Every four years we are subjected to a torturous exhibition by prevaricators, snake oil salesmen, and blatant disseminators of auditory and olfactory pollution (some of them have really bad breath), also known as the presidential campaign.

Life is never meant to be easy. But the vat of slime that constitutes any Leap Year political cycle makes things even more unpleasant.

Whether they are local, state or national elections, political campaigns are quite similar to old time wrestling matches. They were full of pomp and circumstance, and smoke and mirrors.

Our brilliant college professor father was an avid fan of the old wrestling exhibitions. He rarely missed wrestling on television and believed they were authentic. His interest in wrestling continued until he attended a female wrestling event. The lovely and delicate ladies’ performances grossed him out, and he stopped watching the “sport”. Of course, he still clung to the belief that wrestling was real and not merely a show.

The same is true of politics and political campaigns. It is all a game to confuse and entertain the masses. Nothing is what it seems. One of the problems with political entertainment is that it goes from mildly amusing to highly annoying within seconds of the first dude or dudette to announce their intention to run.

Perhaps the entire process needs a major overhaul. The so-called debates run far too long and are not true debates. In fact, the debates are only intended to showcase each networks brilliant staff commentators. The moderators ask the candidates to attack each other, or their questions are fawning, ferocious or Super Bowl-Tuesday-worthy-stupid. Within moments, the viewers’ eyes glaze over and boredom sets in. They take restroom or snack breaks just to get the blood circulating in their bodies.

What if we shake things up a bit? Instead of the proper podiums and presidentially dressed candidates posturing on stage, a large vat of Jell-O is center stage for the first gathering.  Each candidate has the option to come on stage au natural or in a swimsuit. Then they must all climb into the jiggly contents and answer questions.

If a candidate does not answer the question or if there is disagreement voiced by the other wannabees, all objecting parties are free to engage him or her in some honest pushing, shoving, and general Jell-O wrestling. At the second gathering, the vat is filled with mud, but the rest of the process is the same as the first encounter. At the end of each debate, the candidates are lined up and hosed down.

Viewers would be glued to their televisions, enjoying the real down and dirty engagement by the usually anally-constricted candidates. People across the country would lose weight because escapes to the kitchen for snacks would mean missing even a second of the politicians’ antics. Such events would be open disagreements, unlike the back-stabbing and shadowy world of politics that goes back to Thomas Jefferson’s time, and earlier.

The third event would require all candidates to wear T-Shirts with Presidential Candidate emblazoned on the front, skintight yoga pants, and running shoes. Each candidate must answer detailed policy questions. The honesty and completeness of their replies will determine whether they must run a 5k, 10k or ½ marathons (that’s 13.1 miles). Depending on the size of their bellies and posteriors, the incentive to answer the questions and tell the truth will be proportionate to the amount of weight they will have to lug.

If one aspires to be the leader of our country and the free world, their health and BMI should be a factor. In the interest of transparency, candidates who are on the corpulent side will not be able to hide their muffin tops or concrete and protruding bellies in the compulsory swimsuits, Speedos or yoga pants.

Since our suggestions are only wishful thinking, the Leap Year ushers in campaigning as usual. And, the country embarks on the path of the lemmings — running screaming into the night begging for the campaigning and relentless phone calls to stop.


Visit Elizabeth Cowan’s website: www.elizabethcowan.com. Follow her on Twitter @LizCowan4

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