Archived Story

Elections bring out the American in us

Published 9:56am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Column: Tales From Exit 22

It’s that time of year when you can’t throw a rock without hitting a politician.

That’s what makes elections fun.

It’s about all that’s fun about elections. If the election were over today, most of us would be happy.

As much as some candidates spend running for office, it’d be cheaper to rent one to them. We vote for people who have to pay to get jobs. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a Congressional seat. The process lasts so long that by November, we’re voting to make it stop.

The length of election campaigns should be shortened. Negative campaigns prove that the higher a monkey climbs, the more you can see its butt. It’s difficult to listen to one run down another. If you were applying for a job, you wouldn’t do that to another applicant. Each office should be sold to the highest bidder. That would eliminate all the miserable political ads we’re subjected to. Ads filled with people with nothing to say talking to people who aren’t listening. Campaigns are like washing a window. All the dirt seems to be on the other side. Vote wrong and you’ll burn without health insurance in the flames of a bad economy. A candidate should try saying all good things about his opponent. That would confuse the voters into electing him.

Here’s the entire script of a 1952 TV commercial for Dwight Eisenhower, “Ike for president. Ike for president. You like Ike, I like Ike, everybody likes Ike for president. Bring out the banners, beat the drums, we’ll take Ike to Washington. We don’t want John or Dean or Harry. Let’s do that big job right. Let’s get in step with the guy that’s hep. Get in step with Ike. You like Ike, I like Ike, everybody likes Ike for president. Bring out the banners, beat the drums, we’ll take Ike to Washington. We’ve got to get where we are going, travel day and night. Let Adlai go the other way. We’ll all go with Ike. You like Ike, I like Ike, everybody likes Ike for president. Bring out the banners, beat the drums, we’ll take Ike to Washington. We’ll take Ike to Washington!”

America is a land of promise, especially during an election year. Politics offers promising careers. A politician shakes your hand before elections and your confidence afterward, but before you call anyone in Washington a clown, consider that clowns make people happy.

I’ve never had anyone running for office, other than a county commissioner, stop at my rural home and ask for my vote. A congressman running for re-election took a wrong turn and found himself in Hartland. He asked Weasel for his vote. Wrong guy to ask. Weasel thinks he should get one vote for each year he’s lived in the precinct. Weasel told him that he had a theory about politicians.

“What’s that?” the legislator asked.

“Well, if you elect a politician to one term, he learns to do his job. If you elect him to a second term, he learns how to not do it.”

“Do I look like someone who does nothing?” the politician asked.

“No, you look like a slow learner,” Weasel said. Weasel votes for the candidate who has the fewest yard signs.

One year, my father found a turnip in the garden. He found turnips in the garden every year, but this turnip resembled Richard Nixon. He thought it was amazing how the turnip could look so much like Nixon and still look like a turnip. My father took it as a sign. He voted for Nixon. Nixon was elected because he got the turnip grower’s vote.

A politician is a person who has an extremely strong position that he is willing to change. We can never have an honest political race until we develop an honest human race.

I was driving through corn-intensive land after speaking in Illinois. I stopped at Dixon to visit Ronald Reagan’s childhood home and visited Galena to see if General Grant was home. He wasn’t. I enjoy my visits to the land the Land of Lincoln even if Honest Abe was born in Kentucky. It occurred to me that if Lincoln’s name were on the ballot, he’d be elected.

Weasel complains that it was better in the days when political machines openly paid people to vote. He reasons that, at least then, voters got something out of the deal.

Remember, if you donate $20 to a candidate and you never hear from him again, it was worth it.


Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.