Presidential race no more than comedic relief

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (U-WIRE) — No matter what, this election is going to be a joke.
Whoever wins can choose the four-year plan when he’s renting a television for the Oval Office.
And for at least the first two of those four years, no one is going to let George W. Bush or Al Gore forget that his presidency is the result of our country’s closest, most contentious election ever.
Dubya’s storm could be the worst to weather. If he is “victorious,” he will have won by two electoral votes, one of the smallest possible margins of victory. Worse, he will have lost the popular vote. And, if you add Ralph Nader’s tally to Gore’s percentage of the popular vote, that means 52 percent of the country is decidedly opposed to a Bush presidency.
Oh, good. That’s neat-o.
To make matters worse, neither campaign has inspired the country with confidence in the legal process now untangling the Florida vote. But no one has done more to cast doubt and uncertainty than Katherine Harris. The Florida secretary of state also happens to be one of Bush’s campaign co-chairs in the great state of Florida, and has a habit of trying to hand the election to her favored candidate. Even if Harris is trying to be impartial, nobody wants the history books to report that one of the governor’s chief cheerleaders decided the election.
Of course, if you’re a Republican or just voted for Bush, you’re far more suspicious of the chad-eating officials conducting the recount … but we won’t get into that.
There’s no end to the list of people and institutions to which we could apply our suspicions, including the Florida Legislature, which could decide to send its own set of electors to the college. Then it would be up to Congress to decide which set to accept. Of course, that depends on whether the U.S. Supreme Court decides to allow the Florida hand counts to stand.
I could go on.
There is a way out of this, I’m happy to say. If you are not an intrepid political columnist, there’s hope. It’s not too late to start ignoring this election.
Just follow the example set by my family during the Thanksgiving holiday. Despite my attempts to interject a political point or two (being an intrepid anything is not a nine-to-five job), most of my relatives held firm to their resolve.
“Hey, did you hear what Al Gore said to George W. Bush when he called to withdraw his concession?”
“Dad, could you pass the dressing?”
“It was great. George W. Bush got really angry, and then Al Gore said, ‘There’s no need to be snippy.'”
(Cue polite laughter.)
“Does anyone want more cranberry chutney?”
Yes, we did eat cranberry chutney.
Yes, Al Gore did tell George W. Bush there was no need to be snippy.
Even my mom and I, really the only political junkies in the family, have stopped checking CNN for a new president. She has Christmas lists to write, and I have to study for finals.
But, you say, how can I possibly distract myself from the nail-biting tension of this election?
Well, if eating a big meal isn’t enough, here are my suggestions for ignoring one of the most historically interesting elections ever:
— Raise funds for a good cause: Let’s buy Florida a new voting system — preferably one that doesn’t involve punch cards, chads or anything edible.
— Medical shock: A good way to avoid anything, but how to induce it? My suggestion is to contemplate the following fact. If it comes to having an interim president to run the country while we sort out the mess, our choices are Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Senate President Pro-Tempore Strom Thurmond. Strom Thurmond! He had his chance when he ran for president against Harry Truman in 1948.
— Get a new job: I recommend being appointed to your county’s Board of Elections. Being an election supervisor was, until now, the lowest spot on the county totem poll, often held by older eccentrics who nobly aspired to do their part. Only with recent developments has the job description expanded to include deciding presidential elections.
Don’t worry. No matter how you distract yourself, I’ll let you know when we have a new president.

Duncan Teater’s column originally appeared in Indiana University’s Indiana Daily Student on Nov. 27. Send comments to [email protected]