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By Ron Vinyard

Wandered around the block this morning, talking to the neighbors about the election results. Most of 'em admitted to voting; the few who admitted voting Republican looked a little hangdog about it.

One guy said something about the Dolester bumbling and weaving right up to the end, makes this feint toward concession, then an hour later pulls it back, then an hour later quits for good. It's the way they ran the whole campaign, he said, and woulda' run the country if they'd won. How dumb did they think the people in this country are? We can generally spot the ones that can't even shoot theirselves in the foot!

I said, yeah, but the whole concession thing added some tension to the night. I said it made me a little nervous, watching a national political party fumble around like that. Sort of like botching their own suicide. At one point I was nearly hysterical and had to get some bourbon to quiet down, remind myself that this was serious business despite the way they were making it look.

One of the wives said something to the effect that watching ABC's warring commentators and Peter Jennings' not so subtle gloating was what made the whole night for her.

This retired guy, who always has a different slant on things, talked about how the finger pointing's already underway in the GOP, with George Will leading the charge. Be fun to watch, he said, how the GOP will disembowel itself in the next two years. Buchanan and Pat Robertson, that crowd, will be in there, fingers just a jabbin', before the ink dries on the ballots.

Somebody said that Perot's finally got to sing his last song, and the song wasn't even a whisper of what it was four years ago. The old guy said how the whole Perot thing wasn't so much a song anymore as it was a light hissing fog in the background. All you could make out with any clarity was Ross's mouth and ears. Kinda like Lewis Carroll's cheshire cat. The old guy reads a lot, and never tires of letting us know it.

One lady said how Jack Kemp had earned some measure of respect from her. The guy was a good soldier, one you'd like to have on your side if he ever grows up.

I mentioned how I thought Al Gore gave a real stem winder, leading into Prez Bubba's acceptance speech. She said yeah, well, he's kicking off his campaign for '00, y'know. He'll be campaigning for the next four years, won't he?

My next-door neighbor, who supported ole' Bubba all the way, said how he was really impressed at the speech itself. I said, well, you gotta feel a little sad for the Dolester, poor old guy.

Not me, he said. He's jumpin' all over Bill the whole time about character, but this guy turned his back on everything he'd believed in and fought for all his life, and ran for president mouthing a lot of crap he had to know was wrong. Now there's character for you!

Well, it was hard to argue with that, so I said, well, I feel sad for him anyway 'cause the Republican party threw him out there like a sacrificial lamb. They didn't have anybody that could beat Clinton, even Colin Powell wouldn't touch it, so they pushed old Bobble out there to get in the way of the bullets.

Yeah, he said, those Republicans are loaded with character.

On the local front, I was pleased to learn that most people sorta' shrugged at the Medicinal Marijuana issue, thought it was a no-brainer. Shows that the people on my block haven't lost their common sense, and are bigger hearted than some give 'em credit for.

Those are just some of the things people on my block have been saying this morning. Personally, I feel pretty good about how it all turned out and I think the folks on the rest of the block do too. I think we are some better than we were fifty or sixty years ago, and notice I didn't say better off, although of course we are. I mean better as a people. I think we need folks like Bill Clinton and Al Gore to keep holding a kind of moral mirror in front of us, so we can see where our warts are. Maybe it makes us feel a little better to know they've got warts of their own, same as we do. And I think we're all better off to have people around who will dare us to be a little better tomorrow than we are today.

--Nov. 6 '96--

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