When I was in the 11th Grade an election was held in our great country that many told me would be the most important election of my life. Though it seems that all elections are the most important of your life when they roll around, some do hold more weight than others, and so it came to pass in the election of the year 2000 a man named George W. Bush was elected to the Presidency of these United States. Now, some people contest the validity of this election because of the circumstances under which Mr. Bush was elected to the office as the 43rd President.
We are all familiar with the story so I’ll gloss it over. Vice President Al Gore and Governor George W. Bush were all but tied in the election with only the electoral votes of Florida standing between one of those men and the highest office in the land (if not the world). There were technical difficulties with the ballots, thousands of votes went uncounted The whole affair was mismanaged and ran way past election day as the day of President Clinton’s vacating the Oval Office loomed high without an heir apparent. Dubious goings on occurred perpetrated by roving gangs of Republicans and Democrats as if they were some absurd parody of “The Warriors” while the State of Florida scrambled to count (or not count) many of the votes for certification. Did I mention that the Governor of the state of Florida at the time was George W. Bush’s brother, Jeb Bush? Suffice it to say, conspiracy theories upon conspiracy theories were proposed and live on to this day but it mattered little because in the end the Supreme Court stepped in and made the decision to certify the electoral votes to Mr. Bush, but a majority provided by…well…George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush’s father when he was president. Further, the decision of the court was a one-time-only deal, should the tie ever occur like that again that ruling did not create precedence in law and the Supreme court would have to meet again.
The conspiracy theories grew further from there. Many were obsessed with the fact that Al Gore took the popular vote even though Bush took the electoral vote (which had happened in other elections—its kind of the point of the electoral college, actually). People still carry the torch of the 2000 election to this day, claiming that George W. Bush stole the presidency, that he was an illegitimate president, and that he was placed in his position by a vast and wide conspiracy of shadowy and powerful people that the public either didn’t care to, or couldn’t acknowledge. Regardless of this, George W. Bush won re-election in 2004 without any truly alarming stunts despite low approval ratings and scores of angry democrats, and a media that purportedly treated him unfairly, with bias, and vitriolic venom. And in fairness, he was dealt with harshly by, at least, the popular youth culture. The popular opinion was that President G.W. Bush was unintelligent, a good ol’ boy, a disconnected millionaire, a right-wing Christian “nut job”, a corporate shill, and an international cowboy, running roughshod over borders and treaties. I’ll leave the disparity between truth and hyperbole for another day, but I will say that not even a cartoon character could have been 100% of all of those things at the same time…but I wasn’t then and am not now a Bushy.