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November 9, 2000
An American Coup d'Etat? What Can Be Done

America is the birthplace of modern democracy. We have been its defender and its beacon for more than two centuries, despite our shortcomings.

We are now faced with the prospect of having the popular will of the American electorate thwarted under the most suspicious of circumstances.

The first popular-vote loser in all our life times is about to be ushered into the White House on the basis of highly questionable election results in his brother's state, while the media pundits urge the Democrats to do "what's good for the country" and step aside.

At this moment of extraordinary crisis, there's much that can be done and much that must be done.

First, it must be made clear to the Democrats that this isn't "their" election to give away. It's ours.

Al Gore said if the American people voted for him, he would fight for us every day and never let us down. The American people did vote for him, giving him a clear plurality of the vote. The people now must tell the vice president that we expect him to live up to his part of the bargain.

Second, the media pundits must be shown that this is not a story that they can control and contain. They will frame this remarkable moment in history as something the nation must move past -- and quickly. The pundits will say it's time to get on with the transition of power back to the Bush family.

Only visible evidence of clear American refusal to acquiesce will give the pundits pause.

Third, there seems no hope that a pro forma recount will correct the errors in the Florida balloting. Only a re-vote will give the voters of Florida back their democratic rights.

If the Florida authorities refuse, the next demand could be for George W. Bush to withdraw for the good of the country. After all, his candidacy was rejected by the people of this nation and his elevation to the presidency under these suspicious circumstances would tarnish his family's name for all time.

This is a rare and truly historic moment. It is a moment when Americans can renew their commitment to democracy -- or watch the Republic sink to depths we have never seen before.

We are not helpless peasants. We don't have to watch George W. Bush's coronation parade pass by to the White House -- even though we, as a nation, voted for someone else.

Editors of

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