Office of the Vice President of the United States
On November 7th, last, I traveled to my local polling place -- St. John Community Center, 1400 Locust St., Dubuque, Iowa, and cast a ballot for you in the race for President of the United States. In a little less than 24 hours from that event, I have watched as you and your opponent have seemingly sunk into an arm-wrestling match for the highest office in this land.
I have listened to accusations of ''election stealing'' and virtual ''ballot rigging'' in the state of Florida. Those charges quickly escalated into a deadlock of the process and the dispatch of so called ''observer teams'' from both campaigns as Florida sloshed through the painful and somewhat embarrassing process of a recount of that state's ballots.
From that point the argument degenerated into a threat, or at the very least ''strong hint'' that litigation would follow as your campaign attempts to right what you and your advisors undoubtedly feel is an egregious wrong.
However, Mr. Vice President, let me interject at this juncture a very valid if somewhat equally painful point. Sir, the office you and Gov. Bush seek and the processes a traditions that encompass it, is many times bigger than the individuals who seek it. It is that office, its processes, traditions and the procedures where-by we arrive at the individuals who occupy it, that comprises the very bedrock of our precious democracy, a word that is far more important than its capitalized derivative used as the party name of the organization your candidacy represents.
Sir, you are not the first, and unfortunately will probably not the last individual to have come up on the short end of a ballot process flawed by mistakes, misappropriations and/or misapplications of the law and outright theft. I can remember in my youth and yours another race for the White House where a Republican Vice President, Richard Nixon, was so obviously the victim of some of the most outlandish election fraud in memory. And, I can also recall the fact that I or anyone else in this nation never heard another word about this grave criminal error.
It is at once both ironic and perhaps fitting that the individual who heads your campaign and is also one of those representatives on the ground for that campaign in Florida during the now interminable recounts, Secretary William Daley, is the son of the man who was quite possibly responsible for defrauding Richard Nixon and this nation in 1960; Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.
As I attempted to explain that 1960 election, which gave the country President John F. Kennedy and thereby one of its brightest moments and certainly, with his assassination in 1963 one of its darkest, to my oldest daughter who was too young to remember the event, I was struck by a question which immediately sprung to her mind: ''Do you mean to tell me dad, that Richard Nixon was a bigger man than Al Gore?''
I was stopped in my tracks Mr. Vice President. So, in essence I put the same question to you.
Is the office you seek worth all the terrible moments that could lie ahead for this nation should your campaign embark on an endless string of legal challenges, regardless of their outcome? Is the presidency, at least the one that will emerge from this soiled and sullied process worth the agony? With just what we've seen to this point, how shining a moment will the next administration of this country really be? And where, sir, is there any moral high ground remaining in this political atmosphere? And, you must ask yourself my daughter's inquiry ''Was Richard Nixon, at least in early November 1960, a bigger and better man than yourself?''
As I have said, the office you seek is much bigger than the men who chase after it. I'd like to be able to think that you, sir, thought more of the office, the nation and those of us who supported your candidacy than you do of yourself and were at least man enough and leader enough to surrender it rather than taint it. It is for you, Mr. Vice President, the Biblical Solomon's choice of the two women who claimed the same child. Rather than see it destroyed the real mother gave it up.
In short, Mr. Vice President, I am asking you to abide by the most recent recount of the Florida ballots and concede the office you sought so long and so hard for the sake of it and the democratic process that is starting to lose some of its luster elsewhere in this world. I would hate to think that the Slobadon Melosevics of this world could find some small bit of pleasure from the sidelines as we look high and low for a loophole to decide what should surely be the most honored position in this land.
I also do not want the next president of this country decided in a court of law by attorneys and judges. There are some things, like all the little tricks that accompany political elections in various corners of this land, I do not want to know. And I certainly don't want them paraded in every state and every case every time someone doesn't like the outcome of a particular campaign. Because, obviously, for almost every winner there is a loser with access to agreeable legal representation. And once we start down that road, where does it all end.
P.S.: Barring your ability to grant my sincere request as stated above I was just wondering if I could have my vote of Nov. 7th back, sir? You obviously aren't in need of it for the purposes of making your point with a plurality of the popular vote, and I so obviously think the world of it.