I've been thinking about the 97,000 Floridians who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Wonder how they're coping these days.
Of course they didn't exactly vote for Bush. And they didn't screw up the Gore campaign. And they didn't design Palm Beach County's butterfly ballot. And they didn't knock 50,000-plus mostly African American voters off the rolls.
In the end Al Gore lost Flordia by 527 votes, supposedly. I say supposedly because a statewide all-county recount as mandated under state law was never carried out - so, really, we don't know what the final tally was.
The second priority was the invasion of Iraq. Of course it took three years, a terrorist attack and juiced up intelligence to pull that one off.
Now we have more than 2,037 dead and 17,000-plus wounded American soldiers and between 25,000 and 100,000 dead Iraqis, most of them civilians. And the war drags on even though the administration makes noises about victory as if any day they'll announce Mission Accomplished Again.
We also have a lot of other woes we never thought we'd have. As David Orr writes of the current administration:
[The Republicans under Bush have] chosen to lead by deception, ignore economic reality, refute science when its findings are inconvenient, foster class divisions, snub the poor, vitiate laws and regulations that protect the environment and public health by stealth, destroy venerable alliances, flaunt international law, undermine the foundations of democracy at home, and destroy the capacity of government, painstakingly created over many decades by Republicans and Democrats alike, to solve serious public problems. The Party of Lincoln has become a gang of thieves given to cutting taxes for the wealthy and willing to "do whatever it takes" to stay in power ...That's the government the 2000 election wrought. So, yes, there WAS a difference between Bush and Gore.
By now those 97,000 Green Party voters have scraped their Nader/La Duke stickers off their bumpers. Hell, they've probably gotten rid of the cars.
And I bet if you polled every voter in the hurricane-battered, currently red state of Florida, you wouldnt find more than a few thousand willing to admit they voted for Ralph Nader back in 2000.
But they'll never be able to forget who they are, will they?