al and george an american opera by Noah Chriss

Lyrics Page


1. An American Family- It's the beginning of the campaign and the first thing the candidates need to do is introduce themselves and declare what it is they stand for.

Al Gore: Seven years you've seen me on TV,

you've heard me in the news,
and you've read about the work I do.
But there is, another side to me, a side you never see:
that I am just a part of a regular American family.

When I was young, my father made quite sure
I learned life's lesson's well
and always kept two feet firmly planted upon the ground
"Chop that wood" he'd say, 'til it was done.
I'd chop that wood, long days, 'til it was done.
Thus from an early age I learned:
Always work hard and keep working until the job was done.

Off to school: academics and sports and Harvard.
Four long years, gained a degree in...something or other
Then I proposed and married the girl of my dreams
Life was bliss and the future seemed bright to me.

But then, when a man must go to war, the choice is not his
His honor demands, he cannot back down
And so offered a camera in Vietnam, I took pictures of war
and happy I was to come back to my wife.

Tipper: Yes, right from the start, I knew this day eventually would come
Al: Tipper Gore, as Senator she's always been there at my side
Tipper: Rest assured that I believe in the same things that Al believes
Al and Tipper: We, just like all Americans,
hold deep concerns at the quality of education here.
We know how uncertain the moral climate is.
We want our four children to grow up
in the best America that can possibly be.

Al: So now I'm here to say I'll fight for you
For those of you without, I will help you claim your share.
I won't rest, till all have had a chance to realize their dreams
I will work 'til the end,
until this great land is the land of opportunity for all once again.

Al Gore (Baritone)- Glen Guhr
Tipper Gore (Mezzo-Soprano)- Rachel Matzke


2. CNN: "Millions and millions"- The media watches candidate's campaign contributions as if it was a sport. At this point in time George Bush Jr. seems to be leaving the others behind in his dust.

Wolf Blitzer: In politics...
Cokie Roberts: In politics...

(alternating) the fund raising has begun,
and the clear winner is the current governor of Texas.
With some thirty-seven million dollars,
George Bush seems to be an early favorite.
He's got high-tech interests, oil money,
thousand dollar lunches (plenty!)
Millions and millions, the donors keep on lining up
and money just keeps pouring in...

In second place is John McCain.
He's doing well despite the way he likes to rail against
the way that money sways the candidates.
...Of which there's Keyes and Bauer, Alexander,
Quayle, Buchanon, Dole and Forbes
They're doing fair but when compared
are merely scraping nickels off the floor.

And how 'bout Gore?
...Campaigning strong.
He's got to go out there and stir up support
from the large and fickle labor unions.
Something almost always necessary
for a democrat that's out campaigning.

(together) So it appears, the candidate to beat will be Bush.
More Senators and state Governors
have looked to him to endorse.
Meanwhile Bradley and Gore have made their plans.
Ten debates across this fair land,
and may victory be given to the best man.

Wolf Blitzer (tenor)- Richard Barrett
Cokie Roberts (soprano)- Christina Villareale


3. Love Me I'm A Liberal- There's nothing quite like watching two compassionate liberals rip each other to shreds. How can you criticize a person who says that he only wants to help the underserved? You'll have to accuse him of being a closet conservative.

Bradley: Good Afternoon, I'm here to share what it is I'm for

Core democratic virtues make me the ideal choice
Whatever Gore can offer, I'm sure to give you more
He'll try to tell you he's lib, but I am lib to the core
Gore: Now's a good time, let's air that claim.
Show of hands please, how many here remember Reagan's plans
Tax cuts paid for by the those without, the poor,
the down-and-out...Thank Bradley's vote for that!
I'll never sell you out. Whenever you're in doubt,
Just think of these magic words: "The People Versus the Powerful"
Bradley: Take a good look and you'll see Gore as he really is
A conservative in sheepskin no matter how he spins
A strong enemy of abortion, tobacco's long time friend
The NRA is so pleased he could be one of them
I'll give health insurance to the poor...
Gore: Hunger is a thing we can't ignore...
Bradley & Gore: So we must pour all our resources
into what we're fighting for!
Gore: Ironic choice of words considering
the manner in which you just quit the Senate
Bradley: I've paid my dues to yon Democrats
so you will not gain to impugn me like that
Gore: You're a quitter...
Bradley: You're so packaged, wrapped in malice!
Say anything just to stay in power!
(ahem) change of topic now, let's talk about health insurance plans
Mine is the only one which will for sure cover everyone

Gore: For something this grand you'll have to raise a new tax
Bradley: There is no need for a tax
Gore: But you must surely admit to a tax...
Bradley: Oh no I won't have to raise a new tax
Gore: Then please say how do you intend to pay
Bradley: A surplus beckons to be spent the right way.
Gore: It's nowhere nearly as big as your dreams
Bradley: It's big enough we should help those in need
Gore: And what if health spending goes up again?
Bradley: Well under some circumstances I might
Gore: Well now we seem to be getting somewhere
Bradley: Do you deny the need to help those who are uninsured?
Gore: Did you hear that folks? He'll be raising your tax
Bradley: There's nothing more important now to enact
Gore: But most of all we don't need a new tax
Bradley: I think we've already covered that fact.

Good people of New Hampshire, soon you will cast your vote.
It's courage and deep commitment this country's asking for
But don't settle for a centrist, a fence sitter like Al Gore
Come get the real thing you'll see, that I am lib to the core

Bill Bradley (baritone)- Mike Drumheller
Al Gore (baritone)- Glen Guhr


4. Hate- McCain's a decorated war veteran with charisma. He's an accomplished Senator. He's got legions of young enthusiastic followers. He's got...a big mouth, which is probably going to get him into trouble. As he himself said: "You'd better watch me, I'm probably going to say something stupid"

McCain Supporters: We're coming through! Straight on! Strong!

Eyes ahead! Set...Locked! The message simple and true!
We want you to come join our group
It's called the straight talk express, that says it best.
The message direct from the candidate
Because money and politics is a stale mix,
and there'll be no more business as usual.....
McCain: I'm John S. McCain! Say that name, Join the refrain,
I'll make it plain, I'm here to play and shake up the game!
Some thirteen years spent in the Senate
will reveal unpleasant truths: Money corrupts...
Democracy fails... The process derails, the result that entails:
Though the honest travail, special interests prevail!
There's no end. And what is the answer? I'll tell you:
Campaign reform. This is my drum and I will beat it.
Let me share what I've seen and how I've seen it.
Airplanes bought for an Airforce that won't need them.
Democrats gridlocked tight by trial lawyers.
Republicans wholly owned by giant HMO's
What we need is someone out in Washington-
To sweep it clean!
Supporters: Can you feel the wind blowing in and lifting high?
Things are stirring, let it bring us over to the other side.
McCain: I'm here to usher in a brand new awakening.
All across this great land will come a new way of thinking.
You can expect me to bring the highest respect to the high office.
And I will say I do not need on-the-job training
I am ready, fully prepared, for this undertaking
As a veteran I can clearly lead the military
I'm calling all Americans to join me.
McCain and Supporters: Follow me... Come with me... You will see...
McCain: ...that I'm sending out the call to all independents
Yes, democrats and free libertarians, even vegetarians!
I'll say it now that I'm a proud conservative,
a true Reagan standard bearer.
But those who hold beliefs diverging from my own,
I maintain we still respectfully can work together.
I'll make it known the things that I can do without:
Those who spin the politics of exclusion,
all those cold hearted agents of intolerance,
who claim to preach in lofty tones, but really don't
Like Falwell and Robertson, who can only berate,
Spewing bile like Sharpton from a pulpit of hate!
Their misguided followers I'll gladly take,
But their demagogue leaders I repudiate!
They're forces of evil you should make no mistake!...
Yes, I'll have it known...
So climb aboard, we'll go, it's called the straight talk express
that says it best, the message direct from the candidate...

John McCain (tenor)- Steve Wall
John McCain Supporters- Heather Mullin, Rachel Matzke, Eric Eliasen, Brian Morris


5. Tipper's Aria- Being a campaign wife is a lonely and stressful ordeal.

Tipper Gore: It's just another day on the trail,

the long campaign trail
Meanwhile my own life gets put on hold, and I say to myself
'my time is worthwhile',
yet sometimes I feel I am just a transparency,
while all of the choices get made-in a room somewhere else.
Then they come out with plans,
and it's my turn to smile and say "Okay"

Thirteen months, such a long time
Absent even when together
No great solace when reminded,
'yes, there's only three months to go'

So spend another day the same way:
long gripes to be heard, local news to be learned
Hear them out, 'I want this', 'I want that'
Can you please raise this tax
He wants more, she wants less
Can you help me through this mess?
My dear husband's got the patience of a clock.

Come campaign time watch him he thrives
Yet not realize all those small sacrifices
that I've made to be the political wife for him.

So spend another day, the same way:
You visit a place, but you don't see it.
Stop...shake their hands, but you won't see them again.
Listen to the daily slew of cruel attacks
Spend a month, maybe more, for a point in a poll
Horrible I know to say,
but I hope that this will be the last campaign.

Tipper Gore (mezzo-soprano)- Rachel Matzke



On that fateful day, November 7th, it becomes clear that this will be one of the closest elections in U.S. history. After the polls close and the evening stretches on, the media focuses on the unresolved count in Florida. By midnight it becomes clear that whoever claims Florida's batch of electoral votes will take the entire election and win the presidency. At first CNN Calls It for Gore. Then they call it for Bush. Then they can't make up their mind. They dutifully report Gore's phone call to Bush to concede the election, along with the retraction that comes a few hours later. Then they start to talk about the election irregularities, more of which will be heard about later. Much more.

6. Wolf Blitzer Explains the Electoral College- What is the source of all this chaos? Al Gore won the vote didn't he? And what was the real reason for the founding fathers creating the electoral college? Some people are saying it is so that the smaller states get a heavier weighting. Others say it is because the founding fathers didn't trust the electorate to choose wise men over demagogues. Wolf Blitzer will set the record straight.

Wolf Blitzer: Ten score and twenty years ago, when democracy was new

and there were no precedents for the tide of current events
and they wanted government that was for all the people,
by the people, so they say
but no one knew just what to do about the office of the president:
How long to serve? One term of more? How to impeach?
And most of all, when they thought about it,
no one knew just how he should be picked:
Should congress choose? A general vote? Or compromise.
And so they met to decide what to do for the new constitution.

One thing they worried over long was when Washington was gone,
and there were no famous men big enough to fill his shoes,
and the public had to choose between
an unknown man or local sons
then every state would vote for their own favorite sons
and what would happen then, perhaps a dissolution of the union.?

All come to naught.... chaos to reign...
fractured domain... a clamor for kings....
Someone steps in.... Democracy ends!

Thus comes the birth of compromise:
Groups of men, picked and chosen by their state.
Then, every man to cast two votes,
one vote to go to someone from another state
Soon came the thing they could not foresee:
All those dreaded parties came to be.
National candidates came free.
Thus was the system far outdated quite quickly!

Yes but the story won't end there.
Ruling parties saw quite well if they wanted to succeed
with the men that they would field
then it was just a simple trick to change the rules that mattered
so that from now on the state would speak as one.
Soon it caught on...at first a few...then more and more.
Eventually twenty years had not gone by
before the entire country climbed aboard
From this point on winner take all, sharing was gone.
And that is what holds the key to the conflict going on currently

So, for a rule two centuries old, just what does the future hold?
A look at history will show, minor changes come and go,
Such as allowing blacks to vote and women's suffrage....
People young enough to be in military uniform
But nothing quite as major
as the candidate who gets the most votes actually claiming victory!

Wolf Blitzer (tenor)-Richard Barrett

7. Lament of the Hebrews- It is the day after the election and the sounds of anguish can be heard. It is the senior citizens of Palm Beach County and they are mourning the results of their ballot snafu the led them to accidentally vote for George Bush. They want the world to hear their message.

Hebrew Choir: Long before the day was done

Did we know we'd be forsaken
Go and cast your sorrow out...to the wind my love
For they shall not hear you.

Raise your eyes to the setting sun
What has past can't be undone
So it is: the ballot's cast, the deception's past
and they shall not care, no they will not care
for our forlorn tribe

Gnash your teeth for cursed are we
to have placed our precious seal
on the prince who scorns our plight, who abjures our rights,
who calumnies with those pernicious men
who despise our tribe.

Cast down in ashes with sackcloth for garb
Our most plaintive sadness they surely will disregard
(violin solo)
Soloist: Though tears we have shed, oh children
Hope is not lost
We must be stout of heart, oh Zion,
when lamentation's done
Go and raise your voices loud.
Steel your will and stand uncowed.
Truth will spring from a new headcount!
For it must be done....
Hebrew Choir: But it can't be done!...No it won't be done...
for our forlorn tribe.

Chorus-Heather Mullin, Rachel Matzke, Eric Eliasen, Brian Morris
Soloist- Brian Morris


8. CNN- Things Are Breaking Down- Democracy is ending. At least we have CNN to analyze it for us.

Wolf Blitzer: Let's review what has been a triplet

of bad news for Al Gore and the Democrats:
Florida's supreme court has ruled that there will not be a new vote
in the land of the cross-eyed butterflies.
Cokie Roberts: Setbacks for Gore...
Wolf: As expected the democrats in Seminole have lost their suit
to disregard ballots that were altered illegally...
Cokie: Now nowhere to go...
Bernard Shaw: Desist says Bush...
Wolf: More importantly for Al Gore
is the hand count that was stopped in Miami Dade
when interrupted by the GOP dial-a-mob
Wolf: Now ballots by the crate find their way
on a truck to the Tallahassee Court.
Honorable Judge N. S. Sauls to hear the case.
So Gore duly claims that some votes
were not seen due to worn out machines,
and so simply put this hand count should proceed!
Wolf and Cokie together: One hundred sixty-nine votes for Gore
before the counting stopped
Thus might a full count be
a fate diverging from the one that we now see.
Wolf: Lots of questioning in the courts will be done
on the point of old machines.
Do they make indents when they should be punching clean?
Do the holding wells end up packed,
making the paper chads hard to fall
or do these quirky flaws change the vote not at all?
Bernard Shaw: Conflicting laws...
Cokie: When will this end?
Wolf: In the background lie bigger issues:
Who can lay forth the claim that they're the one with final say?
Bernard Shaw: Patience Gore pleads...
Cokie: Nation's riven...
Wolf: Katherine Harris is secretary of the state in Florida.
As a strong Republican she's spitting nails.
Cokie: Unknown still, the next four years...
Wolf: Locked in struggle with Katherine
is Florida's own Supreme Court.
Hanging in the scales the future of the entire world!

Wolf Blitzer (tenor)- Richard Barrett
Cokie Roberts (soprano)- Christina Villareale
Bernard Shaw (bass)- Mathew Curran


9. Twilight of the Politicians- Is this the end of democracy? The Titans appear before the cameras and microphones in the final battle.

Katherine Harris: Hark the day has come.

The appointive script's been sealed
Fate shall not be repealed
Don't try to stop...will not be stopped
The road to the city will not be blocked

The Florida Supreme court appears with the lights of Muspelheim shining on them. The three dissenters gavels are motion but they are not heard! It is the four who will oppose Katherine Harris.

Florida Supreme Court: Halt thy hand be stayed!
This count shall proceed.
Secretary take heed:
All votes will count, intent will count
Your dark design will not be allowed
Katherine Harris: Judges withdraw...
You've overstepped your bounds.
My eminence is just and sound.
If proceedings bind uncertainty
the law brings the rights to the assembly.

It is Judge N Sanders Saul who is the first to hear the Bush suit against the hand recount. His throne comes spinning onto the stage as the winds of Niffleheim whip at his robes.

Judge N Sanders Sauls: Behold the contentious cards
Brought by gold chariot with armed guard
Machine counted once, then counted again
A hand count will not be a salve for the time at hand
A fortnight gone by since the law's deadline
Thus, this petition is....Denied!
Florida's Supreme Court: Verdict over-ruled!
This court holds forth the final word
Begin the count. No delay!
And true intent shall be discerned, and obeyed!
Katherine Harris: We will pass your gates.
Your judgement holds no sway.
Statutes shall be faced,
and this travesty erased!

Katherine Harris (soprano)- Emily Clubb
N.S. Sauls (bass)- Mathew Curran
Florida Supreme Court- Heather Mullin, Rachel Matzke, Eric Eliasen, Brian Morris



Finale- At this point the opera features an 11 minute grand finale where Al Gore and George Bush make their case before the Supreme Court. The Justices debate amongst themselves and then vote to halt the hand recount, thus leaving a final tally that gives Florida's electoral votes, and the election, to Bush.

10. I Will Keep Working- Gore is defeated, yet still indomitable. He has spent so much effort and come so close to claiming the presidency. Now the Supreme Court has spoken, what else is there to do? The clock has run out, the rope is at it's end, and a political era is at it's end. There's nothing left to do but to give a gracious concession speech.

Al Gore: A while ago, I sent congratulations to

and spoke with our new president.
For now, it's time to put rancor aside.
May God see fit to bless his stewardship.

It's been a trying time for all.
But resolution's come at last,
through honored institutions of
our hallowed great democracy.

Some may say, our president is hampered now,
but I believe this is not true.
I'm willing to assist him now,
As I urge everyone to do.

And I caution those who have seen...
let no one perceive as weakness this contest.
for this shall prove how truly strong our democracy is.
As for me, there's something I recall my father said to me.
"Defeat just as well as victory
can shape the soul and let the glory out"

One regret, I won't be there to lend a hand
to those with burdens weighing down,
and those who's voices can't or won't be heard.
I hear... I promise I will not forget.

And now with love for family,
deep thanks to staff and volunteers,
It's time for me to say goodbye,
and may God bless America.

Al Gore: Glen Guhr





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