by Bob Stealey
What on earth is the national media's big hurry? Sure, as citizens we would all like to know who will be the next U.S. president. After all, what has been happening over the course of the last five to six days -- Al Gore having the highest popular vote and the possibility that winning the 25 electoral votes in Florida would put George W. Bush over the top in the Electoral College -- is a first in the lives of most, if not all, of us.
Still, let's have a bit of sensibility about the whole voting debacle in the Sunshine State -- and exercise a bit of caution, for a change. We're not talking about selecting a homecoming king or queen, but the leader of the free world -- the American president. And as I've stated in columns and editorials, this was one of the most crucial votes in the history of our country because it wasn't between men, but the very course our country may take in the future that's at stake.
It happened not once, but twice Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning with the announcement first that the 25 electoral votes would go to Gore, followed by a reversal; and then an announcement around 1 or 2 o'clock Wednesday morning that Bush was the winner, followed by yet another reversal.
Talk about your textbook rush to judgment! What on earth is the rush by the networks and news services? Are they going to a fire? Come to think of it, where are they going? It all reminds me of being in line at the checkout counter of a supermarket on a not-so-busy day, and the cashier is rushing the customers through. He or she gets impatient and testy when it becomes necessary to call for a price check or some other situation that creates a bit of a slowdown. Where is the cashier going? Quitting time may not be for several hours.
Similarly, where are the media going? What's the purpose of poll personnel rushing through such an important vote count, taking the risk of still more mistakes than have already been made?
And where there have been calls for one candidate or the other to concede, I can't say that I blame either of them for holding to their guns. Bush and Nader both, along with their campaign teams, have put forth a considerable amount of time and money to give up so easily.
To me, there will be more "info" to come out than simply the popular vote versus the electoral count. Give it some more time! Sure, as modern Americans we love our instant gratification. But not at the expense of the future of the modern world. Let's just hope there aren't any more goof-ups -- by the elections people or the media.
When I was at Meadowbrook Mall last week, Jim Carbone asked if he could put forth a challenge in my column involving bowling. He wants to know if anyone knows who rolled the first sanctioned perfect "300" 10-pin game in the Clarksburg area.
If you think you know, based on factual information, let Jim know, or send me an e-mail or a "snail-mail" with your response. The mailing address is: Bob'n'Along, P.O. Box 2000, Clarksburg, WV 26302-2000.
If I might be so bold as to suggest it, if anyone is looking for a Christmas gift for a relative or friend who once lived in Harrison County but has since moved away, I have an idea. The book I compiled this year of photos from the past, "Images of America -- Harrison County," would bring back some memories for them. For just $18.99 plus tax, the 128-page book includes about 200 pictures of Harrison County of yesteryear. It can be found at select locations in the county or can be ordered from Arcadia Publishing, whose toll-free number is 1-888-313-2665. My thanks for considering the suggestion.
Exponent-Telegram Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438 or via e-mail at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.