This paper is in response to a conversation about voting in my son’s Visual Arts class that climaxed with the teacher saying that the only reason that President Bush won the 2000 election in
I wish to say here that any teacher has the right to own her or his opinion. We all have that right, you, me, anyone. However, one cannot own his or her own facts. And this is where the teacher may have crossed the line when she said (mind you I am going off what my son told me, as I was not there in the classroom at the time), “the only reason Bush won…”, you see, this goes beyond opinion within the realm of impressionable seventh-graders. Unchallenged in this environment, teachers in many classrooms in this valley and elsewhere get away with bringing a point of view that is unfounded by the facts of a reasonable investigation of “what did happen” in
I will use a partial excerpt from a paper I wrote to my son’s sixth-grade computer teacher (who was really a parent volunteer). Obviously this incomplete outlook on the election is widespread enough for me to respond to it almost every year since. I will explain some of the reasoning behind this apparent acceptance of something so easily explained away once the panorama of facts about the Florida recount are brought together rather than isolated, such as in Fahrenheit 911.
Recount ~ The Skinny
Eight counties were recounting ballots in
… last week I went to visit the professor at C.O.C. to give him a paper I wrote for his amusement, when I walked in the classroom the students were discussing the fact that President Bush went before the 911 Commission with Dick Cheney, one girl asked if Cheney had to hold Bush’s hand – sarcastically of course. Another student mentioned that Bush was not under oath or in a public setting for his hearing. I asked to interject; the professor gave me the green light, so I mentioned that President Clinton was not under oath, nor was his hearing public, and that he took along Bruce Lindsey and Sandy Burger. I then turned to the girl and asked if Bruce had one hand while
Another student blurted out that Bush stole the election in the
This answers one aspect of the problem in regards to what would have happened. However, I want to explain why
The real problem lies in
These voters who were told that
In fact, no news organization put
Again, though, even with all the above put aside, Bush won all the recounts, and the New York Times simply states that if the recount was allowed to continue by the U. S. Supreme Court that Bush would have been the clear winner.
Why The Bad Call?
Part of the miscall in the 2000 election can be tied directly to the early miscall in the 2004 election, in way of example. “Exit Polling” is the main culprit in this aspect of the problem. MSNBC and FOXNews had computer models of who was winning this time around that included the Exit Polling information. This skewed the election as going strongly to John Kerry. In fact, Kerry was gearing his thinking to a win. However, when MSNBC, FOXNews, ABC, CBS, and the like, dropped the Exit Polling info from their computer models half-way through the day, Bush surged about 5-percentage points.
These statistics were even worse during the 2000 election, allowing for the early and thus incorrect call for
5 to 4, or 7 to 9
Some are under the impression that the U.S. Supreme Court was split on the final decision along party divisions that had the five “conservative” Judges voting along demagogic lines for Bush, and the four “liberal” Judges for Gore. This is in fact untrue. On the heart of the case (that is, equal protection for the voter as well as for Bush and Gore) the U.S. Supreme Court was almost unanimous. A seven/two split! The most liberal Supreme Court Judge agreeing that the eight differing standards in what is and is not acceptable for a Gore/Bush ballot allocation shouldn’t be allowed to continue.
These seven Judges took into consideration the Constitutional aspects of the problem, as well as the Florida Constitution’s limitations to time in regards to a recount. All seven agreed that there was insufficient time to bring a fair and homologous procedure to all these eight (and possibly more) counties.
So why all the “hub bub, bub?” Partisan politics, period! I can speak from experience, using in fact, an example from my own past. When
While space here is limited to the subject at hand, that is, the
Near the beginning of Fahrenheit 911 we are shown a newspaper headline that states Gore won one of the recounts in
What it was, was a letter to the editor from a reader of a newspaper who wrote in responding to the recounts all going Bush’s way. This person was a private citizen whose letter was placed in the “Letters to the Editor” section of the opinion part of the newspaper. What Moore did was take this column-and-a-half letter to the editor, expand and enlarge the headline to stretch across the entire top of the “page,” even going so far as changing the font, and then spreading out and enlarging the letter portion to more columns, thus making it look like a newspaper headline. In other words, Michael Moore used deception to tweak information to legitimize his view that Gore won the election. Which ALL investigations have shown to be false.
And I do mean all. For instance, all the examples of people being stopped from voting by force in
One story still mentioned by partisans today, and mentioned by
In fact, the possible irony of all this is that most likely, taking into consideration the racial population in the area where this crime was committed, and that a disproportionate number of crimes committed by said racial group that populates this area of Florida all point to the disenfranchisement of these minority voters by a fellow minority resident. Irony at its best… if proven true that is.
So the point of this long, drawn-out response to a statement made as a fact in my son’s seventh-grade Visual Arts class, is this:
When statements like these are made as de-facto-truth – de-facto because when the teacher is in a position of authority over these malleable young minds and are given the benefit of the doubt by the students thinking that these adults have researched what they state as fact within the realm of the classroom in a fashion deserving that of an adult mind – when in fact they are easily dismissed as “other-than,” then we as parents must not allow such misstatements to be made without challenge.
The matter of who won the
While a parent has the right to engender whatever they wish with their own children, the teacher must be diligent to keep such misgivings about such matters to themselves and their own children, teachers lounge, or wherever such opinions are relevant or warranted. I am not angered by such an opinion stated within the classroom, in fact, I have come to expect it. I only wish that the teacher[s] understand that when they speak on such matters, that they do so in a manner that engenders our sons and daughters understanding of government, rather than the political opinions of said teacher[s].
I hope to hear back from the school on this matter. I also invite those teachers on the Heart Team who enjoy political discussion as much as I do to feel free to open up lines of communication with me. I don’t bite. Sometimes within the limited time people have and the demographic they find themselves in, their opinions are passed unchallenged or without taking into consideration another point of view. I understand this.
“Thank You! ~ Much Thought, Sean G”
Thank you for you patience in reading this parent’s rebuttal and concern about something said in the classroom. I hope this letter will engender positive discussion among the teachers on my son’s team, and a greater understanding of an excitable topic.
 In fact, there is no newspaper headline in the entire
 My e-mail address is at the top of the page. I will discuss these matters as I have here: in a calm, logical manner that takes the sociological extremisms (e.g., The Clinton Chronicles on one side versus Fahrenheit 911 on the other) from both sides into consideration. For instance: in a recent poll, 29% of Democrats polled believe Bush stole the 2004 election. No evidence of foul play, just paranoia that any sociologist could do a doctoral thesis on.