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It Was a Tie.

President-elect George W. Bush, as a victor who lost the popular vote and won the presidency with a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, will face a divided nation--a House of Representatives with a razor slim Republican majority, a Senate split 50-50, a judiciary which has revealed deep chasms For other uses, see Chasm (disambiguation).
Chasms is a proprietary emulator for the Sega Master System 8-bit video game console that runs on Windows systems. The primary author is Benjamin Eirich who is also the developer of Verge, an RPG game engine.
 and taken blows to its credibility, and an executive branch struggling with perceptions as to its legitimacy. The electorate itself showed it was almost evenly divided on election day 2000, with millions of citizens feeling deep disappointment and even anger at the result. The racial dimensions of that alienation and disaffection are especially troubling.

It's time It's Time was a successful political campaign run by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) under Gough Whitlam at the 1972 election in Australia. Campaigning on the perceived need for change after 23 years of conservative (Liberal Party of Australia) government, Labor put forward a  to ask what moral and political lessons must be learned from all this. First, the nation's electoral apparatus is terribly flawed, as this closest election in American history has painfully demonstrated. We've fallen well short of the democratic promise of universal suffrage Noun 1. universal suffrage - suffrage for all adults who are not disqualified by the laws of the country
right to vote, suffrage, vote - a legal right guaranteed by the 15th amendment to the US Constitution; guaranteed to women by the 19th amendment; "American
, won through decades of struggle. The religious community should now play a leading role in the call for election reform as a moral issue, as we have so often in the past. From women's suffrage The term women's suffrage refers to an economic and political reform movement aimed at extending suffrage — the right to vote — to women. The movement's origins are usually traced to the United States in the 1820s.  to the civil rights movement, people of faith have often been in the forefront of efforts to expand and extend democracy. The time for a new electoral reform Electoral reform projects seek to change the way that public desires are reflected in elections through electoral systems. Reform projects can include measures designed to reform political parties (typically changes to election laws); to redefine citizen eligibility to vote; to  movement has arrived. What would it take to address the problems we're now aware of? Here's a short list:

Congress should institute minimum and universal national standards for voting equipment, ballot design, and ballot counting. While the battle focused on a few thousand ballots in Florida, some 2 million votes nationwide were not counted for a variety of reasons. Even the majority opinion in the Supreme Court pointedly noted, "After the current counting, it is likely legislative bodies nationwide will examine ways to improve the mechanisms and machinery for voting."

Of particular concern is how these many problems work disproportionately to disenfranchise dis·en·fran·chise  
tr.v. dis·en·fran·chised, dis·en·fran·chis·ing, dis·en·fran·chis·es
To disfranchise.

 voters who are poor and people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color

race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important
. The Washington Post reported that the prevalence of old, dilapidated voting equipment in poor communities nationwide makes black votes three times more likely to be thrown out than white votes. Worse yet are alarming reports of black voters in Florida being intimidated and even obstructed ob·struct  
tr.v. ob·struct·ed, ob·struct·ing, ob·structs
1. To block or fill (a passage) with obstacles or an obstacle. See Synonyms at block.

 from casting their ballots. A Justice Department investigation of these problems has begun and must be completed.

Voter registration Voter registration is the requirement in some democracies for citizens to check in with some central registry before being allowed to vote in elections. An effort to get people to register is known as a voter registration drive. Centralized/compulsory vs.  should be much simpler, and voting itself should be easier by instituting the day off or voting over a weekend as many countries do. And it's time to either reform or abolish the electoral college electoral college, in U.S. government, the body of electors that chooses the president and vice president. The Constitution, in Article 2, Section 1, provides: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, , a vestige vestige /ves·tige/ (ves´tij) the remnant of a structure that functioned in a previous stage of species or individual development.vestig´ial

 of an aristocratic era that must submit to the scrutiny of a more democratic nation. To the extent possible under the First Amendment, there should be restrictions on media projecting results until all polls have closed nationwide. A large part of the confusion election evening was caused by early media "calls" followed by retractions.

And finally, there could be no better time for a bipartisan commitment to eliminate the excessive influence of money in politics. The candidates, political parties, and outside interest groups spent nearly half a billion dollars on the 2000 election. Campaign finance reform Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns.  should be a top priority of the new administration and Congress.

But in addition to these critical questions about the process of American politics, there are even deeper concerns about its content. The election of 2000 must honestly be viewed as a tie--a virtual dead heat, and a rather unenthusiastic one at that. While there are certainly committed partisans on both sides, most Americans were not terribly passionate about their choices this year. Many voters were undecided until the very end, many more spoke in "lesser of evils" language, and most wondered if this was really the best America had to offer.

Simply put, the two traditional political options in America (Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative) have failed to capture the imagination, commitment, or trust of a majority of people in this country. Neither has found ways to solve our deepest and most entrenched en·trench   also in·trench
v. en·trenched, en·trench·ing, en·trench·es
1. To provide with a trench, especially for the purpose of fortifying or defending.

 social problems. Record prosperity hasn't cured child poverty. Family breakdown is occurring across all class and racial lines. Public education remains a disaster for millions of families. Millions more still don't have health insurance or can't find affordable housing, while our popular culture becomes more and more polluted pol·lute  
tr.v. pol·lut·ed, pol·lut·ing, pol·lutes
1. To make unfit for or harmful to living things, especially by the addition of waste matter. See Synonyms at contaminate.

 by debased de·base  
tr.v. de·based, de·bas·ing, de·bas·es
To lower in character, quality, or value; degrade. See Synonyms at adulterate, corrupt, degrade.

[de- + base2.
 and violent "entertainment." The political Right and Left continue at war with each other, but the truth is that it is these ideological false choices themselves that have run their course and become dysfunctional.

AMERICA'S POLITICAL TIE calls for a new "moral politics" that won't simplistically argue between personal and social responsibility, but instead will weave them both together in a search for common ground. It won't assign all the answers to the government, the market, or the churches and charities but will patiently and creatively forge new civic partnerships where everyone does their share and everybody does what they do best. It won't debate whether our strategies should be cultural, political, or economic but will show how they must be all three, guided by a moral compass.

Finally, a new politics won't be led just by elected officials, lawyers, and their financial backers. Look for community organizers, social entrepreneurs A social entrepreneur is an entrepreneur who works to increase social capital, often by founding humanitarian organizations. Historical examples of leading social entrepreneurs
  • Susan B. Anthony (U.S.
, nonprofit organizations Nonprofit Organization

An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.

Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools.
, and faith-based communities to help show the way forward. Pay particular attention to a whole generation of young people forged in community service. They may be cynical about politics but are vitally concerned with public life. The politics we need now will arise more from building social and spiritual movements than merely lobbying at party conventions. And ultimately it will influence the parties, as successful movements always do.

The new president and Congress face a historic challenge. But I believe the nation's political tie might be a moment of opportunity. It shows the old options and debates have created a deadlock. This very crisis could open the way for some new and creative thinking and organizing, and that could be very good news indeed. Our political leaders must now learn that the way to reach common ground is to move to higher ground. And we citizens should start by showing them that way.

The "New" Sojourners

The new Sojourners magazine Sojourners Magazine, a monthly publication of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, was first published in 1971 under the original title of The Post-American. The offices of the magazine are in Washington D.C. and the ISSN of the publication is 0364-2097.  will seek to serve that movement for a new moral politics in America. We hope you like the streamlined and simplified format, the rich colors and whiter paper, and the easier-to-read pages. The new logo will make clear on the nation's newsstands what Sojourners magazine is all about--Faith, Politics, and Culture.

We like the new Sojourners very much and hope you will too. We want to reach out to many new people with a cleaner, clearer, and more compelling publication. And we especially want to reach a new generation of young people who are motivated by their faith. Sojourners has always been home to Christian activists trying put their faith into practice. Now a new generation of faith-based activists wants to make Sojourners their home too. I've been talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 many of them about their lives, their hopes, and our collective future. We've been doing "movement talk," and their perspectives will increasingly shape the future of this magazine.

Sojourners is 30 years old. Our first issue came out in the fall of 1971, when a number of us were seminary students in Chicago. For three decades we've been engaging biblical faith with our lives and the world. It's been an incredible journey. Both the churches and the society are more open to the message of faith in action than any time in these 30 years. We're going to use the celebration of our 30th year to take the message both wider and deeper.

This issue is a re-launch of Sojourners. While we will continue to build on our 30-year tradition, you will see lots of new things in the magazine this year. So if you currently read and don't subscribe, now is a good time to do so. Make your re-subscription a 30th anniversary birthday gift to Sojourners and the opportunity to get re-connected. Sojourners 30th anniversary celebration is our chance to say thank-you to all the people who have been a part of the wide and extended Sojourners community, and an occasion to ask ourselves what the next steps should be. Join us.

Jim Wallis The Reverend Jim Wallis (b. June 4 1948, Detroit, Michigan) is an Evangelical Christian writer and political activist, best known as the founder and editor of Sojourners Magazine and of the Washington, D.C.-based Christian community of the same name.  is editor-in-chief of Sojourners.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Sojourners
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:2000 presidential election
Author:Wallis, Jim
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Previous Article:LETTERS.
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