Portrait of a Country on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
With only nine days to go and the polls showing Bush and Kerry still neck and neck, the result is once again likely to turn on the minutiae of the voting system. But this time the whole country seems poised to descend into post-election chaos. Andrew Gumbel reports on the traumatizing effects of this bitter campaign and how, as the world's most powerful democracy talks of exporting freedom to Iraq, it is at risk of becoming an object of international ridicule
by Andrew Gumbel
No need to wonder if this year's US presidential election is headed for another meltdown: the meltdown has already started. The voting machines have already begun to break down, accusations of systematic voter suppression and fraud are rampant, and lawyers fully armed and ready with an intimate knowledge of the nation's byzantine election laws have flocked to court to cry foul in half a dozen states.
Nine days out from election day, we don't yet know whether the state-by-state arithmetic will lead to a post-election stalemate similar to the 36-day battle for Florida in 2000. It is, of course, possible that the margins of victory in the 50 states will be wide enough to avert the worst - even if overall conditions are likely to fall short of the usual definition of a free and fair election.
Given the nail-bitingly close numbers in the opinion polls, however, Election 2004 could just as easily produce a concatenation of knockdown, drag-out fights in several states at once, making the débâcle in Florida four years ago look, in retrospect, like the constitutional equivalent of a vicarage tea party.
Politics turns ugly as activists lash out
By Dennis Welch, Tribune
Moments before President Bush and Sen. John Kerry stepped onto the world stage at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe for their final debate, a group of young Republicans clashed with protesters voicing their discontent with the administration.
The hostile confrontation occurred about 6:15 p.m. at the end of a protest march organized by the Oct. 13 Alliance, a coalition of divergent political groups ranging from antiwar and anticapitalist demonstrators to gay rights organizations.
Organizers had just called the march a success when a small group of college students waving signs and wearing stickers supporting Bush walked by.
What started as a political debate quickly escalated into a shouting match as supporters of the president started chanting, “You don’t belong here” and “Go home, faggots.
LGBTA rally promotes Coming Out Day
By Meaghan Haugh
Collegian Staff Writer
Chants of "We are ... Penn State. We are ... not straight" were heard as more than 100 people dressed in rainbow threads came out to share a voice in National Coming Out Day Friday