Comparing our troubles to theirs

Reader Eliezer Barzilai wrote:

Many Americans were horrified by our Supreme Court’s transparently politically motivated decision in the presidential election.

It was the Florida Supreme Court, attempting to throw the election to Al Gore, that made a blatantly political decision–to recount the votes (a third time) even though the Forida state deadline for doing so had passed. The US Supreme Court merely upheld Florida’s law and determined that the Florida Supreme Court had overstepped its bounds. Several US Supreme Court Justices who are generally considered to be on the liberal side of the spectrum concurred in that opinion.

Myth has it that if the recount had been allowed to continue, Gore would have won. The NY Times and the Miami Herald (both of which endorsed Gore) conducted an exhaustive recount, at a cost of many thousands of dollars, extending over a period of several months. They issued a detailed, five-part report, which took up the entire front page of the Herald for five days in a row, as well as many inside pages. I know because I live in Florida and I get the Herald, and I read that entire report.

The NY Times report concluded that Bush won Florida by a comfortable margin. It was not close.

After the report ran, it was never mentioned again by the Times, the Herald or any other mainstream media. Had the report found what they expected to find–that Gore really had won the Florida vote–the report would have received extensive nation-wide coverage and would be quoted on a daily basis to this day.

Our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael are experiencing harrowing times, and we ought not compare our own troubles to theirs. Having a Republican president is hardly the equivalent, on the scale of suffering, to having your home, your job, your children’s schools, your shul and your neighborhood all taken away from you by police and soldiers, at gunpoint.

BTW I do not know, from a policy point of view, whether withdrawal from Gaza is ultimately wise or not. I think probably not, but I don’t know. But the way the residents of Gaza are being treated is a horror and a scandal. No Jew living a cushy life in the fleshpots of America has a right to compare his suffering to theirs, just because Bush’s Texas accent gets on his nerves.

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2 comments to Comparing our troubles to theirs

  • Eliezer Barzilai

    So that’s what it feels like to get a potch from the rebbe.

    I learned once that my sympathy for an arthritis sufferer increased when I bumped my knee. My pain was an inconvenience, while my mother’s was like a 24 hour root canal. But the physical experience enabled a great deal more empathy. My remark was an attempt to remind people how they felt upon first hearing of the court’s decision. Whether the decision was based on the law or expedience, the feeling of having been mistreated by the people to whom you look for protection generates a particular churning or twisting sensation that is uniquely distressing, like the loss of innocence. Now that they know the feeling, imagine what it is to experience it a hundredfold.

  • Sholom Simon

    Your post is wrong on so many counts, I don’t know where to begin — but nevertheless feel compelled to correct the record.

    1. The US Supreme Court merely upheld Florida’s law and determined that the Florida Supreme Court had overstepped its bounds. Several US Supreme Court Justices who are generally considered to be on the liberal side of the spectrum concurred in that opinion.

    That is not what the Sup Ct “merely” did. Read the decision. It invented new federalism standards out of whole cloth — to such an extreme that even the writers of the majority opinion said that the case shouldn’t be used as a precedentn for anything. Furthermore, it was 5-4 — so who, pray tell, are the “several” justices who are considered to be liberal that concurred?

    2. Myth has it that if the recount had been allowed to continue, Gore would have won. The NY Times and the Miami Herald (both of which endorsed Gore) conducted an exhaustive recount, at a cost of many thousands of dollars, extending over a period of several months. They issued a detailed, five-part report, which took up the entire front page of the Herald for five days in a row, as well as many inside pages. I know because I live in Florida and I get the Herald, and I read that entire report. The NY Times report concluded that Bush won Florida by a comfortable margin. It was not close.

    Not exactly. See the results at http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/fl – under articles. There were nine hypothetical recount scenarios. The three recounts that had been most widely discussed during the battle of Florida, including the partial recount requested by the Gore campaign and two interpretations of the Florida Supreme Court order, would have given the vote to Bush. But the six hypothetical manual recounts that would have covered the whole state – including both loose and strict standards – would have given the election to Gore. And other evidence makes it clear that many intended votes for Gore were frustrated.

    3. After the report ran, it was never mentioned again by the Times, the Herald or any other mainstream media. Had the report found what they expected to find—that Gore really had won the Florida vote—the report would have received extensive nation-wide coverage and would be quoted on a daily basis to this day.

    Funny — many come to the opposite conclusion. That Gore really should have one, but in an attempt to put it behind us, particularly after 9/11, it’s been ignored.

    Toby — you cited the recount study yourself. Now why don’t you read it and see what’s there?