Nation still reacting to election
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NOVEMBER 13, 2000

As the dispute over the Presidential election continues to drag on, voters in Indian Country are eager to welcome a new leader in the White House, whomever it turns out to be.

"I think either would be a great President," said Drew Lacapa of Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. "Otherwise, it wouldn't have come this far."

But with ballots still being counted and re-counted in Florida, where Bush has a few hundred vote lead over Gore, the Apache comedian had his own solution to the ongoing crisis.

"If nothing else, they should just proclaim a winner and have their wives fight in a pit of mud," he offered. Lacapa drew plenty of laughs onstage at the Native American Music Awards this past Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Singer and mother Star Nayea, had a different take, however. A Gore supporter, Nayea said she is worried about the state of the nation should Bush be declared the winner.

"I think everyone just needs to recast their ballot for Gore. This country doesn't realize that Bush will not continue the success" of the Clinton-Gore administration said Nayea. "I totally trust my future in Gore's hands."

A resident of New Mexico, Nayea's state has been thrust into the national spotlight as the latest battleground between Democrats and Republicans. Initially given to Gore in the election, Gore now trails Bush by a mere few votes as ballots in the state's most populous county are still being counted and ballots in other counties have been impounded as a result of a legal challenge by the Republican party.

All these changes have left many a voter unsure. Included is Isleta Pueblo / Navajo golfer Notah Begay III.

"I am just as confused as the next guy," said Begay, a Gore supporter. "I would like to see those votes counted in Palm Beach County, but if they're not, life goes on. The wheels of the political system keep on turning."

Activist and award-winning poet John Trudell was equally realistic about the outcome. But he had his doubts about the entire affair.

"I've always anticipated that Bush was going to be the next President," said Trudell. "But democracy is still about exploitation. Its not what has it done for us [as Native people], its what it has done to us."

Today, the Bush campaign will appear in federal court in hopes of stopping a manual recount in Florida. A small review of ballots in Palm Beach County gave Gore gains and officials there decided to move forward with a hand count over the weekend. The Gore campaign wants ballots hand counted in a total of four counties.

Related Stories:
Bush lead narrows (Politics 11/10)
Nation awaits fate of races (Politics 11/9)
The Presidency: Is it official yet? (Politics 11/8)
BUSH DEFEATS GORE (Politics 11/7)
Campaign Watch: The President (Politics 11/6)
The President, Part I (Politics 10/30)
The President: Part II (Politics 10/31)
Voters' Guide: The President, Part III (Politics 11/1)

Relevant Links:
Drew Lacapa -
Star Nayea -
John Trudell -

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