The Weather

The ABCs of an Election Year: Part One

A is for ambush. America’s corporate-industrial-military-political-financial complex is a fairly large animal. Its trillion-ton head is Manhattan, its girth the million-square-miles of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains; its claws extend through the Bering Strait. It plods at the pace of glaciers, swallows whole cultures in single gulps. In 2008, brazen and unregulated thieves detonated atomic bombs at its base and shocked and knocked the colossus to its side. Now, in horrible theater, the wizards of Washington proclaim villainy upon one another and peddle snake oils that promise to right the capsized beast.

B is for Bert and Ernie. Well, more Ernie than Bert. Remember Ernie in his shower cap as he sang among the bubbles: “Rubber duckie, you’re the one. You make bathtime lots of fun. Rubber duckie, I’m awfully fond of you… woh, woh, bee doh!” Or Kermit in the sweet ballad, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Outrageous! Pull the plug on the little shits!

C is for chameleon. These are lizards that are uniquely adapted to their environments; they can change their colors to match those that populate their surroundings, whether pink, blue, red, orange, turquoise, yellow, or green. Their stereoscopic eyes can focus on separate objects at the same time, making it impossible to know where they stand. Chameleons are native to tropical Asian locales, but have been introduced to the Republican Party, where one in particular has become their nominee.

D is for discombobulation. Barack Obama during the first debate seemed to stand there in utter discombobulation. Some of us would have preferred if he had exuded some combobulation, or, at minimum, an aura of bobulation. Al Gore famously suggested that the Prez might have been afflicted with altitude discombobulation. I can vouch for that. One time I climbed Mount Cartier in eastern Quebec. When I got to the top, I lapsed into uncontrollable giddiness and started bobulating my butt off. Believe me: At that altitude, I would have been in no shape to debate even the meekest Republican.

E is for Eleanor Roosevelt. She asked, “When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”

F is for frijoles. I have discovered that my debate-watching enjoyment is greatly enhanced by eating Mexican food a few hours before the opening handshake. And the meal should include a double portion of frijoles. Once intestinally primed in this manner, the viewer should be able to release their consequent emissions at key moments in speeches to make clear the viewer’s editorial positions. Of course, the sound effects become more meaningful and memorable the larger the living room audience present. A TV viewing area with ceiling fan, needless to say, is recommended.


The rest of the election alphabet is coming soon in The Weather.


Tom Bohnhorst is a social worker and lives in Traverse City, Michigan. In 1973, he spent a harrowing night in a Turkish jail. He also has a blog called Poopiderum.