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Election 2000

Well, I said I'd talk about the election this week, when the dust had settled, and I will. Of course, little did I know that a week later it would require the entire state of Oklahoma in August to out-silt this mess. As of this writing, it's Bush the winner in Florida by a mere 300 votes, both sides calling each other names and accusing each other of dirty tricks, and lawyers thick as buzzards with a dead giraffe in sight are rubbing their scaly hands with glee.

It's the kind of thing that leads a losing candidate to berate himself for the rest of his life for not trying just a little bit harder. Maybe it was one speech where he wasn't quite in top form. Maybe it was one poorly chosen word. Heck, maybe it was a bad tie. Maybe it was that Rolling Stone cover.

Maybe it's all completely ridiculous.

And when all the screaming and hair-pulling is over (I don't plan to bet that tonight's verdict is final) it'll probably still mean four more years of saying "President Bush." Yuck. I'd barely gotten the taste of it out of my mouth from the last time around.

Worse, Nader didn't even get his measly five percent (possibly thanks to late voters who, understandably, freaked out when they saw how close the race was after all), which means that next time around we're probably going to be treated to a spectacle very similar to this year's. Having lost this one and being all too happy to blame it on this proto-third-party, no doubt the Democrats will do all they can to silence any potential vote siphons before they get too noisy in 2004. I can hardly contain my anticipation.

A Salon article earlier this week hypothesized that in the future, all elections will look like this one, as the campaigners reduce the sensation and manipulation of public opinion to a fine science. Soon, everyone will be competing over the 0.01 percent of voters who remain coyly undecided until the last moment. It's a truly hideous thought, and I hope he's wrong.

I think he's wrong. I don't think people are quite as sheeplike as all that, and there exists the possibility of a real change in world fortunes or a truly egregious example of a bad president to make them more willing to take chances. If things stay relatively calm and peaceful, however, I can see him being right.


Now that I think about it, that's pretty much all there is to say. Yuck.

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© 2000 Rebecca J. Stevenson