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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  August 26, 2007
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A long road ahead.

I had this dream the other night. Nightmare really.

In it, I was holed up on in my tomato garden. Surrounded. Helicopters and television crews everywhere. Reporters risking expensive hairdos to get a better angle. Things didn’t look good. I had about as much chance as a cat at a Doberman convention.

About then a public relations hack for one of the presidential campaign teams walked up to me and said: "All right, Simoneaux. There’s no way out. You come along now and we’ll go easy on you. Keep ignoring the presidential campaign like you’re doing and things are going to get rough."

"Yeah. How rough?"

"How about we make you listen to Sean Penn making political speeches. That rough enough?"

Silence on my part. That last had shaken me to my core.

"Why are you after me?"

"It’s not just you. It’s just your turn. We know all about you and others like you. You ignore paid political announcements. You give screwed up answers to telephone polls. You’re more interested in taking your kids and grandkids fishing than worrying about the upcoming primaries. That’s all got to stop. We’ve paid millions of dollars to put on this carnival and one way or another, you’re going to listen to speeches, slogans, polls, announcements, and all the rest. Count on it."

"Yeah? Maybe I will when you can drum up some honesty and principle. Call me then."

"OK. You want it hard? You got it hard. Get ready for Sean Penn."

"Wait. Are there any other choices?"

"Yeah. I’ll give you another choice. Either you put up with the next 15 or so months of the presidential campaign and pay attention to all of the smoke and mirrors we’re manufacturing or, in your case, we’ll take a pair of red hot pliers and pull out your fingernails out one by one. How’s that for a choice?"

"Have you got the pliers warmed up?"

About then, I woke up. Unfortunately, it was only from the nightmare. The reality is that we’ve all been shipped to presidential campaign hell and we still have more than a year to go before it’s over.

The two sides basically hate each other. The money being spent is outrageous. The charges and countercharges being made have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. The talking heads all sound alike and, if any candidate makes a flub, the networks flog that horse all the way to the Elysian Fields and beyond.

Once the nominees have been chosen, you can expect things to get worse.

Basically, we’ll have ads telling us that the Republicans plan to reintroduce slavery, solve the homeless problem by declaring that the spaces under highway overpasses are really "open air shelters," and have Halliburton strip mine the planet at triple the normal rate."

From the other side, we’ll hear that the Democrats will tax every living organism this side of the Andromeda galaxy, turn the country over to the United Nations, and erect a monument to Michael Moore in the nation’s capitol.

Then the really bad stuff would start.

Have you heard that recently discovered documents prove that the Republican Party financed the World Trade Center attacks in order to distract us from the fact that global warming is getting so bad that the planet Mars will eventually be able to use Earth as a heat source?

No? Then you must know that when Hillary becomes president, she plans to disband the armed forces, make Hugo Chavez her chief of staff, force us to sing "Kumbaya" at sporting events, and make "An Inconvenient (and becoming ever more suspect by the month) Truth" required study material in all elementary schools – if it isn’t already.

Just kidding.

I’ve already had it with the current campaign, though.

That’s because one tires of the hype and hyperbole. One tires of everyone playing "gotcha." One tires of politicians who tell us, not what they believe, but what the latest polls say we may want to hear. And one really tires of politicians who wouldn’t know a debate from a debutante standing in front of cameras and mouthing pre-planned sentences practiced in front of focus groups.

My nightmare from the other night may not have been real, but one thing’s for sure. It’s going to be a long, boring, and ugly campaign.

Better get used to it.

Or find a good tomato garden in which to hide.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2007 by Larry Simoneaux
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