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Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Miserable, gray, drizzly day, nearly redeemed by a late afternoon shaft of sunlight shimmering behind the thinning gauzy clouds. I believe I caught sight of the merest patch of blue in the sky, just before it gave over to dusk.

As for me, I felt enough better today that I didn't need a midday dose of anything stronger than tea. I had a little more energy and a little less phlegm. I guess that goes hand in hand.

Just for the record, and because I haven't written enough about the election already, and because I never promised to stop writing about it, and because I am now neutral in the sense that I no longer care who wins, I'd like to say that I'm against counting dimpled chads. I don't think you can determine intent by an indent. Swinging, hanging, yes. If not even one corner is detached, I think it's blatant guesswork.

Frankly, I'm not as enthusiastic about the political process as I was before all the ugly rhetoric of the last two weeks. And if you look too deeply below the surface, nobody comes out of this looking like Abraham Lincoln, or even Bill Clinton. More like Rutherford B. Hayes.

I still don't believe all the charges of tampering with ballots, because the process is under close scrutiny by the public, the media, and both parties. The most disturbing example of political polarization I've seen is the insistence by some advocates that not only is the hand recount process flawed, but that it is being somehow perverted by the local canvassing boards.

The Florida Supreme Court acted properly in ensuring that the ballots cast on election day are counted as fully and accurately as possible.

And as often.

No standard way of counting? There's no standard way of voting, so of course there's no single method to count the ballots. Each county or local district is responsible for designing the ballot and setting up the voting procedure, and that's what determines how voter intent is evaluated.

This matter of whether or not a universal standard is required will be taken up in federal court, starting Monday. I'm sure the judges will come up with a wise, impartial solution that satisfies all sides.

And remember, this is coming from someone who voted for McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis, so I obviously know how to pick 'em.

This is not a crisis! It can be made into a crisis only if the candidates allow it, and I don't think either of them will let it get that far. At some point one of them will see the momentum slipping away and encourage his supporters to accept the other as president. It might get as far as the U.S. Supreme Court before that happens, but I don't believe Congress or the Florida legislature will be put in the position of deciding the election.

I pray that I'm right about this, and I'll be more than disappointed if I'm wrong.

After all that, you'll be glad to know I'm going away for the weekend. Entries for Thursday through Sunday will not be posted until Sunday night at the earliest. I'll be out of touch with all news sources, so I'm guessing I'll be writing about something else.

I've tried not to dwell on the election, but I have a sort of compulsion to commit these thoughts to prose while all the words are still swirling around in my head.

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