Dallas, TX –
The names change, but the endless dredging of the past goes on: George W. Bush's DWI, Henry Hyde's extramarital affair, Bill Clinton's collegiate pot smoking, Ann Richards' alleged drug use, Kinky Friedman's racial slurs .
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of being dragged back into the 60s and 70s, trying to balance someone's petty crime or moral lapse at the age of 23 vs. the potential good he or she might do if elected now.
I know I couldn't meet the standard of perfection many seem to want for our candidates, that unbroken line of integrity and sensitivity stretching over decades. I guess that's the silver lining to obscurity: We're not famous and powerful, but at least nobody's strip-mining our past, digging up every rash act, wild party, thoughtless remark - and, yes, that time during college when I was late to work at the Oak Lawn Branch Library and got a friend to punch the time clock for me.
Now here's the problem: First, the candidates are too human, too much like us. Second, they have private lives. So the answer is obvious. We need to raise a separate class of New Leaders, a pure and saintly bunch who are not subject to the temptations of mortal flesh.
How? First, the state must set up special schools and separate communities for our New Leader class. Parents will enroll them shortly after birth. Race, class, and gender will not matter, only their dedication to becoming leaders of spotless perfection.
In the New Leader society, tobacco, alcohol and of course all drugs will be strictly forbidden. Sexual relations are banned on pain of expulsion. Nobody will marry (hence no messy divorces) or have families (thus ruling out nepotism) or form strong friendships, which could lead to sweetheart deals later on. They will earn no salaries, but the state will pay taxes for them anyway to ward off accusations.
But, you say, is that enough? How will we know that someone didn't smuggle in a bottle of Tylenol or maybe a can of beer, to be illicitly enjoyed while telling a raunchy story that demeaned somebody?
Technology to the rescue. Starting at birth, all New Leaders will be videotaped every moment of their lives. Thus our New Leaders can never be accused of anything they cannot refute. Of course, the lifelong videotapes would be insufficient without the blood and urine samples automatically drawn every hour.
Imagine the plight of an old-fashioned, impure candidate running against one of the New Leaders.
"How can my opponent ask for your vote," says our New Leader, "when he can't even prove what he was doing on Monday, July 8, 1995?""
"That's not fair!" cries the accused. "I was 12 years old! I was at summer camp!"
"And where are your tapes, sir? Summer camps are hotbeds of scandal! Ever swipe any cookies from a tentmate? Have you ever smoked grapevine? If not, prove it."
And just imagine the campaign ads. Instead of strolling through classrooms or bustling factories, our New Leaders will proudly pose before gleaming racks of blood and urine samples dating back decades as the announcer gravely intones:
"Bob Fazenburger. Pure at birth. Pure at 10. Pure today. And he's got the samples to prove it."
What a wonderful fantasy. The opposition research teams will go out of business, negative ads will all but vanish, and the candidates, untroubled by the messy baggage of a real human life, can spend their time talking about what they'd like to do for us now.
Chris Tucker is a Dallas writer and book editor.
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