My Last 522 Words on the Election*

by Jan Baughman

December 7, 2000



While awaiting an outcome to Election 2000, the newscasters babble endlessly about how the public is growing impatient. Yes, it's true, people are picketing by the dozens here and there, including the latest venue, Joe Lieberman's house (even though he isn't home.) We aren't exactly rioting in the streets demanding a new leader. And to generalize Americans' patience or lack thereof is about as easy and accurate as categorizing their presidential preference.

My own poll shows that a person's level of patience is directly correlated to the candidate for whom they voted. Bush supporters, following their leader's wisdom, are the most impatient. "Let's seal this puppy before we lose any more votes and get on with the bi'ness of uniting this country", to paraphrase one Bush voter. Gore supporters, like Al himself, fall smack dab in the center of the patience scale. They are willing to take as much time as is reasonable until "all legal possibilities and allotted time have been exhausted to make sure that every vote counts and that none have been missed because those missed votes represent the will of the people and some of those missed votes just may be for Gore and this is democracy in action and he won the popular vote and deserves to be president and I really don't understand why we need the Electoral College in the 21st Century, anyway", to quote a typical Gore supporter. Then there are those who (intentionally) cast a vote for neither Bush nor Gore, along with those who exercised their right to not vote at all. They are on the extreme left of patience. "Take all the time in the world", they say. "We're in nooooo hurry to see either of these guys take the oath of office, smirk or smirkless; in fact, if this keeps up, perhaps they'll litigate each other into oblivion and maybe, just MAYBE this whole damn thing will go away. Who needs a president, anyway? We've already seen that W. has delegated his presidential power and decision-making to his staff, and Gore won't have a mandate in Congress, even if he does wear the pants in the White House. We may not have a president, but we'll always have Shakespeare", to paraphrase a few.

It's incredible when you think about it: Two men, fighting for power as if their lives and the entire future of this country depended on it, tying up the courts, the media, the Washington party planners and the stock market for nearly a month, and telling us out of the other sides of their mouths with nearly straight faces that they have our best interest in mind.... As the clock ticks, the other topic for the talking heads is how it would be too expensive and difficult to standardize the voting process from state to state. More expensive and difficult than this?!? Exactly how much has been spent on this still undecided election, including the campaign and subsequent legal battles? Hopefully those figures, along with the sources of financing, will be released before Election 2004. In the meantime, tomorrow is a new day full of endless possibilities.


Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


*  Until it's over; count does not include the words from Macbeth, V.v.19-28, by William Shakespeare


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Published December 4, 2000
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