Moral ascendancy is a term I first heard in the movie Ghandi, in 1983.
Walter Mondale appeared to have almost used the term in one of the Presidential debates with Ronald Reagan in 1984, but Mondale stopped short of actually using the word, if memory serves.
Loosely defined, the phrase moral ascendancy means the high ground.
Note: A good deal of what follows is factually incorrect as was pointed out to me in an Email I received in response to this page. But I formed these impressions based on what I heard in the media. I leave this page otherwise unedited for the purpose of showing how I was mislead by comsuming too much news. I do this to remind myself it has happened to me this time. It has happened to me before. I know it can happen again. Has this ever happened to you? Be advised.
Governor Bush's claim to moral ascendancy might have been better served by waiting to claim victory.
However, acceptance speeches on election night have become customary and expected, and that is was Governor Bush did.
Concession speeches on election night have also become customary.
But Vice President Gore chose not to concede.
I did not see that speech first hand, so I cannot comment on its tone or content.
But the outcome of the election is not determined by these speeches.
So why not concede?
Who started it?
Gore can accuse Bush of posturing.
Bush can accuse Gore of posturing.
I suspect that both would be telling the truth in this instance.
Look at what has happened since election night.
Shouldn't a person who intends to become President of the United States have sense enough to see this coming?!
Having only hours earlier been in the position of possibly having to concede to Gore on such a close margin, should not Bush have considered the possibility of a challenge before delivering an acceptance speech?
Having, during those same hours, seen how close it was, shouldn't Gore have anticipated the possibility of a challenge from Bush?
With these thoughts in mind and the official results in hand, it should have been easy enough for one of these guys to exhibit the presence of mind to call the other and say, "Hey, let's find a joint statement to issue before saying anything."
Was that call made by either party?
If so, I have not heard it reported.
Sure, this is not a typical situation. But, hey, one of these guys will presumably become President. How many atypical decisions with the individual who is ultimately installed in January 2001 be faced with? That guy will have his finger on the button. And people worried about that when Ronald Reagan was President!
Last great hope . . . . indeed!
Note: To any and all charges of "Monday-morning quarterbacking", I plead guilty as charged.
Note: As a person with 3rd party leanings, it gives me great delight to have this opportunity to beat up on both major party candidates for their participation in the same event.
As I have stated elsewhere, I reassert here, I am equally disenchanted with both major parties.
Early on, the mantra of the Democratic support for manual recounts became, "Every vote must be counted."
Sounds like an attempt to gain the high ground to me.
But do these words and the subsequent actions of Gore supporters bear close scrutiny?
If every vote were so important to them, then why did not the Gore supporters insist on a statewide re-count?
If every vote were so important to them, then why did the Gore supporters demand recounts only in places that voted very heavily in favor of Gore?
In fairness, I must add that if either Gore or Bush truly respected the notion of consent of the governed, both would have cooperated for a more orderly and trustworthy process to arrive at a final count.
I reassert, I am equally disenchanted with both major parties and both candidates.
Maybe the only difference between these two guys is the fact that Bush was officially ahead on election night.
And maybe that is an easier position to defend than the loser's position.
But Al Gore officially lost election night.
And the way he has tried to officially win does nothing to make me want him be the next President.
For Vice President Gore to even contemplate accepting the office of President based on the outcome of the manual recount arranged by his supporters, well, how can I say this . . . it practically demonstrates his unfitness for the office. I'm sorry. If my words seem aggregious, Gore's conduct in these circumstances speak for themselves and are even more aggregious than my words.
If Al Gore had half Richard Nixon's class, he would have conceded on election night.
If Al Gore had any class, he would have conceded and refused to take office after learning that Democratic(?) Miami-Dade canvassing board officials tried to perform a non-public manual recount.
Look how damaged Al Gore is at this point.
Consider how damaged the world would be after a nuclear exchange.
I don't know if I want Governor Bush's finger on the trigger, but I do know, in light of these events, I do not want Vice President Al Gore's finger on it.
True, maybe the only difference between these two guys is that Bush was offically ahead on election night. But he had that advantage and, if indeed he has only played it, he has played it well. If there has to be a button, and somebody's finger has to be on it, maybe I can be slightly more comfortable with the idea of that finger belonging to a President Bush.
Anybody who would try to say "every vote counts" and then force manual recounts only in areas favorable to themselves should be able to respect that.
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