Balloting confusion, losses imperil another states right
Commentary by Pat Murphy
After 22-year-old Nathan Hall was convicted of criminally negligent
homicide in the death of another skier with whom he collided on a slope in Vail, Colo.,
this quote from a Vail skier symbolizes whats wrong with the attitude of a few
gung-ho, Hell-bent skiers, who can terrorize a ski mountain with their utterly
"This (Halls conviction) is really a bummer. Anytime you go on
the hill you take a risk, and people get out of control all the time.
"Its not going to be fun anymore."
Fun? That jocks idea of "fun" is other skiers worst
nightmare a witless skier racing down a slope and through the trails of other
skiers totally disregarding the peril hes creating to others.
These wicks can kill themselves if they wish. But ski resorts need to do a
better job of separating the speed freaks with suicidal impulses from skiers who observe
limits with caution.
Moves already are afoot in Washington to investigate whether a
constitutional amendment is needed to ensure fairer, more efficient elections for
president and vice president and their electors under federal supervision.
If this occurs, then the states have only themselves to blame for
Washingtons new powers.
Its not just the spectacle of bumbling Florida election officials
that brings this on. Reports are streaming in from other states of lost ballots, rejected
ballots, confusing ballots and elected officials who seem uncertain of what to do.
State politicians constantly whine about federal interference in
states affairs. But the public discovered over the past 50 years that the states do
a lousy job in areas with national consequences.
Take the environment. States did precious little to demand air and water
quality controls of local industry. So the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was
created by public demand.
Workplace safety was sloughed off by the states. Enter the new
Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
States were to slow to recognize the rights of women. Enter a whole new
body of law giving women rights to obtain credit without spousal approval, workplace
protections against gender discrimination and abuse.
Black Americans were still treated with disdain and indifference by state
laws, in some cases even denying the right to vote. Enter federal civil rights laws that
pre-empted the states.
Consumer protection? That was a laugh in most states, where local
politicos were in the pockets of business. Enter consumer protection laws.
Canned food was brought under federal dominion that required nutrition
information on labels, a real plus for the nations health. National standards also
were applied for auto mileage performance.
And so it went law after law, agency after agency spawned by the
refusal or unwillingness of states to reform their ways and to consider the public
The evidence is clear enough that medieval election systems and counting
processes still are de rigueur in most states, and even a presidential election affecting
the destiny of an entire country is still in the hands of local politicians whose
loyalties seem principally to political parties.
Is this another "states right" that is overdue to fall?