I'm a fan of both theater and politics so I was not one of
those who complained about the 2008 election process being too drawn out. With
players on the national stage like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah
Palin; and then in Minnesota with candidates like El Tinklenberg challenging
Michele Bachmann, and the three-way race between Barkley, Coleman, and Franken,
who could ask for better political theater? Even the dragged-out Coleman and
Franken race didn't bother me initially. I used the recount as an example of
why every vote really does matter and the court maneuverings as proof of
democracy in action. But that was November. And December. And January. Now it's
the middle of February and while the Coleman/Franken contest is still the best
theater in town, it's time to bring the curtain down on this race.
Granted, there is a lot at stake. This may be Norm Coleman's
last chance to save his political career, and it may be Al Franken's only chance
to launch his. Certainly, the Republican minority does not want to lose one
more vote in the Senate, and the Democratic majority would like to be one vote
closer to the filibuster-proof number of 60. But here is when I tire of
politics and I long for leadership.
We have run out of adjectives and adverbs to adequately
describe the dismal economy. The two wars we are engaged in are only now
getting more attention as we prepare to send an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan
The failed healthcare system and the failing educational system seem to be afterthoughts
in light of more pressing concerns. And instead of having two U.S.
Senators in Washington who are representing us and engaging in discourse on the
critical issues of the day, we have one.
Norm Coleman and Al Franken each captured about 42% of the
vote – not a ringing endorsement of either candidate – but enough for each to
make their case for going to Washington
I don't know how any sitting judge, no matter how qualified and wise, can
render a decision that will please everyone. If ever there was a time for
Solomon, it is now.
In my fantasy courtroom, Norm Coleman and Al Franken would
personally make their case before Solomon. Solomon would suggest that they
divide the six-year term into two, with each man pulling a straw to see who
would serve the first three years and who would serve the second three years. Of
course, neither Coleman nor Franken would agree to this decision and a long argument
would ensue. Eventually one of the two men would tire (as I, and other constituents,
have tired of the current process) and, for the good of the state and the
nation, he would concede.
Solomon, in his wisdom, would then select as our next
senator the candidate who put ambition and desire aside and conceded the
election for the common good. Such a decision by one of the contenders may not
demonstrate the keenest of political skill, but it would show real leadership.
And that would be a happy ending to this long-running piece of political