“Why Not Something for Everybody”
Barnhouse (“Barnie”) P. Smedley was desperately looking for a gimmick to invigorate his election campaign for the office of Constable of the Indian Township here in Van Buren County. Even though this elected office pays absolutely nothing, Barnie is determined to be a small frog in a small pond for reasons few can fathom. Some folks have suggested that perhaps as a kid he was always the Indian and was never allowed to be the Ranger. Even though this position ranks just below the non-elected but paying job of Animal Control Officer, there happens to be another fellow in town, Milligram Billups, who is also vying for the Constable job. Go figure why two grown men both known not to be rich but not poor either would want to quit their day jobs, just so they could ride around – unpaid! – the highways and byways of the Indian Hill Township (whatever and wherever this area this is, who knows?) in their family sedan while dressed as a patrol officer.
Be that as it may, early polling results indicate that Barnie is trailing Milligram by a wide margin of 17 to 2. It took over 345 polling phone calls to come up with this result as a vast number of residents in the Township never knew they lived in a township, and they did not even know that they had a Constable much less even knowing what a Constable does. Some thought he might be the guy that looks after the horses owned by the County that were put out to pasture from the old days. Most of the folks here still have a hard time understanding why a County Commissioner is called a “Justice of the Peace,” yet even more baffling is the name given for the County Commission as the “Quorum Court” with the head guy given the title of “County Judge.” You might think that this area is some quaint “shire” right out of Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest.
But enough already with this snideness! Barnie isn’t quite sure when his brainstorm hit him, but he thinks it was after watching on TV Bernie Sanders in action at a town hall political rally up in the Vermont boondocks. This political jamboree looked like a high school pep rally before the Big Game, chanting “Bernie!, Bernie!” What, thought Barnie, had gotten this crowd so pumped up, ready to be a part of the Million Teenagers for Free Education March on Washington? Then it hit him! It was the Free Stuff that Bernie Sanders said was all theirs if he got elected.
Barnie then searched the Internet to learn more of Bernie’s campaign tactics that were so successful in drawing in the younger, unsophisticated crowd – not just in Vermont, but all over the country. Bernie’s promises of “Free Education and Free Health Care” no doubt, were the key in gaining this enthusiastic allegiance. The enlightened Barnie would now adopt this give-away approach to his campaign. Never mind that his opponent, Milligram Billups, was running on a self-sacrificing platform of community service – Barnie wanted in at all costs. All Barnie needed now was to re-configure his plate of free stuff to fit the voters of the Indian Hill Township, average age of 79. This bunch certainly would not be interested in free education but they sure would like free golf, free gutter cleaning, free leaf raking and removal, and free rides to the doctors office!
Barnie tested out his new platform on a couple of neighbors who were both hanging on by a thread with their Social Security checks as their only source of income. It didn’t take long before they started to chant, “Barnie, Barnie, he’s our man!” It was very clear that this pitch of free! would take him to victory. He promptly ordered and placed fifty yard signs about the Township, the signs proclaiming the many free benefits that would be available by voting for Barnie.
Several months remain before the November election and this could be a problem for Barnie as his opponent began to ask questions, such as, “Where is the money coming from to pay for all this promised free stuff?” Barnie is working on his response as we speak. He indicated that, as Constable, he may have the authority to reduce the local government payroll and salaries down to the level of Constable pay – which is zero- figuring these savings could cover the costs of all the free stuff. Barnie believes that the traditions and legal framework of Constable System allow for taking from the rich and giving to the poor, much like Robin Hood in his day and very similar to Bernie Sanders today.