More Random Candidates, Please
Well, I for one am very excited that former professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura (who, as of last Wednesday, wishes to be known as "Jesse the Mind") is now the new governor of Minnesota. I am glad that voters in at least one state decided what I have felt for some time: neither of the two standard options is that good, so you may as well vote for someone fun.
Despite all the jokes everyone is making about this, Jesse Ventura sounds like a pretty interesting guy. The New York Times says that Ventura describes himself "as a fiscal conservative with liberal and moderate social views." The Times also says "He refuses money from special interest groups," and he also "... once replied to a question about getting along with the legislature by baring his grapefruit-sized bicep." Let the man run for president, I say. It would definitely be better than the last presidential election.
Indeed, in the 1996 election, when I had just turned 18, I cast my firm "none of the above" vote for Ross Perot. I am not saying it would have been a good idea to have him as the leader of the free world, but at least it would have been interesting. You could go to bed one night and the next morning Canada could have been conquered and renamed "Moosecock," the fifty-first state.
Between Bob Dole and Bill Clinton, on the other hand, there wasn't a great deal of choice nor excitement. While one is somewhat slimier, and the other is carved out of a large chunk of wood, would it really have made a whole lot of difference who won? There might be policy shifts, but all within the established framework of the United States. Either way, we would not wake up the next day to find private property nationalized or anything. At least now in Minnesota there is the vague possibility that the state senate majority leader might get body-slammed during budget negotiations.
As it is, politics do not hold the interest of the typical American. In the 1996 election, only 91 million of us bothered to vote. I really don't think that this is our fault, fellow Americans. When there are candidates worth voting for, I for one will bother to send for my absentee ballot.
Most races now are a decision between White Man in Blue Suit A or B. Both are usually fairly tall and have very shiny, well-aligned teeth. Both are generally named "Bob," "Bill" or "Jim." Generally neither is capable of clothes-lining his opponent and then hitting him with a chair.
If people are ever going to turn out at the polls in droves, as well we should, there need to be some more compelling candidates. The Republicans led the way here, getting Sonny Bono into the House. His tragic death left a glaring Interesting Person Vacuum in the national government. I would propose a couple of interest groups that I would like to see presented as political candidates:
-- Professional wrestlers. One governorship is not nearly enough. We should have many of them in government, proposing laws, debating, putting political opponents into full nelsons and so forth. Just imagine if a Hulk Hogan equivalent could have been present when Nikita Khrushchev gave his famous speech. "Bury us? Let me tell you something, little man! The only thing that's going to be buried is your carcass when the Exterminator and I get through with your ass!"
-- Movie stars. Well, at least Eddie Murphy. By the end of "The Distinguished Gentleman," I really started to feel that he would make a wonderful real-life congressman. Maybe this is just a personal problem of mine.
-- Baseball players. Current politicians, before each action, do not spend nearly enough time checking the sign, spitting and adjusting themselves.
-- Porn stars. "In addition to providing $37 million in additional funding to subclause 45 d 22 of this bill, madam chairwoman, I would also like to suggest that we adjourn to committee for a little bump and grind."
At least I'd vote if the options were this interesting. It would certainly be much better than the last presidential election. For now, though, it looks as if Jesse "The Body/Mind" Ventura is the lone interesting person in American politics. Good luck, big guy. Just remember, if things get rough, you can always tag for assistance.