Letters and Fetters

Letters and Fetters

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What if kids did opposition research on parents?

  It's election season, or rather campaign season, so I found this column I wrote that seems appropriate for today. It was published in the American News in 2008:

  What if your kids did opposition research on you?

   My son was a Ron Paul fan until he came upon a candidate even more obscure: Hugh Cort, whose ad features a hokey video clip of the Capitol building exploding under a mushroom cloud. It could happen, Cort says, if Osama Bin Laden gets his way. Only if you vote for Cort, I guess, can you relax.
     My son found another candidate even more obscure than Cort:  Jon “the impaler” Sharkey, a presidential candidate for the Vampyres [cq], Witches and Pagans party. Besides wanting to impale terrorists, drug dealers and rapists, Sharkey’s main platform seems to be to take down God, so he’s got his work cut out for him. My son, thankfully, is sticking with Cort.
     I’m not sure what Ron Paul could do to regain my son, but coming up with a better slogan than Who is Ron Paul? would improve his chances.
         All the candidates have – as my daughter likes to say --  “issues.” By issues, she isn’t talking about social security.
   If you listen to negative campaign commercials, you might just throw up your hands in despair. But are most candidates as nasty as attack ads portray them?
   Opposition research would make anyone look bad. What if researchers dug up your most disgraceful moments? Or if all your driver’s license photos were plastered across the Internet? Or if conflicting statements you made were pasted together in a ridiculous montage?
   If my kids did opposition research on me, they’d have a blast. I can see the resulting commercials now:
   Snitty, complaining voice: Mom insists she demonstrates the responsibility it takes to run the household. But remember when she carelessly turned THE WRONG WAY down Main Street? Or when she “forgot” that pot on the stove and flames shot up?
Responsibility? You decide!
   Deep, serious voice: Mom. She says she cares about us, that she only wants what’s best for us. Sadly, Mom is overly influenced by powerful special interests like the Department of Health and Human Services and its insidious Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This influence explains questionable actions like serving chopped spinach at the dinner table.
   Peeved feminine voice: And what about her insistence on bedtime? Forcing us to take out garbage? Making us wipe our feet? It’s time for CHANGE! You CAN make a difference.
   Well modulated, concerned voice: Our candidate has what it takes to run the household. Leadership, commitment, courage. Mom’s record, however, shows serious weaknesses.
   Soft, but solemn voice: FACT– Mom got a C minus in 6th-grade math. She’ll be useless with homework, a crucial, parental duty. FACT – Mom can’t read bass clef. When it comes to helping with piano lessons, she’s far below par. FACT – Mom can’t cut straight with scissors. Frankly, anyone without this indispensable skill should never seek the office of Mom.
   Concerned voice: In the race ahead, it’s important to choose a proven leader. Mom’s record just doesn’t cut it.
   Still, I could counter those attack ads admirably with cozy platitudes. I’ve seen how it’s done.
   (Camera pans over a rustic, peaceful scene. Soft music plays.)
   Mom: I love my home. I have an optimistic vision. I’ll bring to the table a toughness to take on the problems. I’ll cut the other kids’ pork projects, but support yours. I’ll step on toes if I have to, but I’ll never sacrifice my principles. I pledge this day to fix all the problems, to rebuild the world and to prevent bad things from happening in the future. I’ll work hard (slightly breaking voice) to fight for YOU. (Wild applause and a crescendo as scene fades out.)



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