Thank you, Senator
While I have specifically refrained from commenting on the Presidential election (save for that uninformed Wexler kid) - and not because of a scarcity of items that were worthy of comment - I want to make one statement.
I was prepared to write a post lamenting the reduction of the electoral process to a rodeo of legal wrangling in which the candidate on the short side of the tape can't accept the outcome. Such is the legacy of Mr. Gore circa 2000.
What we witnessed that year was a cross between a spoiled child screaming for his way and a narcissist who couldn't believe that everyone didn't love him. It was ugly. It was shameful. And it hurt the country.
I don't blame the Democratic Party per se for this, although I do think the attitudes that spawned it are more comfortable in those ranks. No. I blame Mr. Gore specifically. In 1960, Richard Nixon could have easily contested the legality of the results in Cook County, Illinois, when Mayor Daley and organized labor manufactured a win there for Kennedy. (Despite all of the jokes, Chicago's reputation for election fraud is well earned.) He was even urged to do so by his campaign leaders. Nixon, however, declined knowing that it would be bad to undermine voters' confidence in the electoral process.
Likewise, Gerald Ford could have contested the result in Ohio and Hawaii in 1976, where a turnaround of about 2000 votes in those states would have given him the presidency. He, also, declined.
Mr. Gore showed no such concern and set in motion a circus of suits and counter suits that dragged on for 36 days and accomplished nothing except weariness of the whole thing. And this is what was promised this time around as well. We heard time after time about the "armies of lawyers" poised like jackals waiting for any opportunity to pounce.
Luckily, despite all of the rhetoric on both sides, this year's election went pretty much without a hitch. Both candidates won their states by pluralities outside the realm of dispute. And then came Ohio.
The count Tuesday night was somewhat close given the fact that there were thousands of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted, although not enough to make a difference without the Senators capturing nearly all of them. And the Democratic spin doctors (not the least of which was the Vice Presidential nominee) vowed to see it through to the end (whatever that meant). So, primed by thoughts of 10,000 lawyers, I strapped in for another bumpy ride.
Mr. Kerry, however, when faced with the reality that he had lost, chose to step aside and let the county get on with more important business at hand. For that, Senator, I thank you. You have shown grace in a difficult situation. I agree with your comments in your concession speech that we all wake up the next day as Americans and it is now time to come together and work as a united country. And, while I certainly don't expect us all to, as James Lileks put it, "hold hands and buy the world a Coke," I am going to hold you to that admonition, Senator. And I will call you on it if you renege, as I will the President.
As for the rest of you - if you pray, pray for our country, our leaders and our world. Not much that you can do is more important. May God continue to both have mercy on and to bless the United States of America.