Flavin's Corner


Interview At One First Street N.E.

With Florida's election results finally certified, Bush is setting up a transition team to secure a smooth move-in day on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2001. An obstacle could be the Supreme Court and any decision they might reach regarding the counting and recounting of the Florida vote. Were this early America we might expect Gore and Bush to duel at ten paces, like Vice-President (Col.) Burr and ex-Secretary of the Treasury (Gen.) Hamilton in 1804, settling their differences once and for all. Burr and Hamilton could have petitioned a court to rule on individual grievances, but instead choose a premeditated, illegal code duello, euphemistically referred to as an "interview." This morning, using disputatious lawyers as opposed to flintlock pistols, Gore and Bush will have an interview at One First Street N.E., the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., and the outcome, other than to predict further "interviews," is anything but certain.

The money I've made from bar bets as to which "president" is on a ten dollar bill would indicate many individuals, especially drunks, are unprepared to wager regarding early presidents and current currency. Al Hamilton was a dynamic fellow who lived large (for a short guy) and gets credit for much of our national economic and financial framework. Some have likened him to Clinton because Al was involved in our nation's first sex scandal (with a married broad); an incident he survived by the skinniest of revolutionary hairs. His "Federalist" contributions are highly regarded, the Jefferson-Hamilton exchange is important (though way yawn), and his hard work as Secretary of the Treasury got him sharing a ten-spot with a building and four automobiles. Alternative must-read argues Al was a Freemasonic puppet, then turned concerned "Christian" and probably committed suicide by not firing directly at Burr, and/or was a guilt ridden bisexual, that is to say gay. [Note: Gay, however, unlike Ben Franklin on the hundred dollar bill, the other current none-"Dead President" featured on our paper currency, who was way gay in Paris with the Frenchettes, though gay in a strictly happy sense. Also, the ten thousand dollar bill bears the image of the only other none-"Dead President," Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, which hasn't been current since 1969 and the government halting of the distribution of $500, $1000, $5000, and $10,000 bills.] Al was gay?

That certain early Americans dipped their quills in unconventional wells is proving to be an ongoing and invaluable resource for humanists. The recognized descendents of Washington and Jefferson who resulted from interracial affairs contribute passionate and timeless commitments toward the American ideal of equality (though perhaps not in any acknowledged and fair way). I've often thought of Al as an early American Chris Marlow (concentrating on fiscal policies rather than on being a playwright), and of mouthing off and being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. His 1797 candid acceptance of being caught paying extortion to an adventurous cuckold and the subsequent ninety-seven page pamphlet with saucy details surprised most everyone. Yet, his marriage somehow overcame the adultery, as well as the 1801 tragic death of their firstborn son, Philip, from a duel with a Republican. Though his wife and children handled their grief passably, Hamilton could not. Using the same pistols his dead son had, the same dueling location in Weehawken, New Jersey, Al gambled attitude and honor and wasted his shot purposefully at an overhead branch; the final, desperate act of a heartbroken man. The Vice President of the United States of America, Aaron Burr, a Republican and pénis extraordinaire, hit his mark, fled state warrants for his arrest, and was welcomed back in Washington, D.C., where he was forgiven and allowed to finish out Jefferson's term. Al got a great funeral and images of his face are pressed against various buttocks countless times a day. Tough luck…

The recent Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis (New York: Knopf, 2000) opens with a somber overview of what compelled Burr and Hamilton to duel it out. Ellis seems to favor a scenario of Burr aiming for a thigh or knee injury and accidentally sending a one ounce, .54 caliber lead ball into Hamilton's side, causing much damage. He agrees with Henry Adams assessment of the duel being "the most dramatic moment in the early politics of the Union," and chooses to be more at ease with scenes from a reconstructed drama, than concerned with expressing outrage at the reality of a Vice President of the United States committing murder! It's one thing to overlook Freemason conspiracies, or that long, cold winter at Valley Forge with a young Burr, Al, Al's "good friend" John, and the openly gay, German drill master, Baron von Steuben, and any residual bad feelings between Burr and Al, but skipping over the Vice President angle? Ellis has taught and written about American history for some years and though I enjoyed Founding Brothers, I remain troubled over his cavalier approach to murder.

Ignoring the horror of the crime is little different than someone suggesting that Gore borrow a handgun, take out Bush, get Clinton to pardon him, become president, Clinton then moves to NYC, is elected mayor, and parties often at Hamilton's grave. The suggestion would be ludicrous and illegal. One should never condone or encourage a Vice President of the United States by tolerating murder. It just wouldn't be right…

Today's "interview" at the U.S. Supreme Court is probably just a dress rehearsal for a second appeal, perhaps in a week and a half by Gore after the Florida courts go round and round and still come back with a Bush victory. Should the second "interview" come about, the appeal will likely concern uncounted votes, as well as problems encountered by Black and elderly Jewish voters in Florida. Such an appeal may face an answer of "America is promised a fair election, not necessarily an accurate one," but could strike a core chord within the court and prompt an opinion to uphold the value of the individual vote. It could, …but the current U.S. Supreme Court usually refuses to rewrite scripts. A second "interview," a last chance, and yet more stage-notes to our election drama. We can probably look forward to an upcoming tv-movie, though the ending is still in question.

Wondering who'll play Katherine Harris,


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