Announcement to my devoted readership: My promised “Biblical foot-washing practices” blog will have to wait until next month, as instead I discuss politics. But don’t worry, folks, this is as political as I get…
The conventions are over and the presidential candidates and their supporters have had their say. The election season is now in full swing toward a November vote and an uncertain future. God help us!
Personally, it doesn’t matter to me who wins – I have no strong feelings for either candidate. Furthermore, I have no strong allegiance for either party. I am, as political satirist Pat Paulsen once said, “neither right wing nor left wing – I’m middle of the bird.”
Which brings me to what this presidential election is missing -- humor.
During that wonderful era of political turmoil which was the 1960’s and 70’s, comedian Pat Paulsen, who died in 1997 at the age of 69, was truly a candidate for the people. With slogans like “If elected, I will win!” and “We can’t stand Pat!” his comedic campaigns for president, beginning in 1968 and running through the 1990’s, displayed the inherent craziness of the political campaign process. His deadpan humor was “right on” for the times … and is something sorely needed today.
Let’s face it, the political process has become rather predictable. It’s all catchy sound bites and finely tuned speeches to tweak poll numbers in the candidate’s favor. Nothing of any real substance is ever said. The message delivered has to be just vague enough so not to alienate too many swing voters. It’s all become rather formulaic, and rather transparent to the casual viewer, leaving the voter feeling as if representing nothing more than a small, insignificant cog in the presidential election process.
All one can do is laugh - Hahaha. Ha. (Boy, that felt good.)
In that sense, I feel fortunate to have been raised on the humor of Pat Paulsen, as well as on that of other comedians of that era, like Shelley Berman, Vaughn Meader (The First Family), and pianist/satirist Tom Lehrer, whose albums I discovered in my parents’ collection and which I played over and over in my younger years.
Paulsen rose to fame on the Smothers Brothers TV program, and later had a brilliant comedy show of his own around 1970 or 71, which I watched regularly. Never mind that I didn’t get every joke, after all, I was only eight years old at the time. But I got the gist of it.
In 2006, I offered a tip of the hat to Paulsen when, on this website, I blogged my campaign for Massachusetts governor as a write-in candidate of the Whig party – officially I received less than 1% of the vote – with such keen ideas as annexing Maine to reap the benefits of its tax base and a plan to make the state prison system profitable to the point of actually attracting criminals to relocate to the Bay State. (See below for links to some of those now six-year-old blog entries.)
So this November, if neither candidate interests you, consider writing in Pat Paulsen as a protest vote against the meager choice on the ballot.
After all, with two lukewarm candidates possessing no concrete plan for economic recovery between them, “We can’t stand Pat!”
Read more about Pat Paulsen by visiting this website:
And follow my 2006 campaign for governor as a candidate of the Whig party by clicking on these links, representing a smattering of blog entries from the kick-off of my campaign to my appeal for a recount.
Let’s Take Back Maine (10/11/2006):
On the Campaign Trail (10/14/2006):
On the Campaign Trail Part 2 (10/18/2006):
On the Campaign Trail Part 4 (10/24/2006):
Vote Whig Party! (11/07/2006):