Updated: October 23, 2012 6:07AM
If you’re already worn down by the blood sport that has become our national political culture, that’s too darn bad, because you have homework to do when it comes to the war and/or race for president.
Why am I pestering you about your homework seven weeks before Election Day? Two reasons. First of all, this coming Thursday marks the first day to request a ballot by mail, so the voting process, if not actual voting, will commence for students, military members and snowbirds. Game on.
Second and perhaps more importantly, your ballot for president currently features no less than 20 candidates for your consideration. That would be “20” as in 20.
Surprised? You thought your choices were limited to incumbent Democrat Barack Obama, Republican Mitt Romney and a token third-party candidate who couldn’t possibly be the next Ralph Nader? Wrong. There are actually two token minor-party candidates for 2012 — Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
Johnson is, of course, a former governor of New Mexico, and Stein, according to her Web site, is “a mother, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate.” As of this writing, they were both trying extra hard to get on the ballot in all 50 states, so we know that theirs are viable candidacies that realistically could land them in the White House.
Speaking of dark horses, you only have 45 days to study the biographies, policy positions and opposition smears of your write-in candidates for the most powerful elected office on the planet, maybe even the solar system. Due to space limitations, we can’t tell you all there is to know about each and every Nelson Lee Keyton Jr. from Roanoke, Va., so I hope no one blames me specifically should they fall a handful of votes short of victory.
But here are a few nuggets of information about the men and women who would be king or queen ... if 70 million people not only take the time to write their name on a ballot but also do so correctly:
Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson of Salt Lake City: Your standard-bearer for the Justice Party (established November 2011), Anderson’s campaign Web site is voterocky.org, which should at the very least draw inadvertent donations from fans of Sylvester Stallone.
Stephen James Frost of Gurnee: Hey, a local guy. We’ll be able to say “we knew him when,” even if we don’t know him now.
Michael W. Hawkins of Bridgeview: Lost to U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski in the 3rd Congressional District in 2008, earning a solid 21 percent of the vote. We can all agree that a run for President is the next logical step.
Dennis Knill of Sedona, Ariz.: On his campaign Website, Knill boldly states that “I carry a copy of my birth certificate with me, just in case you want to see it.” Donald Trump will no doubt demand to see the original, in long form.
Cecil James Roth of Geneseo, Ill.: His campaign has a Facebook page and everything, so you know it must be taken seriously in the age of social media.
James T. Struck of Waukegan: Another local guy. My suggestion for a future presidential library and museum would be the old Ponderosa on Belvidere Road, which was available for redevelopment the last time I checked.
None of this is intended to ridicule anyone who not only wants to serve the public, but also took the time to fill out any paperwork required to be listed as an official candidate for President. And I’ll remind you that those who laugh on Nov. 6 will laugh best.