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Will it be exciting like 2003?

With all the excitement that 2003 bred, I sit and ponder what excitement 2004 will bring.

One thing's for sure Š it will (or should be) just as exciting as 2003.

For one thing, this is an election year. Numerous city, state and national races are to be decided this year. I'm anxiously awaiting the presidential race Š hoping it's every bit as exciting as the 2000 race.

Only this time, I hope Florida gets it right (the proper way to vote, that is), and that there's no confusion as to truly is the President of the United States.

I was working in Birmingham during the Bush-Gore debacle and couldn't even fathom what must be going through the two candidates minds.

Of course, being the all-knowing master of US History and Government that I am (OK, just a joke), I understood completely that just because Al Gore received the most votes, that meant we had elected George Bush as President.

I mean, come on, everybody knows that the one gets the most votes doesn't win. Right?

This year, although it appears Bush will easily win re-election, the Democratic Primary should be interesting to watch. With Howard Dean winning the praise and endorsement of so many Democratic leaders, he's a shoe-in to win the nomination. Right?

I'm not so sure. Bill Clinton wasn't the top dog right out of the gate. Retired General Wesley Clark seems to me to be a pretty viable candidate Š he's also a little more conservative than the other Democratic front-runners.

Of course, in Alabama, there is no race Š it's a given that Bush will win our state and our nine electoral votes. Heck, the Alabama Legislature even moved our qualifying deadline to accommodate the Republican National Convention so that Bush could be on the ballot in the state.

Locally, I'm interested in a number of races. I'm anxious to see who's going to toss their hat into the ring and answer the call to be willing to lead a life of public service.

There are several qualified people in our area. It's just a matter of who's willing to lead a public life for the next four years and have every ounce of their being scrutinized publicly.

One thing I hope doesn't happen is another war. Last year provided quite enough of that. It sold a lot of newspapers, boosted television ratings, and yes Š even united our country on several occasions. However, I'm like a lot of people and simply wish that all that could wind down and our guys and gals overseas can come back home soon.

And while I don't know what lies ahead in 2004, I can say that what's already happened this year has been interesting.

We've got split National Champions in football, and Brittney Spears continues to learn the meaning of the phrase "publicity stunt."