Politics and Pile Drivers 

Why all the fuss about Jesse The Body Ventura being elected governor of Minnesota? It’s not the first time a professional wrestler has reached high office. Here in Utah, for instance, long-time favorite of rasslin’ fans, Merrill The Masseur Cook, body-pressed folk-singer Lily Eskelson in the race for 2nd District Congressperson.

In my opinion, it seems the most natural thing in the world for a professional wrestler to go into politics. It’s difficult for even the most astute observer to tell the two activities apart. Posturing, name-calling, hair-pulling, chair-slamming, form-fitting tights, accusations, counter-accusations — all these are everyday requirements for both rasslers and politicians.

What I’d really like to see is the opportunity for citizens from all walks of life to serve in public office. Right now, candidates for local, state and national positions come from a tiny pool. You have white boys with rich daddies, unsuccessful lawyers, ex-movie stars and washed-up athletes.

I’m glad more women are running for office. I want to go on record as stating unequivocally my disagreement with advertising gadfly Arthur Bud Weed, who cites his former gal-pal Mayor-for-Life Deedee Corradini as proof that women are men’s equal when it comes to venality, greed, vengeance and corruption. I think he’s too hard on the Woman in Red, and besides, she’s not really representative of her gender.

We’ve got to find a way to open up the process to more people. I would not even rule out some of our more intelligent friends from the animal kingdom — I’ve known at least two poodles, as well as a border collie, who have more on the ball than Congressman and assassination-buff Jim Hansen. I could name you several people right off the top of my dome — I’m not ashamed of being bald, unlike our Apostle-on-Leave to the state capitol who spends more time polishing his hairpiece than he does attending to his duties as governor — several people, I submit, who would be more competent and trustworthy than any of our public office-holders. I exclude, of course, my fraternal twin, who has served with distinction as county auditor for 37 years.

People I’d like to see in office are normal folks from all walks of life. They include my veterinarian, my dental hygienist, my ex-mother-in-law (my affair with her was not the reason my third marriage broke up, by the way), basketball player and rap singer Antoine Carr, Dorothy my favorite cashier at Albertson’s, synchronized swimmer Rod Decker (wouldn’t you rather he be the one to welcome the world to our town in 2002?), recently appointed Relief Society President Gladys Knight, recent Mormon convert Larry King, or even excommunicated confirmed-bachelor Steve Young.

Neither term limits nor campaign finance reform are sufficient to encourage normal people to run for office. For one thing, term limits now proposed are too generous — even the modest six suggested by Merrill The Masseur. Second, money — like death, taxes, and The Masseur — will always be with us, and trying to squelch it from politics would be as impossible as hammering every furry head that pops up in Kill the Gopher.

The real reason normal people will not run for office is that normal people will never subject themselves to the humiliations required of office seekers. Who wants some youthful indiscretion to come to light? Even in office, you dread the revealing Polaroid, the blackmail from a spurned paramour, the eavesdroppers at the next table in Midvale. The governor’s handlers are at this hour figuring out how to finesse the inevitable questions about the love child he fathered with Roma Downey. And Deedee hopes that the video of her and Frank Joklik in his hide-away hot tub near the Smelter stays stowed in Bud Weed’s sock drawer.

Some pundits propose that instead of being elected, our public servants should be called. This would present no difficulties in Utah, where a body to do the calling, the Council of the Twelve, is already up and running. But for the Gentiles, a more secular procedure is required.

The solution is not too far to seek, and it partakes of two familiar and popular civic processes: jury duty and gambling lotteries. Citizens would be selected at random to serve a term of one year in office. Furthermore, they would be adequately remunerated, say a million bucks for their service, which sounds like a lot, but is only the going rate for a second-string guard in the NBA.

Selecting our rulers by lottery is democracy at its purest — the way it was done in ancient Greece. Should the lottery prove too much against the American grain, we can always revert to a variation on the current system by having our candidates join the WWF, don spandex and Speedos, hop in the ring, and pile-drive their way to public office.

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