by Timothy Rollins
In what seems to be a case of making one excuse after another, there seems to be a growing number of people in Palm Beach County, Florida that are blaming Theresa LePore, the woman who designed the Palm Beach County butterfly ballot for costing Al Gore the Presidency of the United States.
Spare me the psychobabble please! LePore, a Democrat, designed the ballot for the benefit of the large concentration of elderly voters and retirees living in the area. Both Democrats and Republicans alike approved the ballot design; in addition, the design was published in the paper for everyone to get an advance look and make comments on before it was implemented. Looking at the ballot, there are large arrows that go from the candidates name to the hole they are supposed to punch through and if they used the punch stick and followed the arrow to the hole, they would punch the right hole. Its as simple as that. But no, there are those who are trying to blame LePore for their own stupidity because they either punched the wrong hole or because they punched more than one hole in the category, thus invalidating their vote.
I lived in Utah in 1980 when I went to cast my first presidential vote; the candidates were Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. They had the butterfly ballot in use at the time there and I had no problem using it at all. Even with my glasses off, I was able to see clearly what hole to punch. But these people in Palm Beach County want to blame someone else for their screw-up, and LePore seems to be the target of choice.
Mob mentalities can get downright ugly, and this case was by no means an exception. LePore got loads of hate mail and telephone calls, many of them obscene. She is often called a racist or is told, Give truth a chance. The fact is that if truth were given a chance, the Florida Supremes would have ordered a hand recount in all 67 Florida counties and the results would have tipped the popular vote in Florida in favor of George W. Bush, despite whatever claims the Gore team may have tried to tell the world.
This is one of the reasons that America is not a democracy as so many of the either ignorant or misinformed would like to think. Yes, we are a nation that exercises democratic principles, but as a nation, we are a representative constitutional republic. When asked by a woman in the infancy of our nation what we had, Benjamin Franklin replied, You have a republic madam - if you can keep it. In a republic such as ours, we have elected officials who go to Washington and take care of the nations business. We expect them to use good judgment and wisdom as they do so, and if we dont like the way they are doing their jobs, we vote them out of office when their term expires and send them packing and replace them with someone who we believe will do the job better. That is how a republic works, and that is the beauty of a system that has not only endured, but also flourished for almost 225 years. It is also what makes us the envy of the world even today.
The sad thing about this whole thing is the way Theresa LePore has been savaged by both the media and the locals who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. LePore has lost over 20 pounds since this all began and has acknowledged that prayer has been a big help to her in all of this.
Like Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, Theresa LePore should be commended for being en elected official that exhibits that rare quality found in all too few elected officials: having the courage to stand up to the bullies in the media and the chicken littles who carp on her for doing what the people of Palm Beach County expect her to do - her job.
We can use a lot more people Theresa LePore. ***
© 2001 Timothy Rollins