Please Mr. Gore, don’t do me any favors


The following article was written on November 30, 2000. Its first publication was here on this web site in 2003.

And… I can tell you… it is very vanilla and somewhat focused. And by saying vanilla and focused, I mean that several of the tangents and explorations that have become a part of my wandering essays at times are missing here.

I saw Mr. Gore on television… I was insulted about how he presented his election loss responses as being patriotic in nature and only driven by his desire to benefit all Americans by realizing their intentions and right to vote, and in no way did he acknowledge any of the self-serving reasons so obviously involved (for instance, that his moving into the Oval Office was part of the deal wasn’t part of it… no, his speech offered that he was doing this for you and me and not at all for himself)… I wrote an essay.

I’m not sure it’s fair when considering the incident and people involved, though my opinions haven’t changed. Instead, I find it interesting when considering politics in general. The landscape has changed, dramatically, and the election noted here might just be where the turn was fully made.

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If I hadn’t seen it all, I really thought the past twenty days had shown me most of it. A tight election, mistakes by the networks, a governor related to one of the candidates, and partisan politics and commentary. Then at approximately 8:50p.m. (EST) on November 29, 2000, Al Gore hit a new level, and it is one that I found insulting. At least for me, it may ultimately be one of no return.

I believe that a strong majority of the nation will agree with one of the following opinions of mine, and possibly both:

(1) Governor George Bush believes he won the vote in the state of Florida. But he is fearful of a complete hand recount thinking that somehow Vice President Al Gore may end up with more votes in his tally.

(2) Gore believes he won the state of Florida. He needs a new result in order to win the election, a recounting of votes could provide such a new result, and he is pursuing such an effort.

I believe both of these ideas. I think it is absolutely possible that both Bush and Gore believe they have won. Despite potential moments of doubt, that each man feels he has won the state of Florida’s vote, and subsequently the election.

On Monday night though, Gore reminded me of a professional athlete at a press conference announcing that he had signed for millions upon millions of dollars while saying it had nothing to do with the money.


I said he was pursuing a recount of the votes. His speech indicated that he was doing it to support the true will of the people. But there is a problem within that. Do I think he believe he won? Sure. Do I believe he wants the will of the people addressed? Well…

Let’s just say that I would be surprised to learn, though never acknowledged publicly (of course), that he believes in a fair recount of the votes… right up until he finds himself ten, twenty, thirty or more votes ahead. At that point, in his view, the will of the people would have been demonstrated and there would be no need to continue counting.

It’s not something complex or stunning. Support the results that favor you. Contest the results that don’t. None of us should be surprised.

But that athlete not taking the deal because of the money… that desire to support the will of the people, but only so far as it provides the desired personal results.

On November 7, 2000, the United States of America held an election for what is widely considered the most powerful office in the world. The two men involved, Bush and Gore, have such strong politically oriented family traditions that the phrase uttered to a ten-year old child—“someday you could be president”—was a realistic career possibility. In fact, for Gore, this has been a campaign for a job that he believes his entire life has been destined to obtain.

With that much on the line, please don’t stand in front of me, pretend to look me in the eye, and (figuratively) tell me that it isn’t the money. The motivating factor for both of these men is, at the most basic level, that they want to be president. Which in turn means that while noble enough to say it out loud, you can’t convince me that either man is truly as interested in the will and intent of the people as much as they are in occupying the Oval Office. I’m going to bet that both would do very close to whatever is necessary to win, even if it means missing a few ballot boxes along the way.

If you want to impress me Mr. Gore, come on television and include something like this:

On November 7, 2000, our country participated in one of its strongest acts as a democratic society. It takes place only once every four years, when our citizens join together in voting for our next president. Throughout my life I have dreamed of serving the United States as president. I won’t pretend that holding this position isn’t important to me. It is very important to me personally. And that is part of why I feel that contesting these election results in Florida is so important. Because I believe there are still many unanswered questions and inaccuracies.

Yes, you can go on and say you want all of us to have our voices heard. Let’s not pretend that isn’t part of it. It is. Makes for nice quotes. But, behind closed doors, I don’t believe for a second it is the top item on your list.

I’m growing tired of daily polls and dry erase boards. I’m tired of lawyers and protests and lawsuits. And I’m tired of biased individuals telling me what’s right when they are probably more interested in future favors being offered to repay their loyalty then they are in telling me what they actually think or in finding what is actually right.

Mr. Vice President, I’ve listened to them talk about how, having won the popular vote, you might consider running in 2004 if you eventually lose this election. But, after Monday night, I know I wouldn’t vote for you even if I thought this election was stolen from you. I guess every politician can be viewed as willing to stretch any truth necessary in order to get a vote. In many ways, I expect politicians to lie to me. (Or at least not tell the full truth.) But don’t tell me the only reason you’re pursuing this is for me and the rights of every American citizen. You’re not. You’re pursuing this for your dreams. The will of the people is just a convenient cover.


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