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© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000
Re: Electoral College.
I am perplexed by the argument that we need the Electoral College to prevent a small group of large states from ignoring the needs of the smaller states. Perhaps I'm missing something.
Aren't those who vote for the president concerned only with one man? All the other votes they cast are contained within the state where they are cast. They include votes for the governor, for those sent to Washington as senators and representatives and for a myriad of other local issues. All of our national legislation comes out of Congress, developed by representatives of the states. This legislation is concerned only with matters specifically included in our Constitution as being national in scope, whereas all other matters are reserved to the states.
The Electoral College has nothing to do with that. Pork-barrel items that give rise to a lot of discussion are strictly for the benefit of states, e.g., the multitude of projects in West Virginia because of Sen. Robert Byrd and the $50-million or more coming to Florida because of Rep. C.W. Bill Young. Surely these are evidence that state needs are not neglected because of size. These benefits are a function of the seniority and committee membership of the sponsors.
Since the only subject of the Electoral College is the election of the president, it should be eliminated. The presidency is the only office subject to all the voters, and they should be the ones who count. If some diehards protest too much, then compromise on proportional voting in each state.
-- Robert Yerger, Largo
The Electoral College exists for a reason, and that reason is to recognize that this country is made up of 50 individual states. The Electoral College simply preserves some semblance of power for the individual (small in population) states in the election process for the president and vice president.
If people are so concerned about "one person, one vote" (representation of individual power over state power), why aren't they calling for dissolution of the U.S. Senate, which simply preserves a measure of power for the individual states in the legislative branch of government. Fair is fair. Why go halfway?
-- Phil Frasier, Crystal Beach
Re: Bush and Gore should work together to scrap the Electoral College?, Nov. 12
Steven Hill and Rob Richie of the Center for Voting and Democracy wrote, "Imagine if at the conclusion of the Super Bowl or the World Series it was announced that the "winner' didn't really win." By that same analogy it would seem that the football team with the most yards gained and the most first downs would be declared the winner. Nope! The rules say that the team with the most points wins.
In baseball, how often does the team with the most hits and the fewest errors end up on the losing end of the score? There are rules in sports.
There are rules in elections, too, and the Constitution is clear on those rules. The Electoral College has served this nation well for more than 200 years. Let's not second-guess the brilliant men who were the framers of that document.
-- Stanley C. Shaver, Jr., St. Petersburg
This presidential election was outstanding in one respect. It burst Pat Buchanan's bubble.
This perennial loser failed to get even 1 percent of the vote and may think twice before he runs for office again. It's unfortunate that he ruined the Reform Party in the process. He had nothing in common with this party but was just out for the big bucks.
The Republican Party should now do the principled thing and not let him back in.
-- Marvin Katz, Oldsmar
Re: Trust in the democratic system, and it will work, by Philip Gailey, Nov. 12.
Gailey writes that he now feels he may have made a mistake by voting for Al Gore. This comes after your newspaper recommended him for the presidency. Gailey feels his vote was probably a mistake because of the way Gore is handling his challenge of the election results. He doesn't like what he is seeing and hearing from Gore's campaign handlers as to legal challenges that have been threatened and his tampering with the integrity of the election.
All I can say to Gailey is, that by his paper's recommending Gore, he did a great disservice to the people in this area who read the Times. Where was he for the last eight years while the Clinton/Gore administration made a mockery of ethics and the truth? Was he living in a vacuum and just recently emerged to see the real Gore? By ignoring what has gone on for eight years and recommending Gore anyway, he has been a big contributor to this problem.
I wonder how ethical Gailey can be if he can overlook the unethical conduct of the people to whom we trust our country? Ethics and truthfulness do not go out of style. Announcing now that he may have made a mistake undermines his credibility and that of his newspaper and superiors. Most of us already knew he made a mistake.
-- Herbert Malherb, Spring Hill
In the past I haven't hesitated to write scathing letters when I strongly disagreed with any of your editorial positions. However, when your editorial position is one that I completely agree with, and which is eloquently stated, I think it's only fair to write and praise it.
Such was the case with Philip Gailey's Nov. 12 column (Trust in the democratic system, and it will work). Of all the material I've read and heard about our complex presidential election dilemma, I believe his was the best overview presented by anyone in the media.
In my opinion, it was outstanding journalism and a credit to your newspaper.
-- Bill Schwob, Clearwater
Re: Youthful indiscretion follows into adulthood, Nov. 12.
Bill Maxwell does Times readers a great service by informing us of the travesties relating to the 1998 Higher Education Act.
In the alleged interest of promoting education, our young people are sent confusing messages by the government. Occasional marijuana use makes one a "drug addict" requiring state run hospital treatment to be "cured."
Furthermore, the denial of financial aid for having a marijuana arrest promotes the government's message that marijuana use is more heinous than robbery, rape, assault or murder, offenses that would not lead to the refusal of education funds by the government.
As literally millions of our children are dosed daily with Ritalin and other mood-altering substances, as literally millions of our adults consume Prozac and related anti-depressants and as tens of millions of Americans daily indulge in tobacco and alcohol usage, there are still some in our society who seek a "drug free America." Is it any wonder that our young people seem distrustful of adult authority?
The war on drugs and other zero-tolerance policies are literally a war on our own populace, with a resulting perverse focus on minorities and young people.
It's time we truly educate both children and adults about the true consequences relating to both drug use and also drug abuse. Having the government impose artificial and crippling consequences seems hardly like a move toward "higher education."
-- Stephen Heath, Clearwater
Re: Florida once again finds itself blushing before all, by Bill Duryea, Nov. 12.
Bill Duryea's story about Election 2000 in Florida was most interesting. Much of the story was composed of quotations from other writers. Some quotes were serious and some were clever and humorous. One writer, Brian McGrory of the Boston Globe, was particularly nasty in his description of Florida's seniors. In my opinion, McGrory went beyond good taste in decent journalism.
The elderly men and women of Florida and America are largely responsible for people like McGrory having the freedom to spew their venom in the Globe. This older generation of Americans and its allies saved the world from domination by German dictator Adolf Hitler and his Axis partners in World War II. McGrory should be praising and thanking the winners of World War II for the many freedoms and opportunities that he and others enjoy today. This elderly generation, and especially the veterans who fought overseas, paid a huge price for freedom throughout the world.
Apparently Brian McGrory does not know much about history, or he is quick to forget.
-- William A. Crutchfield, New Port Richey