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Dear Mr. Melvin:


It is my understanding that, upon being told of the dissatisfaction of the American people regarding the political process that has selected our next leader, you expressed an interest in knowing who these Americans were.


Apparently, the popular vote is a concept with which you are not familiar.  The term 'popular' in this case is not used in the colloquial 'high school' sense, as you might have incorrectly assumed, but rather is an adjective, which means "of the people."  I am attaching here a more complete definition, to assist you in our discussion:


pop*u*lar (adjective)

[Latin popularis, from populus the people, a people]

First appeared 1548

 1 : of or relating to the general public

 2 : suitable to the majority: as

   a : adapted to or indicative of the understanding and taste of the majority

   b : suited to the means of the majority : INEXPENSIVE

 3 : frequently encountered or widely accepted

 4 : commonly liked or approved


You may have incorrectly assumed that the word 'popular' was being used in this case to mean 'commonly liked or approved.'  While that is also true, that is not what 'popular' strictly means, when discussing the term 'popular vote.'


In the case of the term 'popular vote,' 'popular' is used to denote 'of the people.'  So, to put it all together for you, 'popular vote' means 'vote of the people'!


See how simple it is?


Next, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the popular vote (the vote 'of the people') was won by Al Gore.  The final vote in the 2000 General Presidential Election is:


BUSH  50,456,169

GORE  50,996,116


I do not expect you to, nor should you, take my word on this matter.  A well-known American media company, of which you may be unaware, CNN (Cable News Network), has posted these numbers on their website. 


Since you have an e-mail address, I am assuming that you, or someone you know, has a computer.  If they also have Internet access (this is a service that allows a computer to access the World Wide Web, also called 'the Internet'), you can verify this information independently, by going to the following Internet address:


Next, if you, or someone you know, has access to (and knows how to use) a calculator, you can confirm that Al Gore won the popular vote (the 'vote of the people,' remember?) by 539,947 votes.  To confirm this, subtract the little number (BUSH  50,456,169) from the big number (GORE  50,996,116).


See?  The result you get is 539,947, just as I said it would be!


See how simple it is?


In case you didn't know, 539,947 are more than one half of one million (one million = 1,000,000).


I understand that numbers and math are difficult for some people to understand, so I hope this simplification will help you in our discussion.


Next, I would like to discuss the term "the American people."  While this term can be used to mean 'all Americans', here it is used to mean "Americans who voted in the 2000 General Presidential Election."


Generally, in a democracy, the people who vote in elections choose the leaders of the government.


In the case of this most recent election, the people who voted in the election chose Al Gore!


See how simple it is?


So, when someone says that the American people are not satisfied with the leader that our political process has selected, what they mean is that the popular vote (the vote 'of the people') did not select our next leader.  Instead, a political process selected our next leader.


You see, America is not now, nor has it ever been, a democracy.


This is a more complicated discussion, so you might want to prepare yourself by reading some of the media coverage that followed the November General Election, before we continue delve into those deeper issues.


Until then, let me just draw your attention to a few more quick points.


Most Americans want their country to have democratically elected leaders -- to have 'We the People' select our political leaders.  This has been the case for quite some time (over 50 years).


Instead, we have, despite the wishes of the people, a political process that selects our leaders.


The political process that currently selects our leaders almost always selects the same candidate to lead as the popular vote (the vote 'of the people') selects.


On a very few occasions, however, this is not the case because of something called ‘The Electoral College’.


This is a system, currently in place, which causes some peoples' votes to count more than other peoples' votes.  Most Americans do not approve of this system, and would like to see it abolished (done away with).


To confirm that what I am saying is true, you can use the Internet (the computer access to information that I talked about earlier) to go to the following address:


This is a report by the Gallup Organization.  Have you ever heard of the Gallup Poll?  Well, this is the company that conducts those polls! 


See how simple it is?


This company, in that report, says:


"There is little question that the American public would prefer to dismantle the Electoral College system, and go to a direct popular vote for the presidency. In Gallup polls that stretch back over 50 years, a majority of Americans have continually expressed support for the notion of an official amendment of the U.S. Constitution that would allow for direct election of the president."


I know what you are thinking.  Because you are under the false impression that the American people are satisfied with the leader selected by this process (George W. Bush), you are probably thinking, "Well, that may have been true in the past, but it isn't true now."


If you will look closely at the report, though, you will see that as recently as the middle of last month (December 15-17, after Al Gore conceded, and people knew that their next leader would be George W. Bush), most Americans still wanted the system abolished, even though it would mean amending the United States Constitution.


In case you weren't aware of it, The United States Constitution is a very old and revered document that forms the basis of our national government.  It is a very serious thing to amend this document, and the American people are generally reluctant to do so.  But not in this case.  In this case, the American people DO want the Constitution amended.


I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking that surveys have a "margin of error" (a margin of scientific uncertainty as to the results), and that these results must lie within that margin of error.  Not true.  In this case, the margin of error is only 3%.  This means that, in the worst case scenario (the one that would shift the results most in favor of your argument), a majority of the people still want to amend the Constitution, and abolish the electoral college, by a margin of 56% to 40%, instead of the survey's actual results, which were 59% to 37%.


See how simple it is?


Now, I know in your e-mail that you asked to know who the people are who are dissatisfied with the political process that has selected our next leader.  I am sorry that I cannot provide you with all their names.  I cannot, because we have something in this country called the ‘secret ballot.’  What this means is, you cannot know who voted for whom.


I can however, tell you on my honor, that I personally am one of the people are who are dissatisfied with the political process that has selected our next leader. 


I am one of “We the People.”


Though I was not aware that there was a need to claim membership in this group in writing, I am grateful that you have called my attention to the oversight, so that I may correct it.


Again, I say, I am personally a member of "We the People."


Should you require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me directly, either by phone, mail, e-mail, or (if it is more pleasing to you aesthetically and philosophically) carrier pigeon.


I would be more than happy to acquaint you with others who feel precisely the way I do, to assist you in the process of broadening your understanding of this issue.




The Diva