The Ventura Era
Saturday: November 19, 1998
The Ventura Era
In the past few weeks, America appears both stunned and pleased by the recent election of Jesse "The Body" Ventura to the position of Governor of Minnesota. Stunned because of any of these three reasons:
- A third party candidate with very little political experience (save being the mayor of a Minneapolis suburb) could actually rise to such a high office.
- A pro wrestler, in a sport that isn't quite a sport (but good entertainment) nicknamed "The Body" (a villain no less) is now a respected elected official.
- A third rate actor in movies, like "Predator" and "Batman and Robin", is seen as the great voice of a new and powerful political movement. In Minnesota alone, his election is seen as the second coming of Christ.
Ventura has shown the way for other non-Democrats and non-Republicans, who are fed up with the intrusive force of a bureaucracy that is doing more harm than good. Now I don't agree with every idea that Ventura expounds, but a lot of it does make sense. For instance, he has proposed completely and totally decriminalizing all illegal drugs, allowing them to be regulated more easily. Now at first your gut instinct tells you "He can't be serious! Why, the state of Minnesota will become nothing but a land of drug fiends and dope addicts". At least, that's the kind of malarkey that has been taught to you since you were no bigger than your daddy's knee. But that's not what most people believe anymore. Besides, what has been going on behind the drug wars is not working. Why? There are more shootings with innocent children caught in the crossfire than ever, and a substantially larger increase in violent crimes.
People are just plain sick and tired of the grotesque lies most of the regular politicians spit out nowadays. Most of them do it just to keep their careers safe. I am hoping we are moving towards what I call the Ventura era. In theory, what SHOULD happen (as apposed to what might really happen) is that we must be more open and honest. We can't expect the government to do EVERYTHING for us. We certainly can't expect them to win the so-called "wars" on poverty, drugs, crime and homelessness. They've botched those up already. No more pussyfooting. It is time to start putting our money where our mouths are and do these things ourselves. I could be wrong about Ventura being the voice of a new generation.
I could even be wrong about the Reform Party not becoming the thing they have been campaigning against; An intrusive, lumbering Government. After all, it did happen to a little known party back in 1856. They hired a candidate by the name of John C. Fremont, a popular explorer of that age, to run for president. Fremont was very popular, but not quite powerful enough to win votes and was written off as a country bumpkin, much the same way Ventura was written off. He lost the election, but he got his party to be noticed by the general public. Ross Perot did not win either in the 1992 or 1996 elections, but he did get the Reform Party jumpstarted in the public eye. Ventura's win is somewhat thanks to Perot, just as another "country bumpkin's" win was in 1860, thanks to Fremont.
That country bumpkin was good ole "Honest Abe" Lincoln, and as some of you have guessed already, that "little party" I mentioned earlier was the Republican party. The Republican era lasted nearly fifty years after that, with only one Democratic president in office. Now it's true that during the first Republican presidency, the country was torn by Civil War. I don't think anything that severe would happen under a Ventura governorship or a libertarian Presidency. But people tend to forget that Lincoln not only helped keep the country from crumbling, but also ushered in new voices of freedom and equality that had been rarely heard before then. All that, despite how disreputable the GOP giants are thought of now. The 1860's were as exciting and frightening as the 1990's are at the moment. Maybe our "Ventura" era will bring about even bigger changes than that. The Internet will be a good start. Ending the drug wars will be another. And maybe...just maybe dear readers...that this is the end of politics as we know it and the beginning of something better. If so, thank you Jesse for showing us the entrance.