You know, there’s nothing quite like flu-induced feverish delirium to make one think clearly. Three weeks of the flu and my mind is as pellucid as the vodka tonics they make at Mr. T’s Bowl in East Los Angeles. I haven’t been so diseased since that monkey at the Washington DC zoo bit me. I should have heeded the warning sign on the cage: Do Not Feed The Attorney General.
Were it a couple thousand years ago, I’d emerge from my chicken shack promptly to start a new religion. Today, all that comes to mind is using a trailer home to set up a debt-counseling clinic that moonlights on the weekends as The Wee Chapel of Diminishing Returns.
There’s no mileage in that. So, I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring! Yessiree Bob! I’m officially announcing my candidacy for matching funds and the presidency of the U.S. of A. No one votes for a candidate anymore. Vote against the other guy — or girl — and you can send me to Washington DC instead!
You ask, what are my qualifications? Qualifications?! I don’t need no stinking qualifications! Besides, since when have qualifications had anything to do with the selection of our Commander in Chief?
Let’s be frank here. We Americans choose our president the same way we choose the color of our iPods.
Okay, okay. To satisfy those who insist on responsive politicians, I’ll list my "qualifications."
One: I don’t have any qualifications. There. That at least should get your attention since I’m being — and this is electoral suicide — honest. I bet that’s beyond the damage control that has made Karl “MC” Rove famous. You can rest assured I will not try to conquer the world. I’m just some bum on a Caribbean island, not some pre-Elba Napoleon Bonaparte. What a refreshing concept for an American president huh?
Second: I am not a millionaire. I’m not even a thousandaire. Nope, to reiterate, I’m just an island bum who happens to hail from a middle class family. There has never been, nor will there ever be a Chartier Dynasty of Secrecy and Privilege. I’ve got nothing to hide other than the usual mismatched and un-mended socks of life. Shucks, all of you have worn those at some time. And since I don’t care a rat’s ass about money, I’m not in it to fatten my cronies or myself. I have no interest in soaking the taxpayers to buy a ranch in Paraguay. So that should be reassuring: I mean, do you really want another silver-plated frat boy?
Third: I lack corporate connections. I hate suits. To play ball with the CEOs in the military-industrial complex, you need to kiss a lot of ugly booty and… you gotta wear a suit. Forget that! My sympathies to all you white collar business folk who are required to wear suits. But, if elected I promise that the White House will adopt casual-Friday, everyday, all year ’round: Jeans, T-shirts, board shorts and "McCains" (a.k.a. flip-flops). Oh, for State Dinners and to greet visiting dignitaries, I promise not to embarrass you like the current Oval Office Bozo. I have a collection of genuine Hawaiian Aloha shirts. Two of them are covered with Elvises! How cool is that? If I must attend a really formal affair I have a thirty-year-old motorcycle jacket. I’ll even fix the collar with some duct tape. But no suits! And no butt kissin’!
Fourth: High-powered Washington lobbies and special interest groups can wait in the hall. I don’t want to hear it. Them folks is just going to have to find another way to Save The CEOs, Ban Barbie Dolls and preserve the Lesser-known, Yellow-bellied Frogwart without my help… or your tax dollars. So, I refuse to debase myself at big gatherings for AIPAC, AARP or the American Association of Beekeepers. Which is a good thing as I am lousy public speaker… not that being a real stinker at public speaking has stopped the current Big Kahuna.
Which brings us to yet another benefit of voting for Chartier. Fifth: No more presidential speeches. No more boring Lincoln or Johnson day dinners! Did you know that one of the articles of impeachment against Andrew Johnson included the charge that he gave too many speeches? Sometimes a good leader knows when to shut the (vernacular unbecoming a statesman) up!
You don’t need me to tell you the State of the Union. It’s a house of cards mortgaged to the hilt and we all know it. No, I’m not gonna show up winking and smirking to tell folks what they want to hear just to get campaign support. Forget it. The American people are far too smart (most of them) to believe a word of what any politician says and I have too much self-respect to make a "Dubya" out of myself in public.
Sixth: I will not work and play well with Congress. Hey, it’s ALL pork to me! Veto everything! Well everything except for those funds for support of veterans. We owe them big time. But I bet you agree with me that America has enough stupid laws. And… no money to finance them! I plan to abolish a whole heap of laws. First on the list? That Military Commissions Act is going right down the swirly bowl where it belongs. I’ve actually read the Constitution… several times. And you know what? I can’t find anything in it that says that the president is a military dictator! Surprise, surprise! It’s time for that "Commander in Chief" nonsense to stop, toot sweet!
Seventh: My foreign policy? If elected, I promise that all peoples who have been persecuted by the United States and its two "allies" will be granted exclusive rights to ownership and operation of gambling in their homelands. Hey, it worked for the U.S. Indian tribes in 1988. Afghani Bingo ought to really throw a wrench into the Taliban! Remember, the Mafia went "clean" when it moved to Las Vegas.
Let’s see… there must be something I’m forgetting. Oh yeah… party affiliation. Eighth: Who needs stupid party labels and idiotic campaign buttons? Who wants to vote for a party with a mascot of a libidinous jackass or a rampaging pachyderm? Besides, with few exceptions, Democrats and Republicans are career politicians. In other words, their careers are what are important to them. Not me. Not you.
I doubt the Libertarians would actually let me run as one of them, at least not until I finish reading Atlas Shrugged… assuming I live that long. Independent? No fun in that. Got it! Useless Lazy Ass Party! ULAP just rolls off the tongue and I think pretty much says it all.
The truth is I do not want to give up my current life as a bum in a tropical paradise just because the White House is located in Washington DC. So, gentle voter, here’s the ninth reason to vote for me: If elected I promise to offshore outsource the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. As the recipient of all that federal and bureaucratic largesse, "Borrioboola-Gha, on the left bank of the Niger," will be the location that I choose.
You see… As long as government isn’t of The People, by The People and for The People let’s get it the hell away from The People.
Maybe the best thing would be to post the whole shebang onto Second Life. Henceforth, senators will be referred to as "Avatar Clinton," or "Avatar McCain," etc., etc. And they all can be beautiful in their own minds.
So there you have it. Neither am I after your money nor do I have corporate toilet paper stuck to my shoe. I have no hankering to ride around in a car with bulletproof windows or to employ a gang of thugs to protect me. My experience in politics comes from being a member of a punk rock band and attending PTA meetings. I’ve been to a couple of the latter: See? I can be a "war-president" too!
Fact is… I don’t really want the job. No sane person does. I’d say that alone makes me the most qualified candidate. There’s your tenth reason.
Vote Chartier! I don’t want the job!
Elizabeth Gyllensvard contributed to and edited this story.
Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.