Page Two

Chronicle editor Louis Black on Election 2000: This isn't a crisis; this is a robust burp.

Page Two
Happy Thanksgiving! As happens when you get older, the year shot by and now we're facing its end. A pleasant surprise. So we've either survived the first year of the new millennium or the last year of the old one, depending on whether you think 2000 or 2001 is the beginning of the next 1,000 years.

This holiday will be a time not only to savor the company of family and friends but also to share thoughts on the extraordinary times we are living through. What is happening around us? Will this wonderful, drawn-out, cliffhanging presidential election -- the most glorious burst of democracy in recent times -- be resolved by the time you read this (tomorrow, as I write, is Wednesday, Nov. 22)? Will it be resolved this week? Next week? Once we put the contest behind us, what is facing the next president? Is the economy finally slowing down, and if so, how slow will it get? How will this impact on all the current debates? But the verdict is in. The democratic body is alive, if cranky.

I'm sick to death of partisans on all sides of the current election controversy constructing an absolute moral argument that just coincidentally favors their candidate. I don't think we're living in a time of easy answers or easy decisions for anyone. I support Gore, but I think he should concede. No American president should earn the job on the backs of lawyers, no matter how legally right they may be. And I'm not sure Gore is going to win, even if the recounts are certified. If this is about leadership and our country, Gore should concede now.

On the other hand, I think conceptually that a drawn-out election is fine. I haven't heard so much concentrated political talk, every day, everywhere, since the Sixties. It is the topic of almost every conversation. The pundits rant and rave that we are in crisis, but the public is intoxicated by our own political maturity; we understand that what is going on is part of an orderly process. The foreign press makes fun of our current dilemma, but they all miss the point. This isn't a crisis; this is a robust burp. In the end, a president will be chosen, his opponent will concede, and the winner will go on to govern with the respect of the American people. The election will not be seen as a turning point but simply a historical curiosity.

Okay, at the midterm election, the electorate will probably deal the victor's party crippling losses in Congress, severely limiting his ability to shepherd legislation -- but maybe not. Then, two years later, it will be time to vote again in a new presidential election, in which we can cast a vote that we know counts. (Except, of course, for those convinced the system is rotten, completely corrupted by corporate interests.)

The country will go on. Despite all the factionalism, the people are committed to this democratic vision. This holiday, few will be arming themselves for the consequences of the Florida decision as they might if they lived in other countries (of course, some are arming themselves, because they are always arming themselves). Instead, they'll be sitting around, eating, drinking, and arguing. Norman Rockwell in Frank Kozik colors -- it's going to be an American Thanksgiving.

In the holiday spirit, I'll leave out much of the ranting this issue -- no light rail proselytizing, Nader bashing, or downtown bemoaning.

There could be no better cover subject for a true Austin Chronicle Thanksgiving cover than Barbara K. We have been fans of Timbuk 3 since the band first landed in Austin. One of their earliest gigs was at a joint birthday party (that I had very little to do with) for a couple of hard-core old Austin BoHos including myself. I walked into a room as they were playing, and I thought they were great because they had such terrific songs. Having an album from Barbara K is the perfect holiday gift.

Have a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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election 2000, barbara K

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