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The Chad

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<BR>..and yet another postscript to the election:
<BR>The Chad
<BR>By Dick Feagler
<BR>Cleveland Plain Dealer
<BR>I've followed elections since I was a lad
<BR>And I've never before encountered a chad.
<BR>It sounds like a character from Mother Goose
<BR>Or a shaggy-eared elf in an old Dr. Seuss.
<BR>The word chad is a word that is largely unheard.
<BR>You picture meek animals grouped in a herd of
<BR>Small gentle creatures with snugly warm fur
<BR>That's what you might think a chad or two were.
<BR>But a chad, it turns out, is a powerful thing.
<BR>It's the difference 'tween deadlock and let freedom
<BR>It changed an election that once seemed a bore
<BR>To a white-knuckled contest between Bush and Gore.
<BR>And what is this chad that cuts such a caper?
<BR>It's the tiniest possible flyspeck of paper.
<BR>Push a pin in a ballot, you make a small hole.
<BR>The chad is what's gone when the hole takes control.
<BR>But push the pin slowly or not hard enough
<BR>And the edge of the hole will remain rather rough.
<BR>Enough chad will be left to cause great consternation
<BR>And influence the whole presidential election.
<BR>Then inspectors show up to inspect the small holes
<BR>To peer and to puzzle about voters' goals.
<BR>Chad experts they are, it's a specialized art
<BR>For to read chads correctly, you've got to be smart.
<BR>Some chads hang by one corner, let voters lament
<BR>The experts interpret that that vote was meant.
<BR>If hung by two corners, a chad's still presumed
<BR>To register the vote that the voter assumed.
<BR>But if a chad clings by three corners or more
<BR>A tense huddle ensues while the experts deplore.
<BR>They have to determine the voter's intention
<BR>And earmark the ballot for trash or retention.
<BR>Suppose all the chad's left but there is a slight
<BR>Did the voter pull back, afraid to indulge?
<BR>They never will know what really was meant
<BR>But the experts will call this a chad that's pregnant.
<BR>The election's already a plate of spaghetti
<BR>And now we're inspecting small bits of confetti.
<BR>A dent in a chad (not a bulge, keep it simple)
<BR>Is ruled invalid as merely a dimple.
<BR>The world holds its breath while the chad experts
<BR>An election campaign that's grown terrible muddy.
<BR>Not to be beat'round the Bush we don't know what's in
<BR>Did the pins Gore the ballot; did the ballots gore
<BR>It all seems so fitting, this election mosh-mish.
<BR>To my ear, the word "chad" speaks strongly of fish.
<BR>And from the beginning we all seemed to know
<BR>Our choice was chad counting and never shad roe.
<BR>But I have to admit that it seems pretty sad
<BR>In a country like ours so technology-mad.
<BR>That the fate of the nation, for good or for bad
<BR>Hangs not from a thread, nope, it hangs from a chad.
<BR>Feagler is a former editor of the Cleveland Plain
<BR>Dealer and a local
<BR>commentator on life in general.
<BR>Have A Happy Turkey Day
<BR>Ron Katz


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