Thursday, November 09, 2000

A nation divided

Keep lawyers out of process

        According to legend, the town of Show Low, Ariz., got its name from a poker game that settled a close contest for mayor.

        In those days, they let chance pick a winner to avoid drawing a pair of sixes made by Colt.

        Cutting the cards has a certain honorable finality that will look like a miracle of noble statesmanship if lawyers are allowed to turn our presidential election into a cross between the O.J. Simpson trial and impeachment.

        The Teflon-tongued litigators are already muttering about “contesting” the result — whatever it is.

        The startling pause between voting and results has left the lid open on the black box where losers are supposed to lock away their bitterness and resentment before the sun rises.

        If a parliament of lawyers descends on Florida, and scours every precinct for “irregularities,” we could be headed into unexplored areas off the edge of the map, where the Constitution no longer shows the right road to take.

        One look at the election shows a nation that is divided, as far apart as east is from west.

        This election is like a chisel blow that has split us into opposing camps. Passions are high, and the temptation will be strong for the losers to overturn the game board.

        If either candidate refuses to accept the Florida recount, we're headed for a showdown that could cripple the legitimacy of the next president.

        They knew better in Show Low, or it would probably be named Law Suit.

        Peter Bronson is editor of the Enquirer's editorial page.


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- BRONSON: A nation divided
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