The Presidential Derby
By Fred Deckert
While meditating over the strange twists and turns of the late election I thought, wouldn’t it be a lot simpler if we had those guys and gals run a real (running) race. Before you sneer at the suggestion think about it a bit.
We ascribe to ourselves lots of virtues as runners and some of those are not as strange as some of the reported ones we look for in our president. For instance, for president we look for good looks, charm, nice smile, political persuasion etc. The winner of a running race needs to have persistence, good training habits, ability to stay on course, a competitive nature and desire. Of course a bit of natural ability helps a lot! OK, so the idea may not look quite as silly now.
How about the race distance? Should this be a track race (ability to function well in crowds and tight situations). A cross country event ( ability to adapt to changing terrain and unexpected obstacles). A road race ( able to follow some often confusing road markings and not stray into the way of approaching hazardous objects). Maybe a long trail event would be the best. That would test the ability to find the right course even when poorly marked, stay on the trail during darkness and bad weather and when suffering extreme fatigue and depleted physical condition.
Of course depending on your pre race favorite you might want to favor a race adapted to his best features and proven abilities. If you favored Bush over Gore, you might note that Bush ran a marathon an hour faster than Gore and opt for that. If you liked Gore you might insist on a relay figuring Gore -Lieberman would surely do better than Bush-Cheney. If you favored the minor parties you might insist on a couples race and send the big guys racing for a new VP partner to pit against Nader-LaDuke and Buchanan-Foster. The mixed couples might also be favored in a trail race where the well known reluctance of men to ask directions would be a handicap and the ladies could be counted on to keep their guys on the right track.
Look at all the advantages. No chads, butterfly ballots, lawsuits, electoral college, recounts, recriminations or immense campaign costs. We could even raise money for a good cause and undoubtedly lots of corporations would bid to get their logos on the nationally sold T-shirts. A not to be overlooked benefit is that of getting our leaders in good physical shape so they could withstand the demands of the office. OK, stand up for the Presidential Derby!