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GLOBAL CITIZEN: Still Without a Mandate

I will never believe he won. I'll always think he got a minority of both the popular and the electoral vote. To me he'll always be President-Under-False-Pretense.
 
 
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I will never believe he won. I'll always think he got a minority of both the popular and the electoral vote. To me he'll always be President-Under-False-Pretense.

Well, but you know, the Rs would feel the same way if a few hundred Florida votes had tipped the other way. Only worse. If the tables were turned, the Rs would be whipping up their talk radio attack dogs, organizing more threatening mobs, turning over rocks looking for grounds for the next impeachment. At least for the next four years we will be relieved of that kind of bitterness. Whatever their faults, the Ds lose more politely than the Rs do.

But a president who knows and cares so little! Who spent more hours working out and playing video games than being governor of Texas! Who has no idea what it's like to lead a non-privileged life! Who never accomplished anything without the help of his dad and his dad's rich friends!

Great country, isn't it? Anyone with the right dad or friends can become president. Anyway, he's not running the country alone. Colin Powell will probably be a good Secretary of State.

But that James Watt clone as Secretary of Interior! A property rights activist in charge of the national lands! Oil and mining companies come right on in, drill anywhere, dump your toxic mine tailings. Property rights means you have all the private rights you want to public property. So long wilderness, hello clearcuts and overgrazing and snowmobiles all over the national parks!

Oh, come on, calm down. We survived James Watt. We'll survive this. Think how it will invigorate the enviro groups.

But W. is acting like he has some kind of a mandate, for Pete's sake! He claims the nation actually asked for that tax cut that will favor the rich and bring back the deficits! And for turning Social Security over to the stock market casino! And for the end of the inheritance tax! If he'd been forthright about his platform of helping the rich get richer, this would not have been a close election and he would not be able to pretend he won.

Well, but 50 million people did vote for him. Right, I know, 50 million voted for Gore too. So hey, be thankful for checks and balances. W. will never get everything he asks for. He may not get anything he asks for.

But the Supremes, the Supremes!. They hijacked the election on the most flimsy and inconsistent legal grounds. Now the Rs are in a position to stuff the Court with more crooked politicos like that. So long civil rights, farewell to legal abortion, good-bye to what remains of our already shredded ideal of equal justice under the law! Don't be so melodramatic. The Ds occupy half the Senate. They can block any court nomination they want to.

They won't. They're so darn polite.

They're not brain dead. They're the loyal opposition. That's how democracy works. If you're in the minority, you don't roll over, you go on making your case as persuasively as you can, under the assumption that if it's a good case, eventually it will prevail. I no longer believe that assumption. The majority of people are not in favor of ripping off the national lands, or weakening control on tobacco or guns or pollution, or building up the rights of corporations at the expense of the rights of citizens. W. never admitted he would do those things. Not only did he win on false pretenses, he ran on false pretenses.

But everyone who was paying attention knew what the R's real agenda is. Not enough people pay attention. And they're brainwashed by the sappy campaign ads and the jiggered debates and the phony conventions, all of which serve to hide real agendas.

Hey, I thought you voted for Nader. So what are you complaining about? This outcome was your fault. I could get furious with you about that.

Why get furious at a person who votes for the policies she deeply believes in -- single-payer health insurance and strong environmental protection and an end to corporate welfare and no more overexpensive useless weapons and controls on global corporatization -- policies you believe in too -- and that, polls show, most Americans believe in, only they never heard anyone defend them publicly, because neither of the big-party candidates dared ...

OK, OK, OK, enough, I've heard that rant.

But the point of it -- OK here's the point -- the point is, this political system sucks. The issues and concerns of the people are squeezed out by the issues and concerns of the centralized money-makers. The country runs on money-making at the expense of all other purposes and values.

So, Republican John McCain, with the moderate Rs and virtually all the Ds, is ready to ram campaign reform down W's throat and at least get the soft money corruption out of politics.

Now there's an issue where I can whip up some enthusiasm for national unity!

Donella Meadows is an adjunct professor at Dartmouth College and director of the Sustainability Institute in Hartland, Vermont. See www.sustainer.org