America… The leader of the free world… The beacon of democracy… November 7th of year 2000… George and Albert… Who will be the next President of America? All eyes on Florida…  Who voted for whom? Count, recount, and count again… Must make sure that there is no error… What must have been going through George’s mind, and Albert’s mind?

Neither I know these two men, nor have I extensively studied on their lives. Still, I felt like giving words to the agony the two men must have been going through… Here is an attempt, the exchange between George and Albert, and when you read it, please know that it is not based on any facts…


“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 phone.

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 man!”

Laura, George’s wife, brought him a glass of water, may be, George will need some!

Albert felt fire coming across the telephone line.

“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 be there!”

“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



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