Recall This Recall

Gray Davis Arnold Schwarzenegger california governor race California Recall CBS/AP

I'm one of the few people in California not running for governor right now. Actually, I don't think anybody in my family is. My kids are at that age when they don't talk to me very much, so I can't be sure. I doubt that Rascal is running, but I think that according to California law, Labrador retrievers are eligible.

Gray Davis is not somebody who was elected and then suddenly acted in a way that should've shocked the people who elected him. He had already been governor for four years, and got re-elected. And then in the first few months of his second term, some rich, unhappy people organized a recall campaign. When did our national fruit become sour grapes?

When I studied about recall elections as a school kid, I learned that they existed in case an elected official committed a crime or did some other dastardly act. And don't tell me that taking over a government with a huge surplus and turning it into one with an even huger deficit is a dastardly crime. If we recalled everybody who did that, well, you know where that would end.

When President Bush was elected, some Democrats were rather upset with that outcome. Republicans called them "crybabies" and said that if they weren't happy, the American way was to accept the results of the election, and then try to elect somebody else in the next election. I haven't heard those voices calling the California recall forces "crybabies," have you?

After every election, I'm disappointed by the poor voter turnout. Often those who don't vote will say, "I just didn't have the time." Usually, this gets me mad, because it only takes a few minutes to vote. However, in this election, after the voters flip through all the pages to locate their favorite, it may be time for another election. It's actually possible that there will be more candidates than voters. Where are they going to hold a debate with all these people? Dodger Stadium?

And the way this election works is pretty goofy. If 49 percent of the people vote against recalling Davis, he's out. But if the leading vote-getter among the 135 candidates gets only, say, 10 percent of the vote, then he or she would be the winner. So, California could have a new governor whose support is considerably smaller than Davis'. Make sense to you? Then you're probably one of the candidates.

Nobody should really be surprised by this recall election, because we live in a "recall society." People don't accept situations if they aren't 100 percent happy. If things aren't going their way, they bail...or sue. If they start losing a game, they quit. If they get tired of their year-old car, they replace it. If they don't like their nose, breasts, or butt, they get new ones. If their home life isn't perfect, instead of trying to work things out, they "recall" the marriage as quickly as they can.

What if the Pilgrims had made a U-turn after finding things less than perfect here? What if Michael Jordan had quit playing basketball because he didn't win a spot on the team the first time he tried? What if your parents tried to recall you because you were a little colicky?

There's something good about having to "play the cards you're dealt." Being a gracious loser can help you learn how to be a gracious winner. But today people seem to feel entitled to having things their way no matter what. I'm afraid our recall society is going to be here for awhile. I confess that I participate in it, too. In fact, whether you like this column or not, you can exercise your right to recall by reading a completely new column next week.



Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver
  • Lloyd Vries

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