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    Letters to the Editors

    Let's think about what is in the national interest

    © St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2000


    Whatever happened to good old-fashioned "for the good of the country" politics.

    With all the controversy over this election, the thing that saddens me the most is the articles I have read about what will happen in Washington once the final decision has been made.

    It seems that the Democrats and the Republicans have become like two enemy camps warring against each other. So it really disturbs me to think that our representatives in Washington would carry a grudge and make life miserable for our next president. This seems to be more the behavior of a spoiled child and not that of the mature adults chosen to represent us.

    I would like to implore all Americans to get behind our next president and move on to the more important issues that concern the well-being of the people of this great land of ours.

    Let's get back to bipartisan politics for the good of the country.
    -- Clare Larsen, St. Pete Beach

    Winning will be a losing proposition

    There is still no winner in the recent presidential election, however, there most assuredly will be a loser.

    The "winner" of the 2000 presidential election will in all probability prove to be the loser, in the long run of American politics. Because of the asinine conduct of both candidates -- and their respective campaign organizations and political advisers -- the gentleman who is inaugurated in January faces the unenviable task of assuming the office of the presidency with virtually a full 50 per cent of the American public in opposition to him.

    Should George W. Bush become our next president, he steps into office facing the wrath of a disillusioned and embittered American public, following a closely contested election in which he failed to garner the majority of the country's popular vote.

    Should Al Gore become our next president, he faces an even greater challenge: trying to enforce policy and decisionmaking against a hostile Senate and House of Representatives controlled by his political adversary's party.

    Neither candidate faces a realistic chance for re-election in 2004, based on the nearly 50-50 split of the popular vote in an election that is quickly proving to be the most controversial and unpopular in our great nation's history. The presidency is all about putting our nation's interest first, ahead of self or personal aggrandizement. Neither man has demonstrated this to the American people.

    A wise, old professor of political science once told me that "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Remembering these words, I sincerely hope that as the recount of votes continues here in Florida, that the candidate I voted for is NOT elected. I shall look forward to seeing him succeed in 2004.
    -- Jim Stroup, Port Richey

    Election will be resolved peacefully

    In regards to this contentious election, I would like to remind some of the countries of the world with their snide newspaper headlines, that this election will be resolved with ballots and not bullets. The rule of law will prevail.

    Also, if I may, I would like to invoke those immortal words spoken by that great American philosopher, Yogi Berra, when he remarked, "It ain't over 'til it's over."
    -- Michael LoPresti, Beverly Hills

    GOP's distance serves Harris

    Re: State GOP turns back on Harris, Nov. 16.

    The perceived turn of the back by the state GOP is probably the best thing that could happen to Katherine Harris, Florida's secretary of state. The most important thing that Harris can do is keep herself insulated from political pressure from the GOP. She has to concentrate on the law of Florida and should not even give the perception of being swayed by what the GOP wants.

    I consider it a strong testament to her courage and fortitude that she is not caving in to the pressure being placed on her by the Democratic Party special interest groups.
    -- Richard Kohls, Pinellas Park

    Who could replace Harris?

    Re: The presidential fight to the end, by Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, and Confidence lost, editorial, Nov. 16.

    The column and the editorial use either the term "recuse" or "disqualify" in referring to Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and her decision to not accept amendments to the votes certified by four South Florida counties. She was supported by the remainder of the Election Board and the three lawyers with her.

    Question: Who would take her place and make a decision on the amendments? Another Republican? That would have been as unacceptable to you as was Harris. A Democrat? That would have been acceptable to you and the Gore campaign, but it would only further the ploy started by the Gore campaign in selecting counties with a heavy Democratic concentration and with only a hint of misadventure in the voting process.

    Harris used her discretion in believing that the counties' reasons did not measure up. Only by allowing Democrats to succeed would it have been acceptable to the Times and the voters of those counties. Who could take her place?
    -- Ed Barto, Seminole

    Hypocrisy and conflicts

    The decision by Secretary of State Katherine Harris on the hand recounts is the epitome of political conflict of interest. And the attitude of George W. Bush on the matter is hypocritical.

    In view of her total campaign involvement, Harris should have excused herself from being a part of a decision that affects the entire voting populace, regardless of party, in the state of Florida.

    And the idea that Bush, who voiced such strong support for hand recounts in Texas by signing them into law in 1997 and citing the inaccuracies and unreliabilities of the voting machine, is hypocrisy of the highest level.

    He campaigned on putting trust in people and not in the federal government, and now he talks about his trust in the machine and not in the people doing the recounts, where representatives of both parties would be scrutinizing the process. He also preaches the right to life, for which I am a supporter, but on the other hand is willing to let a person with an IQ of 56 be executed in Texas. Heaven help us when this hypocrite takes office.
    -- Bruno L. Kearns, New Port Richey

    GOP abandons moral high ground

    After eight years occupying the pedestal representing the "high moral ground," the Republicans have abandoned that stance in favor of "catch whatever votes you can and declare the election count completed" -- as if wishing would make it so.
    -- Roberta Poellein, St. Petersburg

    Gore started this mess

    Re: Florida needs leader, but all it has is Harris, Nov. 5.

    I see Mary Jo Melone did not waste any time in trashing Katherine Harris, our secretary of state. Melone seems to have forgotten that this whole mess was initiated by Al Gore. I realize that an accurate count is paramount. But in this case, after two counts and after the absentee ballots are counted, we should know who our next president will be.

    Now Melone indicates Harris lacks statesmanship since she did not take action immediately. What that action should have been, Melone does not indicate. Meanwhile Gore descends on Palm Beach with a legal army and proceeds to make fools of Florida residents. I suppose these actions would be considered worthy of a statesman by Melone's standards.

    This is truly a sad time for Florida and the nation: We are reluctant to follow the rule of law when that law does not coincide with our wishes. We are indicating that some of our voters are inept and we need to interpret for them what they meant when they voted. Has anyone seen us seniors fill a lottery ticket? If we care enough not to make a mistake on a lottery card we should care enough to make sure that we cast a vote for the candidate of our choice.

    Gore has indicated that this election is quite an educational situation for our children and I agree. We tell our children to take responsibility and accept the consequences of their decisions and actions: Gore's message is that when we do not get what we want, it is okay to make pathetic excuses, create chaos and circumvent the law, as long as we get our way.

    Melone would do us all a favor if, instead of being so critical and obviously partisan, she would join in supporting our elected officials in the hope that some of them would have enough guts to make the right decision and follow the law.
    -- Tina Parziale, Spring Hill

    Translation help needed

    Re: The election fracas.

    Could you please tell me where I can obtain a copy of the Democrat to English translation dictionary, so that I too may reinterpret the U.S. Constitution, Florida Constitution, Florida statutes and judges' orders?
    -- Terry Arnold, St. Petersburg

    Count all the votes

    Why wouldn't the Republicans want to give Florida all the time it needs for a recount? Why would George W. Bush want the presidency without being certain he won it?

    If every vote counts, then every vote should be counted, no matter how long it takes. Why does Florida still have such antiquated ways of voting? At least the state should have a uniform way of voting and not separate counties with different ballots.

    Somebody better get with it, before the next election.
    -- Ethel W. Chase, St. Petersburg

    Chicago's votes weren't decisive in '60

    Re: Gore should accept the results, letter, Nov. 11.

    In referring to the 1960 presidential race, the letter writer states that Chicago "gave the state and the election to Jack Kennedy" (italics mine).

    The presidential election of 1960 gave Richard M. Nixon 219 electoral votes and John F. Kennedy 303, with Illinois' 26 electoral votes in Kennedy's total. A change in the Chicago popular vote count could have switched the Illinois vote from Kennedy to Nixon, giving Nixon 245 and Kennedy 277. However, the 277 electoral votes for Kennedy would have still been enough to elect him to the presidency. The Chicago vote did count in determining Illinois' electoral vote, but it did not alone give the election to John F. Kennedy.
    -- John D. Lucasse, Brooksville

    Fowl play

    This election has been for the birds. Figure it out: The Electoral College has gone the way of the dodo and proved that it's extinct. We have a lame duck as a president, a secretary of state in Florida who is a silly goose, two birds with ruffled feathers fighting over the gilded cage, Floridians with egg on their faces and vultures from both parties hovering for the kill.

    No matter who wins, he will be a dead duck when it comes to passing legislation. And he'll smell like a rotten egg.
    -- Susan Hammar, Largo

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    They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible.

    Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

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