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OK, let's face it: We're a banana republic. If the events of the last 10 days had taken place in, say, Iran, we'd all be shaking our heads, going tsk, tsk, and bragging about our own enduring democracy.

Whatever we may have, it sure isn't a democracy. It is, at least as far as electing a president is concerned, a creakily dysfunctional oligarchy, burdened with quaintly archaic laws that exist only because of compromises made centuries before.

Let's examine the real consequences of retaining the Electoral College. It means that presidential candidates ignore most states and concentrate upon selected pods of undecided voters in a few swing states. And although President Bill Clinton may have declared, fatuously enough, that every vote counts, this election proves precisely the opposite.

If you voted for Gore in Colorado, or for Bush in California, your vote didn't count, because the popular majority counts for nothing. All voters may be equal, but, to paraphrase George Orwell, some votes are more equal than others. Forget all the arguments for retaining the Electoral College; every other election in the country is decided by simply counting the votes, and whoever wins, wins. I believe that we call that representative democracy; is that such a difficult concept?

Meanwhile, pols from both camps spent the last week frantically maneuvering for advantage, while piously proclaiming that they only want to achieve a fair and just outcome. Don't hold your breath; after all, fairness and justice are elusive concepts at best.

For proof, just take a look at last week's issue of The Star at your local supermarket, and read the latest O.J. story. Still Dead: Ron & Nicole. Cavorting in a threesome with blonde bimbos: O.J. 'Nuff said.

Caught Ralph Nader's gloating post-election press conference and experienced a curious sense of dj vu.

He seemed oddly familiar: coldly intelligent, contemptuous of his opponents, utterly sure that he holds the moral high ground, a rich guy supposedly championing the cause of the downtrodden, and buoyed by legions of true believers. Took me a while to make the connection: Doug Bruce.

Like Doug, Nader is blind to the damage that his particular ego trip may do to the very causes that he pretends to support. Just as Ross Perot and the Christian Coalition helped elect Clinton, Nader's candidacy elected George W. Poor Ralph; he thinks that his "success" will strengthen the Green Party. In fact, it'll weaken it -- note that Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Pat Robertson are no longer factors at the highest levels of the Republican Party, now comfortably under the thumb of good old-fashioned elitist internationalists.

But while the country may have had a hard time making up its mind, we're pretty decisive here in Colorado. We're for George W. all the way, and here in El Paso County, we still love our hard-right Republicans. We also want to shovel money into the public schools, legalize dope, legalize yet more gambling, and want no part of any stinkin' tax cut. We're even feeling kindly toward Adelphia, and we're positively delighted with the prospect of competition among cable TV providers.

Clearly, the voters are in an antic and irrational mood, which makes me think that maybe I should get back into politics.

Thanks but no thanks; as my pal Kathleen Collins recently reminded me, politics is just show business for ugly people. Besides, the prospect of reporting on next April's City Council elections is far more delightful than the process of actually running for election could ever be.

Given the Colorado Springs' proposed re-districting of the City Council seats -- which would pit incumbent Linda Barley against Sallie Clark -- we can look forward to interesting times. I'd bet on Sallie, but Councilwoman Barley is tough, tenacious and determined. So we can thank City Clerk Kathryn Young for putting these two tigresses in a pit, and letting us watch 'em scrap. And since Councilman Bill Guman and Vice-Mayor Leon Young are term-limited out, we'll have two open seats, and no obvious candidates for either.

What that means is simple; whoever the real estate industry chooses to support -- and finance -- will win. And that will probably mean that, despite the Mayor's brave words on election eve, it'll be business as usual in our sprawling, untidy hick town on steroids.

And what were the Mayor's brave words? She opined that our shiny new comprehensive plan would be even better than Amendment 24 in controlling sprawl. Um, er, Mary Lou, have you not noticed that the city's writ stops at the city limits, and that the county's sprawl is as bad as the city's?


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