When I was younger, my mother used to take me to the polls when she went to vote. I was not allowed to watch her vote, but the elections officials always had a voting machine ready for kids, where you could choose between Walter Watermelon and Barbara Banana for president, along with a host of fruits from different parties for other offices. At the time, I did not think it was really that important, although I always happened to be a big watermelon supporter. It was just a vote.
But once I turned 18, and cast my first ballot, I realized how important my vote was. Perhaps it was the fact that the first vote I would cast would be for my mother’s local election. Nevertheless, it seemed to me that voting was something that was almost sacred.
The fact that I could have a role in choosing who would set my taxes, choose where my brother went to school or whether I could be drafted was impressive to me. When I cast that first ballot, I knew my choice, in the end, had to be perfect. I may not have wholeheartedly supported everything that everyone whom I voted for said, but I had to be perfectly comfortable in my heart that I could live with my decisions.
And that is what really troubles and disillusions me about Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s actions this week. Admittedly, I have never been a Bush supporter, but in the end I will respect a fair and honest election. But Bush does not really think that that is necessary.
When Bush was told of possible racial discrimination in voting, he responded that things were better than before; they were good enough. When presented with the possibility that some of his voters may have illegally filled out absentee ballot applications, he told us that it was just a minor transgression; the sanctity of the election was good enough. When asked for a recount, he did not want it. Bush was just fine with the first count because this election did not have to be perfect for him. It just had to be good enough.
I guess I should have seen this coming from Bush. Under his administration, good enough seems to be the standard by which Texas executes people. Never mind inept counsel, Bush believes a trial that was merely good enough should give the state the power to take someone’s life. I know that all the right-wing conspiracy theorists will try to point out that the good enough standard was defined in the Clinton administration. But we are not talking about the best use for a cigar here. We’re talking about an election.
In the end, if Bush gets his way, America will accept good enough as the standard for his election. If he does not get his way, the Florida legislature will deviate a bit from good enough and move toward undemocratic or authoritarian by proclaiming him president without consulting the public. Either way, we will not have elected a president who will try hard or be fantastic for America. We’ll get George W. Bush, just good enough.
-The writer is a junior majoring in international affairs.