Having dutifully endured all the debates among the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, and having even forced my high school speech class to follow at least one hour of said torment so that they might learn how to listen with a critical and analytical ear, I'm afraid I'm left feeling less than enlightened. And my speech class isn't speaking to me.
Pardon my English, but nobody said nothing I ain't already heard, and about 200 times at that! Come on guys, where's your verve, your wit, your spirit?
In that first debate, poor President Bush looked as if he'd just stepped off a 50-hour bus ride through the desert with my cantankerous Aunt Edna as his seatmate. I couldn't help but wonder why in the heck he'd even want another four years of such vicious harassment. I mean, he's already rich, plus he'll get a nice fat pension that should allow him to keep his little house on the prairie, eat at Piccadilly's twice a week, and still be able to pay for his prescription drugs, (unlike many among us.)
Eremitic Vice President Cheney seemed so downcast and gloomy, Eeyore would have been proud.
And don't even get me started on those Stepford-candidates, John Kerry and John Edwards, with their cartoonish grins and $600 haircuts. They must have thought such flagrant "attributes" would greatly impress us guys who can barely afford a cleaning, much less a crown, and who cut our hair with a Flowbee and a shop-vac.
But I'm here today to offer the American people a fresh alternative. (And no, I don't mean Carrot Top.) I mean me. Yep, little ol' Southern-born-and-bred, cotton-pickin', Baw-Buh-Q-lovin', sweet-tea-drinkin' ME!
Well, why not? I've got an edu-ma-cation --Sally Struthers sent me a diploma and an autographed 8 X 10 to prove it. And besides which, I'm a fast learner. I only needed to ask the school secretary my copy machine code 797 times (twice while she was in labor), before I had it downpat!
And talk about a platform -- why, you could build a bridge to Hawaii on all the pillars I'd put in place!
First of all, I really would go with a 10 percent across-the-board
income tax. Even those who've never paid any taxes before could just give up cigarettes and beer and do fine, which, by the way, I'd have no trouble whatsoever sales-taxing out the wazoo.
Secondly, I'd re-institute Roosevelt's WPA situation to ease our unemployment woes. There'd be plenty of work available at my house alone, considering my mountainous and musty laundry room, to a yard that has single-handedly removed the rainforests from the endangered list.
Plus, I'd be completely in favor of putting several nice, warm bodies in place to man all those automated answering systems I've encountered over the years. I'm still holding for the gas company, even though that last leak has pretty much rendered three guinea pigs and a ferret unusually complacent.
Thirdly, as for Iraq, I'm all for destroying evil, but I'm certainly a bit weary of sending our sweet boys over there to be slaughtered. Does anybody know what the Corleones or Sopranos are doing lately? I guess I'm sort of a fish-or-cut-bait kind of girl, and those guys really don't waste much time negotiating, capiche?
Finally, the greatest pledge I hope to keep would be to switch us all over to a four-day work week.
You heard me. No more "Blue Mondays." Absenteeism from work and school would drastically decrease. Church attendance, hopefully, would increase. Families and friends would have more time together to visit and just be. Stress levels would significantly diminish, thus lowering our health-care bills and insurance costs. The economy would bounce back because all my gal-pals and I would have more time to do lunch and shop. Why, I'd actually have time to bake a cake and eat it, too.
I know, I know -- the "powers that be" will never go for any of my proposals, least of all anything that cuts into the almighty profit or our puritanical heritage. We're all too deeply immersed in this destructive element to truly consider the lilies of the field.
But I can dream, can't I? This beautiful land I love fully endorses that right.
Let's just hope our elected leaders haven't totally forgotten howto imagine and create something better, because sometimes it's really hard to keep convincing my oldest son, whose first time to vote comes up next month, that we're still a nation with a government built of, for, and by the people, and any choice is better than none.
(Mindy Jeffers is a Martinez resident.)
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