Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
"Esteemed congress delegates," he began." I wish to make only a very short statement to you. While I was abroad, some of my friends kindly announced me as a candidate without asking me whether I would accept."
Slight stirrings in the Marcus ranks. "Hear! Hear!"
"Let him talk!" shouted Steineck.
Levy began over again. "I have only a very short statement to make to you. I am highly honored by this nomination. But I do not wish to put the congress to the trouble of voting on a roll call. According to our rules for the presidential elections, each delegate must step up to the platform in person and deposit his ballot when his name is called. This procession consumes four hours. Then comes the count. Two hours more for that. Then, perhaps, a second ballot has to be taken. I cannot take such a loss of time on my conscience. Pity to waste it. Because I am determined, even if I am elected, not to serve."
"Why? Why?" cried his adherents.
"My reasons, ladies and gentlemen, are simple. I feel that I still have much energy to devote to my work. If you are satisfied with what I am doing, let me go on as I am. Electing me to the presidency would mean sending me into retirement. And, despite my gray hairs, I believe myself still too young for that. For the rest, Dr. Marcus will express my views. I caIled on him this morning immediately after my arrival, having heard that he was the opposition candidate. We came to an understanding. We're not so divided as our respective friends. ..(Laughter)... Dr. Marcus will state his own views and mine to you. As for me, I stick to my resolve. Dear friends, many thanks for your good intentions, but please don't elect me!"
There was a stir of uneasiness throughout the hall. From all sides rose cries of displeasure, surprise, and disappointment. As he left the platform, Levy was mobbed with questions by his followers. He smiled and shrugged.
"I like that man," announced Kingscourt. "Talk he cannot, but he seems a fine fellow."
The "monkey cage" interpreted the incident otherwise. Blau suggested that the grapes were too sour.
"His nation is resignation," suggested Gruen wittily.
But Schiffmann said, "Well, now, Mr. Schlesinger! Here is a man that doesn't want to snap up office. What do you say to this?"
"Eh? What I say? Do I know what his present post brings him? He seems able to get along on it. He is a practical man. Who knows what understanding he and Marcus came to? We ought to know that, too, before we can judge."
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