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Jewish World Review Sept. 17, 2002 / 11 Tishrei 5763

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

Earth to Florida:
No more elections

Sometimes failures are just that | In my book, "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success", a myriad of icons from many different fields recount their stories of triumph pulled heroically from the throes of defeat. From basketball hall of famer Bill Walton's battle with stuttering to become a national network sportscaster to R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass fighting back from a horrendous car accident and chest-down paralysis to once again belt out hit in front of millions of adoring fans, the tales of adversity providing positive opportunities make for some damn good inspirational reading. Likewise, the earth-shattering breakthrough that created Silly-Putty was the result of a flawed experiment.

But even in the light of Thomas Edison's historical evidence that thousands of his failed experiments let to the development of the light bulb, I'm afraid that Florida still remains in the dark.

It is said that if you placed and infinitive number of monkeys at an infinitive number of typewriters (remember typewriters?), that sooner or later they would write all the great books. Alas, I'm afraid if those monkeys were sitting at typewriters in Florida, we'd never know if primate-composed "Tale of Two Cities" or "Captain Underpants" were likely. That is to say that in spite of being a vocal advocate of failure being a stepping stone for success, sometimes enough is enough. In that stead, I say that Florida should give up.

That's right. No more elections. No more embarrassments for my grandmother and every other one of my relatives over the age of 70 who are ageing considerably faster attempting to figure out the voting process. To the citizens of Florida, understanding how to vote correctly is as frustrating as the governor's attempts to keep his daughter and narcotics apart.

Though it might not hurt to place the young damsel Bush in charge of Florida's prescription program. She seems to be able to be able to get a hold of medication no matter how many obstacles they place in front of her. I bet with the senior citizen vote she could easily beat out her father, let alone Bill McBride, or Janet Reno, or Al Gore, or whomever won this time.

Instead, from now on, elections should be replaced with "taking turns." First the Democrats takes office, then the Republicans, then the Democrats again. If third parties were involved (other than the Greens, as they screwed this thing up to begin with) they would take office every fifth term.

Simple, huh? We take all the math out of the hands of the voters. No more blaming Katherine Harris or the governor. No more blaming the democrats or chads. No more ballots. No more voting machines. No more campaign commercials. No more campaign contributions. No more campaigns. And most important, no more insulting jokes about Florida or its elderly (who might have voted correctly if incentives of free early bird dinners and unguarded dishes of Sweet & Low had been offered).

For while I still believe that in most cases, failure is mankind's most neglected resource, as the great Springfield philosopher, Homer Simpson, once said, " tried your best and you failed miserably. And the moral is...never try."

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success". His website is Comment by clicking here.

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© 2002, Steve Young