What Happened? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     There was a time when America was seen as the best place to live. It was the example for the rest of the world because it was run by people who knew what they were doing. America was considered a democratic place where everyone was treated fairly.

What happened?

I’ll tell you, as best as I can. America was open in 1999, or as open as we could be. We didn’t think that the next eight years could be as messed up as they turned out to be. We didn’t have any reason to think they would. We witnessed an amazing president, Bill Clinton, run America so well that by the end of his presidency, we had a huge federal surplus. We were finally in the black! But then 2000 rolled around, and with it, two candidates for Clinton’s job: George W. Bush and Al Gore. These men rose above their competitors to be household names. Everyone knew that in November voters would chose between Bush and Gore. (Though some would choose Ralph Nader, but that’s another story.)

What happened?

When a media crew from one television station at voting areas polled voters asking whom they voted for, “Al Gore” was the most common reply. So, that station predicted who would win and aired that Al Gore was the winner. But he didn’t win. George W. Bush did.

What happened?

Before I go into that, let me ask you a question. Have you ever wanted to win? Have you ever wanted to win so badly that you cheated? How many people started to ask you questions? Now, while that may not seem like such a big deal during a game of cards, imagine if that game of cards determined who was going to ... oh, I don’t know ... run a country. Would you still cheat? The Republican Party would have said no, but that’s exactly what I think they did.

What happened?

Al Gore was all set to be president. He had won the popular vote in the most populated states, thereby receiving more electoral votes. But then Florida came into play. You see, Florida’s governor was none other than Jeb Bush, George’s brother. And before the election, Jeb promised that he’d get Florida for George. And, by golly, that’s what happened! But not fairly. No, I think they cheated, and it all came down to Jeb, Katherine Harris, the head of Florida’s Department of Elections, and a company called DBT (Database Technologies).

You see, the Florida Department of Elections had taken out a $4 million contract with DBT to eliminate “felons” from the voter rolls. The company was supposed to compile a list, and then check it. Well, DBT made the list of supposed felons, but when it was checked, an overwhelming majority of those on the list were not, in any way, felons. So, DBT went back and made another list, one that had even more names of supposed felons. And when this list was later checked, it too was mostly wrong. And most of the “felons” were black and Democrats.

Not only that, but there were voting machines in Dade County, Florida, that read the ballots incorrectly - almost every single one. Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush’s Secretary of State, made sure that these ballots were not counted by hand. She stopped anyone from recounting the ballots and thereby cost Al Gore even more votes. In another Florida county, the voting machines were also on the fritz and many ballots weren’t counted. That cost Al Gore hundreds of votes he couldn’t afford to lose. Amazingly, Al Gore lost Florida by only 537 votes. That shows how many people actually did vote for him.

So, what happened? Here’s what I think.

Al Gore “won” the presidency, and yet George W. Bush sits in the White House. He started a war that is completely unnecessary, thousands have died, many living in America have become outraged at the government, and America has become the laughing stock of the world. No longer does America look like a paradise to escape to. No longer does America set the example for the rest of the world. No longer do Americans seem just and democratic. No, on January 20th, 2001, with the inauguration of George W. Bush, we the people were cheated.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Sunshine said...
Nov. 17, 2008 at 3:07 pm
Nice Article! This was oughta sight! Well done!
 
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