Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Sludge Report #44 – A Test Of Faith

In this edition: Chinese Wisdom – A Test Of Faith

NOTE: Authors of this report will be anonymous and wide ranging. Indeed you are invited to contribute: The format is as a reporters notebook. It will be published as and when material is available. C.D. Sludge can be contacted at The Sludge Report is available as a free email service..Click HERE - to subscribe...

Sludge Report #44

Chinese Wisdom

From the Analects of Confucius.

Tzu Kung asked about government. Confucius said: "The essentials are sufficient food, sufficient troops, and the confidence of the people." Tzu Kung said: "Suppose you were forced to give up one of these three, which would you let go first?" Confucius said: "The troops." Tzu Kung asked again: "If you are forced to give up one of the two remaining, which would you let go?" Confucius said: "Food. For from of old, death has been the lot of all men, but a people without faith cannot survive." [XII:7]

A Test Of Faith

There will be many politics watchers outside the American continent who, viewing recent events in Florida and Washington, will conclude that the best take from Indecision 2000 is that the once great US democracy has already lost its soul.

Afterall, here is a nation in which 90% of those elected to office spent more on advertising than their opponents; a nation in which less than 50% of the eligible population bothered to vote; and now a nation in which a majority, it seems, does not care too much whether the votes that are cast are actually counted.

As the battle continues the front-line has become the so-called “court of public opinion”, and the weapons are argument and rhetoric.

On the one hand the George W. Bush camp’s argument is, “enough is enough, give it to me”. Al Gore and Senator Leiberman reply, increasingly timorously, “but all the votes must be counted!”.

Sludge is of the opinion however that neither of these “arguments” capture the real point in this conflict. This is now far bigger than just a question of who received the most votes, even if that is ultimately what it all comes down to.

As argued in earlier Sludge reports the issue at the heart of this matter is whether the electoral process and the US Constitution still has any integrity.

Not whether dimpled votes count, but rather whether George Bush and his friends should be allowed to “Dubya” their way through the constitutional niceties of allowing the courts and legitimate authorities to administer the election and count the votes properly without intimidation and obstruction.

And in this what we are really seeing unfold here is a test. A test of the resilience of the US Constitution, and, in the words of Confucius, a test of the faith of the American people.

If Gore was to walk away at this point, an action that polls would tend to indicate a majority of the US public would approve of, then the test would be over.

And there is little doubt that the verdict, at least of the international community and probably among the political establishment inside the US (once they start thinking about it), would be that the Constitution had failed.

The US people would then have an outcome that would forever cast a black stain over the history of US democracy, and which in the long run would serve to further undermine what remains of the faith of the American people in their democratic institutions.

Al Gore, while it seems losing the PR battle so far, does appear to have some understanding of what is going on here.

Towards the end of his statement yesterday explaining his decision to contest the Florida result he said:

“In the end, in one of God's unforeseen paths, this election may point us all to a new common ground, for its very closeness can serve to remind us that we are one people, with a shared history and a shared destiny. “

The truth is that even the most imaginative script-writer could not pose a test of the US Constitution as rigorous as that posed by events presently unfolding.

This is indeed one of God’s unforseen paths, and it is now the responsibility of the Democrats, and indeed of the US people, to remain on the path and follow it through to its logical conclusion. Noone knows of course where this will take us but it is certainly better than the alternative.

The alternative, to give up the journey, is to fail the test of faith and to risk losing, as Confucius says, everything.

Earlier Sludge On The US Elections

- Sludge Report #43 – US Elections Scenario Yuck!
- Sludge Report #42 - Democracy Gives Way To Dinner
- Sludge Report #40 - Waiting For The Guillotine
- Sludge Report #39 - What Might Be

Anti©opyright Sludge 2000

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news