“Hello, George, this is Albert. You
remember me? Listen, I have an idea. Why don’t we get together, I mean,
before the hand-count is finished in Florida? It will be good for the
country. Win or lose, we will need to help each other any way…”
George felt stunned. Albert’s proposal
did not produce any cooling effect.
“What a nerve you got, Albert! Is this
some new game of yours, or what? I debated you three times, and the
country saw three different Alberts. This looks like the fourth Albert to
me! You conceded once, and you retracted! Don’t you see what you have
done to the country and the world, dragging Florida into the courtroom?
What kind of a man are you? You just want to win at any cost? I will meet
with you after I become President!” George was almost shouting on the
George senior was standing nearby,
absorbing the exchange. When the eye-contact took place, Dad expressed his
approval saying, “Bravo, Georgey, bravo! That is the way to answer this
Laura, George’s wife, brought him a
glass of water, may be, George will need some!
Albert felt fire coming across the
“George, there is no need to lose
temper like that! I love this country of ours as much as you do! Even if I
concede, there are going to be lots of unhappy people in Florida as well
as in other parts of the country. There have been some problems in
Florida, and it appears that machines have made errors in counting. When
it is this close, hand counting is an option, and the Florida law permits
that. George, you would not want to win by just few votes, especially when
there is a cloud of erroneous counting is hanging over it, would you? For
us, for our country, would not it be better that this matter is resolved
by letting this hand counting come to completion? A delay of week or two,
surely, country could handle that!”
George remained furious.
“Albert, how many times you want
Florida votes counted? That ballot must be wearing out by now! Hand count?
Don’t you see how hard and error-prone that task is? Ballot by ballot,
holding it against the light, looking for the punched holes or the
impression thereof, from this angle or that angle… It is all a fiasco!
By this Saturday, absentee ballots would be counted; Florida would declare
its result, and that is it! No more counting any more! Can’t you accept
that?” George jumped on to his feet, banging his new cowboy boots on the
polished wooden floor. Finality declared in a forceful way!
“All right, George, if that is the way
you want… This win, yours or mine, is not going to have the lustre one
would like. Sometime one wins by losing. I am not afraid of losing; it is
just that we have reached a point where it is impossible for either of us
to make outright concession. Listen, if you win, and need me later, I will
“Hey, this fourth Albert is not that
bad after all! Sure, if you win Albert, you can count on me as well… How
do they say it? May the best man win, and God bless America…”
November 15, 2000