May the ballots speak for themselves
November 1, 2004
Regardless of the outcome of today’s election for president, the winner needs to pull together a polarized nation and refocus the attention of Americans on problem-solving, instead of finger-pointing.
Candidates and political-action groups spent an almost incomprehensible $1.5 billion on the campaign for the country’s highest office. So much of it has been divisive and misleading, one might think voters across the United States would be turning away in droves from the negativity.
Yet just the opposite is happening. More than 143 million people are expected to cast ballots in this election – some 12 million of them for the first time. Is this a validation of big-money, attack-style campaign tactics?
It’s not. The interest in today’s election is being generated by one thing – the significance of the choice facing Americans in the direction they want to go in the next four years.
That’s why we have been disappointed in the level of discourse. It needed to reach a level to match the expectations of a nation of voters bent on choosing a leader. Instead, it too often reached new lows.
Because of the unstatesmanlike tenor of much of the campaign, the potential will be high that a deep rift will remain in this country, no matter who is elected. One way to start to bridge the gap, as columnist Joseph Perkins suggested on these pages, is for George Bush and John Kerry to pledge to accept the results.
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No lawyers. No court battles. No appeals.
A repeat of 2000’s protracted legal battle would deal a heavy blow to the trust the American public has in the integrity of the election process.
As close and contentious as this election may be, may the ballots speak for themselves.