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Hyperion December 14, 2000

#18 Open letter to Al Gore/ Words I don't ever want to hear again

“An election is held. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.”

-George Eliot

December 14, 2000

To: Albert Gore Jr., Vice President

Dear Al,

Welcome to Loserville. Population, You. I say this not to be mean, but because I fear that deep down, you refuse to believe you lost. I watched your speech tonight three times. It was well delivered, funny, and gracious. I heard you acknowledge the Bush is President-Elect. I heard you say you can accept this. What I did not hear you say was that you lost. Let me give you a sports analogy: Even if the breaks went against you (that’s true enough), and even if you got bad calls from the refs (debatable, at best), when the game is over, IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE MOST POINTS, YOU LOST THE GAME! What I do not want to see is you, on my television screen for the next four years, talking about what you would have done, “had all the votes been counted.” You know exactly how many votes you still want looked at. By definition, if you know how many votes there are to look at, then they have already been counted.

In some cases, several times. The problem, Al, is that there is no way to objectively count those votes for the third time. Unless you are Ted Kaczynski, you do not believe the “machines” are out to get us. The machines are the only parties without a stake. They do not care who won. Moreover, twice they said YOU LOST. You need to accept that. The machines did not break down, so we go with that.

I am all for reforming the election system. If you read my column regularly, you would have known that I was talking about the Electoral College and the possible problems before the election. Of course, if you read my column regularly, you probably would have won. Then again, a lot of good it did me.

As to this popular vote argument: it is quite possible, maybe even probable, that if the popular vote won the election, Bush and Co. would have run quite a different campaign. They played to win, as you did, under the rules we had. That seems to be something your lawyers were not too thrilled about; the rules we had. Much of the country was not very happy with your lawyers either. You have to understand Al that to many people you were like Bill Murray from “What About Bob”: no matter how many times you were sent away, you were still there the next time the door opened. You need to go away for a while, just so the public can forget the mess you made. If you stick around, telling everyone who will listen that you should have won, they won’t have time to forget what an ass you made of yourself, and how selfishly you drug this on. You see Al; you were never going to win. Bush had all the Trump Cards. If somehow you got past the Florida courts, which you did, you had the Supreme Court. Even if you had made it passed them (which I do not think ever would have happened), Bush had the Florida Legislature looking to end run any gains you made. In addition, if that failed, any scenario you can imagine in Washington, even one where you break a Senate tie, eventually would have Bush prevailing.

Al, I know you are smart. If you are smart though, you had to realize all of the above. You had to realize that Bush would do anything necessary to win, just as you would, but that he held all the Aces. You had to understand him. Both of you come from political families. Both of you had family pressure on you to run for president. The difference may have been that if Bush had ultimately lost, he could have ruined another oil company, run a baseball team poorly, or taken up drinking again. You, on the other hand, had nowhere to go. So, in spite of your knowledge that there was no way to win this, you kept on. Maybe you were looking to martyr yourself. Maybe you were involved in an act of Hegelian self-justification. Maybe you just had nothing better to do. Maybe you should seek professional help.

Regardless, it is now over. You may get the chance to run again; four years is a political eternity. On the other hand, you waited to concede until you had nothing to give up but a few self-deprecating jokes, several dozen flags (someday you will have to explain the inside joke of the dueling flags to me), and some self-pity. I could almost pity you. You seem desperate to please Someone, most likely your dad. Of course, he is dead, which means you can never quite please him fully, which may be why you kept on despite the odds. It might explain your baffling lies over the course of the campaign. I’m not talking about regular political lying, or even Clinton lying, where he looks into the camera and grins like a feral wolf. I am talking about lies that could not pass the laugh test. They seemed to all have in common the goal of making your audience like you. That seems monstrously important to you. I wish I could tell you I like you, but apart from your hot daughters you have nothing much to offer. And that’s the way it is. Become used to it.



Special Bonus Section: Words I never want to hear again

Chad I do not want to hear the terms hanging chad, dimpled chad, pregnant, chad, or aborted chad ever again. In fact, the country of Chad is going to have to change their name to Caleb. Anyone in this country named Chad can go by their middle name, or, if they do not like that, they can go by Rufus.

Safe Harbor Not in my presence it is not

Disenfranchisement Unless we are talking about a local Arby’s burning down, this is out too.

Intent of the Voter This entire mess was caused by people either too lazy or too stupid to follow directions that most of the rest of us followed. Their only “intent” was to give us all a headache.

Fair and Accurate Count What is that? According to whom? The only Fair and Accurate Count I know of is on Sesame Street, and he could have solved this a lot faster than the lawyers did.

Lawyers While I am on the subject, I do not want to hear from them again either. What’s up with a $600/hour lawyer with a flood victim haircut?

Butterfly ballot The term butterfly is now reserved for the pretty insects

Drop Dead Date Unless you are Julius Caesar on March 15, do not speak of this.

Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Broward, Leon; hell, all of Florida Let’s just pretend it never happened. We can all learn from our friends the ostriches.



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