As published in the Mexico City Newspaper, The News.
The News is a English language
BY JAY BILDSTEIN
This coming Tuesday, in the United States, is Election Day.
As is the habit in the United States, each quadrennial presidential contest is billed as “The most important election of our lifetime.” This one is no exception. Not only that, but the campaign period for the presidency has gotten so long it seems to begin almost as soon a new president is elected.
Rather than launching into a superlative-laden tirade, I will simply say that this election is important. It comes at a trying time.
Without getting lost in adjective-drenched denunciations, let us just say the current U.S. administration has been unsuccessful. Okay, very unsuccessful.
Before the U.S. electorate are, essentially, two choices. John McCain – who has sacrificed more for his country then any presidential candidate in memory – and Barack Obama – a calm, charismatic and powerful speaker who offers a fountain of oratorical refreshment to a nation that has been living in a desert of malapropisms.
Obama and McCain are seemingly good men. They are remarkable men. They are achievers. They are inspirational.
And they both stink as choices for president of the United States.
They do not stink because of who they are. Rather, they are bad choices because they represent a U.S. political system that no longer serves the people.
Instead, the two party system of the United States has become a shell game by which interested parties maintain their hold onto power.
In September, I had the opportunity to interview the former governor of Minnesota and current part-time resident of Mexico, Jesse Ventura.
I spoke with the ex-governor, who many people remember from his professional wrestling days as Jesse “The Body” Ventura, along with FloridÃbased journalist Chris Yandek.
The focal point of the interview was Ventura’s most recently published book, “Don’t Start The Revolution Without Me.” The book intertwines the travelogue of Ventura and his wife, Terry, heading to Baja California from Minnesota along with some of his experiences as governor of Minnesota.
During the interview, the former governor was courteous, down to earth and, most of all, he demonstrated the kind of common sense lacking in U.S. politics today.
Ventura is not just independent minded. He walks his talk. He ran for and won the Minnesota governorship as an independent, not as a Democrat or Republican.
Gov. Ventura embodies and honors the ideal of the citizen-statesman. He has been successful in the private sector and entered into the public sector to serve, not to perpetuate personal political power.
My favorite Ventura story relates how upon winning the governorship, he went into the Minnesota secretary of state’s office and gazed upon row after row of books. He asked what they were and was told they contained the state’s laws. Upon hearing this, he thought of a time-tested adage in U.S. jurisprudence, rhetorically asking himself, “And ignorance of the law is no excuse?”
Based on this experience, the then-governor came up with an ingenious idea. His concept was that every third year the legislature of Minnesota should take a break from new legislation and instead work to weed out and clean up the existing laws on the books. When he was told this would require a constitutional amendment taking 12 years or so, he realized he would not be around long enough to see it through and moved on.
This highlights one of the great downfalls of the U.S. political process. Holding itself out as noble and democratic, in reality, it is a self-serving, two-party oligopoly controlling the rules in favor of itself, not the people it claims to serve.
Legislatures incessantly passing new laws – without reviewing and eliminating outdated ones – augurs to the benefit of lawmakers and not the citizenry. The American people would be better off with more than two parties in control.
Maybe this is why Jesse Ventura now lives half the year in Mexico.
Sure, he says he does not want to be held hostage by the frigid winters of his beloved Minnesota. He obviously loves Mexico, its people and its culture.
What I admire about Ventura is that he is broadminded and open-minded. He sees the value of living in Mexico in terms of learning the culture of an important neighbor, as well as a way to better observe the current condition of the United States.
It is upon people like Gov. Ventura – and other independent and earnest souls – that the fate of the United States of America rests.
The U.S. political system and its hierarchy are too entrenched and self-interested to make the kinds of changes that need to be made.
Could a former Navy frogman, professional wrestler, independent governor and now part-time resident of Mexico become president of the United States?
I do not know. I do not agree with everything Ventura says.
But if he ran, he would surely get my vote.