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[whitespace] E2K Breakdown

Unnatural disaster or act of God?

By Stephen Kessler

ANYONE disappointed last Jan. 1, when the year 2000 computer apocalypse failed to materialize and life went on in boring normality, must be thrilled by the political catastrophe of the anti-presidential election. It's as if an asteroid hit Florida, or New Mexico, or Washington, D.C., and the resulting dust cloud has totally obscured the future of our democracy.

Nobody can say for sure which dinosaurs will be extinguished by this earthshaking event, but the psychopolitical landscape has been blasted flat. Al Gore and George W. Bush--and even that pesky upstart Ralph "Just Give Me 5 Percent" Nader--have been rendered irrelevant by the disaster of an electoral system blown to smithereens. It's enough to make one wonder just who or what is directing this bizarre historic drama.

Until Nov. 7, I was a fundamentalist skeptic, absolutely unconvinced of the existence of any divine intelligence. The clockwork theory of theology seemed absurd; no organizing principle was more persuasive to me than the Heraclitean notion of randomness. But now I'm not so sure. Only the most perverse and all-powerful cosmic imagination, a Novelist of supreme genius and superhuman mischievousness, could have devised this infinitely twisted plot.

In light of the religious abuse we've been subjected to over the course of the campaign--each major candidate attempting to outdo the other with proclamations of piety--it makes sense that a disgusted Deity might be provoked to put these uppity politicians in their place. What better way to clap a lid on spiritual pride than to deprive the so-called leader of the free world (whoever that may turn out to be) of the power that flows from his constituents.

The images of Bush as an empty suit and Gore as a stiff turn out to be more true-to-life than anyone anticipated. The King of the Universe has a greater sense of humor than I gave Him credit for.

So, who on Earth has the Solomonic wisdom to split this baby in half? Such decisive leadership, I'm afraid, is absent without an absentee ballot. Still, poetic justice might be served by some deus ex machina appointing an alternate president: a triangulated chief executive equidistant from the Bushian smirk and the Goresque rictus, someone with a record free of spiritual convictions and unbesmirched by elective officialdom, a person who can find his way around Washington even in the darkness of a nuclear winter, a public servant who knows what needs to be done and is prepared to do it.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you he next president of the United States, Ralph "The Body Politic" Nader!

With the possible exception of Monica Lewinsky, Nader has done more than anyone else to bring this great republic to the verge of a nervous breakdown, and since the other top contenders for the highest office in the land have canceled each other out, or been canceled out by a confused electorate, it's only fair to give the jolly Green giant a shot at the job he claims to covet. So what if he won only 3 percent of the vote?--the dude deserves to get what he deserves.

The presidency having been reduced to an even more impossible project than it was before the electoral meltdown, Nader in his uncompromising idealism is the ideal choice for such a thankless position. His cabinet alone--Phil Donohue as secretary of state, Michael Moore as secretary of labor, Susan Sarandon as secretary of sex (no presidential blowjobs on the people's time!), among other equally qualified political veterans--would instantly inspire the confidence of a befuddled citizenry.

Unroll Ralph's sleeping bag in the Oval Office, stick him behind the desk in his wrinkled suit, Trent Lott looking over one shoulder and Clarence Thomas over the other, and tell him: OK, wise guy, govern this.

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From the November 16-22, 2000 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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