Old election system needs to be changed
This is in response to Leo Harmon's letter of Feb. 18 ("Bush president under rule of law"). The real reason the 2000 presidential election ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court is our antiquated and obsolete institution, the Electoral College. That is why the candidate with the most votes cast for him in this nation did not become the president in 2000. Al Gore had 330,000 more votes cast for him than George Bush. Due to our outdated system, their will was negated by 537 votes from Florida.
The Constitutional Convention originally developed the Electoral College. Direct election, or the popular vote, was ruled out because they feared that citizens lacked sufficient information about candidates from outside their state, and people would naturally vote for a "favorite son" from their own state or region. Thus, the College of Electors was instituted. Each state elected their own electors under their own rules. Prior to the 12th Amendment the electors cast two votes for president, one of which had to be from outside their own state to prevent the 'favorite son' problem. The 12th Amendment was passed after a tie in the 1800 election. George Bush is the fourth president to be elected who did not win the popular vote.
President Bush promised to fix the problems of the Electoral College when he was elected. To date, this has not happened. It is time to eliminate this archaic institution and give every voter a vote that will count. This should be a concern no matter what party you are affiliated with, it could have easily been the other way around. Today's voter is bombarded with information and I doubt that the 'favorite son' concern is still valid, or could change the outcome of an election.
Only then will we be able to prevent the 'stole the White House' arguments. What really scares me is a citizen living in a society based on free speech, who can only threaten to throw up as a response to someone else's free speech. If we don't exercise more tolerance and understanding for the diverse opinions of our populace, and our long-standing traditions of free speech, then the terrorists have already won. It is our diversity and free speech that are our real strengths. That and a vote that counts!
By the way, why speculate that Al Gore would not have been able to rise to the occasion? We will never know. George Bush could barely pronounce commonly used words correctly. Did anyone envision the tragic events of 9/11 when they voted for him? I doubt it. The biggest thing George Bush had going for him was not that he was George Bush, but that he was not Bill Clinton. That is at best poor criteria to cast a vote for what is arguably the world's most powerful position, but then most of us didn't vote for him anyway.