political decisions our peers make are based on more than race. The fourth paragraph of Slater's letter discusses the reasons why you are referred to as 'The Whitey.' None of these have anything to do with political bias, the issue your letter was supposed to address.
Slater, if your brother chooses to ridicule you because of these things, it indicates a rift between you and your brother, not the entire black community. Racial tension at this university is already high, and the last thing we need is someone casting the entire black race as politically narrow-minded, especially when that someone is a black man who is already well acquainted with being marginalized and stereotyped in a predominantly white environment.