"The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like
breakfast cereal -- you can gather votes like box tops-is, I think, the
ultimate indignity to the democratic process." Adlai Stevenson 18 Aug.
1956, at Democratic National Convention.
Election years bring out the best and the worst in Americans and Adlai
has certainly described the worst. But they are exciting times, too,
and they are a vital part of our heritage. So here are a few thoughts
in the weeks before the election:
For eight years I have admired the Vice President, a highly intelligent,
dignified man who sat quietly at the table of power and took an active
part in the administration of the country. Now I find from reading
and listening to the media that he is not dignified, but stuffy, he
wears starched shirts, his suits are the wrong color, he raises his
eyebrows when he disagrees with something and he was only a journalist
in Vietnam. All those things, they say, are questionable in a
presidential candidate. On the other hand we have the governor of Texas
who has trouble speaking the English language, is not quite sure which
country is on which continent, never even saw Vietnam and admits to drug
use in his early youth. It has become a campaign of style over
substance. One of my friends watched debates with the sound off to get
used to seeing Dubya's face in case she has to look at it for the next
I really don't care what they did -- within reason -- when they were
young and silly. I do care about their brains and maturity and
experience as adult men. One pollster, desperately hunting for a new
angle, asked a cross section of men what kind of a car each of the
candidates would be. The men said Gore would be a Volvo and Bush a
Mustang convertible. For fun, I'd rather have the Mustang, but for a
President, I'll take the Volvo. So here is one vote for Al Gore.
With the violently partisan and belligerent Congress we have, however,
they won't get much done anyway except appoint Supreme Court Justices.
This is really a judicial election as much as a presidential one -- and
a vitally important one.
There are a lot of strong women running for Congress, but I don't get to
vote for any of them. We need a lot more than nine women in the Senate
and there are several women who have a very good chance of adding to
that number. I wish I could vote for Hillary in New York. I am still
planning to live to see a woman President.
In Colorado there is a lot more excitement over the amendments than the
presidential election. They do affect us more immediately and more
directly. We all got the little blue book in the mail, the one that
analyzes each proposed amendment and referendum. It is pretty heavy
reading, but we do owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to read it and
make an informed decisions. I still have three to go.
Then on a local political level of sorts there is the granite tablet
with the Ten Commandments carved on it which is sitting glumly at the
side of the new City Hall. Since church and state have two very
different functions in our lives (at least in mine), and since their
separation was decreed by the constitution the tablet should not be
there on city land. The First Methodist Church has graciously offered
to put it on their property on the corner which is less than a block
north of its present location. That would certainly be more
appropriate and the tablet would actually be more visible. The guys
that offered to buy the six square feet it now sits on could buy a few
beers with the money they save and not look quite so foolish.
In two more weeks the election will be over and life will settle down
again into some sort of rational patter - or will it? In any case, the
Republic will survive some way for another four years. The sun will