Dartboard

The editors take aim at the good, the bad and the ugly.

Gore’s Moral Choice: Politics or Justice?

On Nov. 12, 2001, America finally discovered the results of the Nov. 7, 2000 election. The National Opinion Research Center (NORC), funded by a consortium of news organizations, conclusively found that had the votes been counted by the standards that former Vice President Al Gore ’69 desired, he would have lost the election.

Dartboard was very disappointed to hear this. An ardent Gore supporter throughout the election, Dartboard would have been the first to attack the Supreme Court, the Florida ballot, and then-candidate Bush. But upon reading further, Dartboard discovered that all parties, including Gore, were at fault for dismissing justice in the interest of politics. Why?

NORC also found that had all the ballots across the state been recounted, not just the four Democratic counties Gore wanted, Gore would have emerged as president. In fact, in any of seven different standards, including the most restrictive—the fully punched ballot—Gore would have won by at least 100 votes.

So why is the loss Gore’s fault too? It seems like he won the election, right? Maybe so, but Gore should be criticized for running his recount campaign with a complete disregard for the American citizen. Instead of striving for true justice—the accurate counting of every American’s vote—he chose to play politics and requested the unfair recounting of only the areas that he thought would help him win.

The true moral position, the true patriotic position, would have been to recount all votes fairly and accurately so that all Floridians would have had their voices heard. No one chose to support this position—not Gore, not Bush, not the Supreme Court.

The real lesson of Election 2000 is that legitimate outcomes can only result from striving for true justice and fairness based on our principles of equality. Gore, Bush, both campaigns, the Court, and much of the American public chose to play politics instead of respect true justice, and consequently they deprived themselves of the freedom with which they were endowed 225 years ago.

—GANESH N. SITARAMAN

A Whole New Meaning of ‘Open Borders’

Dartboard was shocked to learn from a recent New York Times article that when the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) arrests people trying to enter the country illegally, those people are often allowed to stay.

Michael A. Pearson, a senior INS official, testified to Congress on Tuesday that, of the 12,338 people detained along the nation’s northern border this past year, only two-thirds voluntarily chose to return home. One would assume that the rest of the undocumented immigrants were not allowed to enter the U.S.

But amazingly, if these people didn’t feel like heading home just yet, the INS was only too eager to oblige. It actually allows undocumented immigrants to enter the country, as long as they pledge to leave within 30 days. Even worse, Pearson admitted that the agency has no way of checking whether or not the 4,400 people admitted in this fashion along the Canadian border last year actually left after 30 days.

Senator Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) pointed out the obvious, asking Pearson, “If there’s no system for checking if the individual has actually left in the 30 days as promised, isn’t it likely they are not leaving?”

“That could certainly be the case,” Pearson replied.

Dartboard would be the last to advocate restricting legal immigration or reducing visas. But it seems counterintuitive to knowingly allow illegal immigrants to enter the country. Dartboard can only wonder whether a conversation between an INS official and an illegal immigrant would sound something like this:

INS: “Are you willing to return to your home country voluntarily?”

Immigrant: “What happens if I say no?”

INS: “You get to stay in the U.S. for 30 days, and no one will ever check to see that you leave.”

Immigrant: “Score!”

—David M. DeBartolo

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