|Gadflies of the World, Unite!|
|Ray D. Tusk|
Issue #31 (March 1984)
Politics will never be the same
You have nothing to lose but your ennui. Political gadflies, that is.
[quoteright]Despondent over the prospects for November 1984? Perturbed lest no candidate merit your vote, even in protest? Fear not! The Rhinoceros party offers a positive alternative.
traces its roots to Quebec, Canada. Successive governments since 1763 had failed to integrate French Canadians with English Canada. Politicians' proposals to resolve this and other problems were often, shall we say, ill received. Many Canadians believed that nothing they could dream up would be more vacuous than what the major politicians offered. Acting on this belief, a group in Montreal formed the Rhinoceros party. Their first recommendation was to nationalize Krazy Glue and apply it to hold the country together. The name of the party stems from the birth of a rhinoceros, Cornelius, at the Montreal zoo in 1979. Previously, the party had searched some years for a unifying, charismatic image. Cornelius inspired a public relations triumph. What creature better epitomizes successful politicians: myopic, thick skinned, heavy footed, unpredictable, given to wallowing in mire, dangerous when frightened, and phenomenally horny?
I figure that the Presidency is a good job.
The Canadian party addressed itself to a variety of national problems besides disaffection in Quebec. Transportation, for example. Highway traffic and safety generate concern in Canada as elsewhere. The Rhinoceros party ascribed these problems to the reproachable and historical tendency in Canada to abandon the ways of their English forebears. In this case, the flaw lay in adopting the American practice of driving on the right side of the road. The cure was to revert to driving on the left, as in England. Acknowledging that the conversion might be disruptive, the Rhinos recommended a staged implementation, with trucks and busses reverting first. On the issue of women's rights, the party position is that women are in the right at least half the time.
The Rhinoceros party actually registered candidates for Parliament in national elections. To the consternation of established politicians, the Rhinos did handsomely in some ridings (the Canadian word for precinct; it comes, of course, from the English). In an early 1980 election, Rhino candidates came in second in two ridings. Things might have been worse had they not taken the precaution of encouraging more than one member to run in ridings that seemed threateningly secure.
Despite guidelines that no offense be given to any person or group of persons, discipline was evanescent. Some months after the 1980 election, the Canadian press reported that Rhinos had interrupted a speech by the then-elected Prime Minister by shouting obscenities. They accused the PM of stealing planks from their platform without giving due credit. It was they, not he, who had promised to break campaign promises, govern incompetently, bungle, and fritter away tax monies irresponsibly.
Now Americans have the opportunity to build on the foundation laid by our neighbors to the north. What worked there might work here.
In a world beset with pervasive uncertainty and conflict, the Rhinos call for a revival of basic values. Some must be adjusted to fit modern circumstances. The party slogan is a case in point: "Two cars, on blocks, in every garage and a turkey in every pot."
Achieving these goals would:
- Revive Detroit by eliminating concerns over safety, reliability, fuel economy, and recalls.
- Charm the environmentalists by suppressing automobile-generated pollution.
- Attract enthusiasts for public transportation, pedestrian locomotion, and the summertime ogling of pedestrians.
- Alleviate the all too obvious proliferation of turkeys in the land.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Grayson's candidacy constitutes the necessary proof that he is looking for work ("I figure that the Presidency is a good job.") while drawing unemployment insurance. He respects the accomplishments of the Rhinoceros party in Canada and readily agreed to endorse a U.S. Rhino party, on condition that it endorse his candidacy for President. Such endorsement would probably entitle the Rhinos to a share in the resources, if any, of Grayson's PACs.
Time is short. Stop buzzing, gadflies! Participate! Action must be taken promptly to tap the frustrated urge of citizens to vote "for" rather than "against." Campaign malingerers are needed to disagree on platform stands, draft pronouncements, and select delegates to a party unconvention. Proceed to establish party hindquarters in your local precinct and watch for announcements of a statewide disorganization drive.
Dwell not on what your country does to you. Imagine what you could do to your country...
Satirist Ray D. Tusk may have hit upon the greatest political idea of the decade: After all, nowadays politics is just a form of show biz anyway, so why not make it entertaining for a change?