The 2000 Presidential Election Is Like the Vietnam War

The 2000 presidential election is the first between two members of the Vietnam War Damaged Generation. Bush avoided the war, like many American men his age, by going into the National Guard. Gore, whose father was an anti-war senator from the Volunteer State, went into the Army as a journalist to help his father's 1970 re-election chances as much as to maintain his own political viability.

In November1964, Lyndon Baines Johnson won the biggest popular vote landslide in history on the platform of "no wider war" in Vietnam. He said, "We're not going to send American boys 8,000 miles to do what Asian boys should be doing for themselves."

In the final days before his nomination in Atlantic City, Johnson asked Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, in response to alleged attacks on American destroyers operating off the coast of North Vietnam.

Within a year, Johnson was using the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as a declaration of war. In February, he started Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing of North Vietnam. And in July, he started pouring in ground troops.

The American people voted for peace in 1964 and within a year got a war.

In 2000, the American people went to the polls to elect Al Gore, but because the voting system is so inaccurate and confusing, because George W. Bush is a gangster, and because Al Gore is an incompetent fool, the electorate is going to get the candidate they rejected at the polls. Just as the American people voted for peace in 1964 and got war, so they voted for Gore in 2000 and may well get Bush.

The post-voting contest for the electors resembles Vietnam also. In Vietnam, no matter how many battles were won or lost by either side, the loser never conceded defeat. As a result, the war went on and on, damaging both sides more and more. The same thing is true in the 2000 presidential election.

The problem is that the Republican Party believes in the rule of law. Not justice, not truth, but law. The law is not always a reflection of reality. Science and technology are better indicators of truth than the law.

Election results are the DNA of political science. All elections have their own internal consistency. The split between the popular and electoral vote is a sign of error, especially given the situation in Florida. When the Supreme Court is using the law, and a leading candidate for president goes into federal court, to prevent the counting of the votes, to allege that machines must be more trustworthy than humans and we must blindly accept the result without human verification; this is the political equivalent of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Using something technically to accomplish a purpose for which it was not intended.

Ironically, it was the Republicans in Congress who passed a law to prevent the use of statistical methodology to correct the census. Only manual enumerations would do. But when it comes to election matters where their own candidate's future is at stake, suddenly machines and methodology are more reliable than humans.

The purpose of election codes and procedures is to secure the will of the voters in the selection of public officials. Because the legal system is precedent bound, and because a huge number of voters and lawyers see the U.S. Constitution as a religious document, to be worshiped and followed to the letter without regard for the consequences or the scientific and technical context in which it operates, the lawyers and the two parties are trying to make the American people accept a result they rejected at the polls. That is why the election is dragging on and on.

This, too, is a lot like the Vietnam War. Having been imposed on the American people without their knowledge and consent, the Vietnam War spawned a decade of civil unrest, demonstrations, and a Democratic Party Nominating Convention in Chicago in 1968 that is still memorable for its violence.

The election of George W. Bush to the presidency of the last remaining superpower is going to be a disaster. The Supreme Court decisions which are forcing this result are the equivalent of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolutions. But the incompetence and partisanship of Al Gore which enabled him to let an election he won slip from his hands is nothing less than criminal. Like the Vietnam War, it is the lives of innocent victims that will suffer from the fraud and collusion the Republican and Democratic Parties perpetrated on the people in the election of 2000.

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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf