chapter  10
25 Pages

The Way Forward: Not by Widgets Alone

On Tuesday November 7, 2000, over 100 million Americans tried to participate in the democratic process. The outcome of the presidential election would affect the future of their country for the next four years. Would it be the Republican candidate George W. Bush, the Democrat AI Gore, the Green Party nominee Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan (who ran as an independent)? Eventually, everything boiled down to the outcome in Florida. Whoever won that state would become the forty-third president of the United States of America. The last final tally (there were several) showed that Bush beat out Gore in Florida, but only by the slimmest of margins - 2,912,790 votes compared to 2,912,253; the difference was a mere 537 votes, or 0.0092 per cent of the total vote in Florida.l If the Florida contest had been a marathon race run at world-record pace, then Bush would have beaten Gore by a split second. But as many of us learned after a month of media coverage about hanging chads, dimpled chads, pregnant chads, hand recounts, machine recounts, butterfly ballots and Supreme Court decisions, this was not just your run-of-the-mill close election.