SLACKJAW by JIM KNIPFEL
April 2, 2017

Dead Presidents

 

Despite the evidence of recent weeks, I really am loathe to think too much or too hard about politics, which strikes me as akin to spending way too much time analyzing the twists and turns of the week’s episode of “The Bachelor.” Still, when things get this fucking weird this fast, it’s hard to avoid thinking about politics unless you have enough heroin on hand to shut down completely.

            Which is why last week I found myself pondering potential candidates for the 2020 election, candidates who might honestly pose a serious and viable challenge to the current president and his administration. Way I figure it, such a candidate would likely need to be someone already well-known to the public, so I focused on celebrities. Whoever it was would also have to be a complete political outsider, someone who could hold his or her own when it comes to issues of immigration, racism, gay rights, women’s rights, the whole kit ’n’ kaboodle. Most important of all, any truly viable candidate would need to be willing to sink as low as the current president when it comes right down to it in order to woo those Mid-American blue collar votes.

            After careful consideration, I narrowed the list down to four names: Eldon Hoke, who performed under the name El Duce, the hooded front man for The Mentors; notoriously disgusting scum rocker G. G. Allin; beloved and flamboyant Vegas standby Liberace; and legendary sideshow pinhead Zip The What-Is-It? In a head to head battle, I daresay any one of them would stand a fighting chance against Donald Trump.

            Then I remembered they were all dead.

            But that only got me thinking more. Why should we let a niggling little detail like that stop us? Hardly an election goes by when you don’t hear about the constituents in some municipality someplace electing a dead candidate. I mean, is there anything at all in the U.S. Constitution stating a duly-elected president has to be alive?

            Well, that just opens the floodgates, don’t it? Okay, forget about El Duce and G.G. Allin, they honestly didn’t reach a wide enough voter demographic (though Zip and Liberace might stay in the running). What true blue red-blooded American wouldn’t line up to vote for Sinatra’s corpse, or Jimmy Stewart’s, or John Wayne’s or Elvis’s for god sakes? Come on now people, in a race between Donald Trump and Dead Elvis, who the hell do you think would win in a landslide?

            Then again, considering how much those blank-eyed nihilistic Millennials love their little TV shows about zombies, maybe we don’t even need to think about celebrities (besides, the estates may have something to say about it)—maybe any random corpse at all would do, though I think freshness might be worth considering. Simply put “Random Cadaver” on the ballot, and the morning after a victorious election, just grab one from a morgue in some pre-determined city, and bam—we have our new president. Cue “Hail to the Chief.”

            Here’s how it would go, right? Just strap it upright into the chair in the Oval Office, let the maggots and flies go to work, and it’ll be business as usual. When it comes time for meetings with foreign dignitaries and the like, at least you wouldn’t have to worry about those awkward gaffes or embarrassing hot mic quips. Come time for press conferences or the State of the Union address, just strap it upright onto a hand truck or, considering it’s the President after all, some kind of fancy chrome-plated radio controlled brace, roll it up to the podium and let it go. On the news the next morning, pundits will have a field day scrambling to translate and analyze the assorted belches and farts as the putrid gasses escaped from the rotting body, and the light plops as hunks of desiccated flesh drop off and hit the microphone.

            Then after a couple of years (depending on the embalming job) when the last bit of decayed skin schlups or is eaten off the skeleton, we declare the President’s term over and elect a new corpse. Not only would it streamline the political process and save us all the aggravation of having to listen to two years worth of mudslinging political ads, I think it would finally unify the country. I mean, do you seriously think anyone would notice the difference?

            Of course I can already see trouble cropping up down the line, as assorted special interest groups start nominating corpses of their own. The gun control lobby could put forward an innocent gunshot victim, while law and order types back the cadaver of a hero cop gunned down by some cheap thug. Pro-life types could nominate an aborted fetus to run against the pro-choice corpse of a woman who died during a botched home abortion. The ACLU could throw their support behind a dead immigrant or an unarmed sixteen-year-old black kid who died in police custody while the Alt Right could disinter Rudolf Hess or George Lincoln Rockwell. Meanwhile PETA could run a frozen Perdue chicken as a third party candidate, while some pranksters, just for fun, could back a real honest-to-goodness Dead Kennedy.

            Okay, yeah, I can see already it would only take a blink before we were right back to where we started, but at least it would be quieter and the various protest rallies would be a hell of a lot funnier. Imagine the chants! Not only would it be funny, but I think it would be a magnanimous gesture to the other nations of the world, coming right out and admitting we inhabit a dying Empire.

 

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