I didnít vote for either of these guys, and now Iím sorry I didnít.
All of a sudden I feel better about the election than I did 24 hours ago.
Itís Wednesday morning right now, and weíre still not sure if George W. Bush or Al Gore is going to be the next President of the United States. Iím not sure why, but all of a sudden both of them seem so much more, well, presidential.
Maybe the candidates werenít so bad after all. Maybe itís not the election, but rather the circus we call the campaign. The last two years of speculating, primary-ing, posturing, running, and speechmaking have been a bigger and less interesting version of the television series "Survivor," except that the stake for the winner was a lot higher than the million dollars won by the fat naked gay guy.
It wasnít helped by the inane political commercials in which hinted that the other guy was hell-bent to euthanize old people or send our young soldiers off to die in some God-forsaken African civil war.
It was definitely made worse by all the analysis by the pundits (all of whom were wrong half the time, but you could never tell which half) and the various motor-jawed flaks of the campaigns. All of these folks were armed with their daily faxes of "talking points" and all of them said exactly the same things about why their guyís "vision for America" was clear and good, while the other guyís came directly from the devil.
Just once I would have liked to have heard one of them say "Hey, you never know, our man might lose." Or "Letís not over-analyze the tax plan, whoever gets elected will compromise the heck out of it with Congress, anyway."
And the banner headlines and television news ultra-coverage about pot smoking, drunk driving and exaggeration now seem insignificant. Iíve had a couple of episodes myself where the police werenít happy with my behavior, and my wife says I often embellish a story. People who live in glass houses should remember to look at whatís inside the windows, too.
Gore and Bush didnít come to us from the planet Krypton born to fight for truth, justice and the American way. Though politically ambitious enough to subject themselves to super-scrutiny, neither one is Superman. Theyíre just people, subject to the same human foibles as everyone else.
Yesterday, I couldnít imagine either major candidate moving into the White House. Today, soothed by the majesty of our democracy, I know everything will be all right.
The last man to win the Presidency by such a small margin was Jack Kennedy. After he was assassinated, 70% of Americans claimed to have voted for him. A whole slew of ex-Presidents we now admire entered the office much to the dismay of about half of the voting public.
Like outfits given at a baby shower, the recipient of our nationís trust has a way of growing into it.
Campaigns are (and always have been) so focused on the negative that itís easy to forget what a positive thing our democratic process really is. Most of us think of the United States as a great nation, so much so that we take the "great" part for granted as much as we do the "fresh" in "fresh air."
The candidates might not be beauty queens or heroes, the campaign might be silly at times, and the election might not be satisfying to every citizen. But all of them together are part of the system which has served to make this one nation under God the most awing achievement ever accomplished by mankind.
Weíre going to be just fine. Hail to the Chief.
November 8, 2000