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Let’s put some buzz in elections (02/11/2007)
By Frances Edstrom

Some people want to invent a better mouse trap.

Me? I want to invent a better election.

Several years ago I floated a notion for making the presidential election more fun, less of a hassle. In addition, no one will say in August, "Oh, no! Three months to go and I'm already sick of this election business!"

My old idea, which never seemed to get much traction, was that every registered voter of a certain age, probably 35, would be entered in a drawing. On "election" day, the sitting president would draw names for president, vice president, etc., etc. Each state could draw for Senate and Congress. Wow! Talk about a reality show.

But, as I say, that idea didn't quite catch on.

It occurred to me, as I found myself muttering, "I'm already sick of this presidential campaigning," that I'd better come up with a better idea. Here are a few.

1. A game of musical chairs among declared candidates to be played during the seventh inning stretch at the first game of the World Series. Winner takes presidency, second takes vice presidency, etc. Could get to be as popular as the Super Bowl (can I say that?) half-time show.

2. Essay contest. Judges to be retired English teachers chosen in random drawing in each state. Essay must be written with monitors in attendance, to assure that there is no ghost-writing going on.

3. Math test. The budget is such a contentious issue, perhaps we should be looking for a president who can really work those numbers.

4. Triathlon of the first three ideas. That would ensure a well-rounded individual.

5. Red state, blue state. Throw the names of all the red states in one basket, all the blue states in another. Highest ranking Republican picks from the blue state basket, highest ranking Democrat picks the red winner. Red and blue winners go into another basket. The Pope (we might have to choose from among the leaders of all the world's religions for this honor, to be picked at random by a monkey with no religious affiliation) picks the winner, while blindfolded.

6. Throw out the national presidency all together. Have each state govern itself. Look at how many different countries there are in South America, and all we have in North America are three! The more I think about it, the more I like this idea. It certainly would make the term "World Series" more believable. And it might cut down on those professional athletes jumping from team to team all the time. You want to be a New York Yankee, but you're a Minnesota Twin? Sorry, you have to give up your Minnesota citizenship and pass strict immigration tests in New York.

7. The Miss America contest could use a boost in popularity. Perhaps the reigning Miss America could double as president. That way she'd always have a chaperone, which could cut down on the hanky-panky.

8. Pie-eating contest. No, scratch that. Obesity pandemic, you know.

That's it for now.

Think how this will cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases. All the candidates rant about SUVs, factories, and flatulent cows, but how'd they get from Washington to Iowa anyway? On a great big jet airplane! No more of that.

And here's another idea. If you can get a college degree or be ordained a minister over the Internet, why can't these politicians govern from their living rooms? No more traveling all over the place, no more living it up in D. C. while the rest of us are dodging pot holes on the highway. Instead of all those interns and pages and secretaries and what-have-you being paid to live in D.C., they'd all be living in their home states, paying taxes right there. And all that PAC money and million dollar campaigns would be a thing of the past. Rich people and unions would have to give the money to charity!

The time has come for action. Too much politicking is eroding citizen interest in who runs the country (maybe that's the point). If you've seen one debate, you've seen them all.

Let's put some buzz back in those boring elections. 


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