DOTHAN, AL November 2, 2012 — In the last few days before the election, I find myself still on the fence trying to decide who to vote for. The major candidates have major flaws, the independents are too independent and outsourcing all government jobs overseas is appealing but not an option.
Right now I’m leaning toward a write-in vote for Melvin Veeblefetzer. Melvin runs a vegetable stand on the road in front of his farm not far from where I live.
Melvin is about 70 years old, but working the farm keeps him as fit and trim as a 40-year-old, or maybe more like 50 when it’s humid and his arthritis acts up. Why do I favor this humble farmer for president at a time when the
Because I trust him.
Melvin is scrupulously honest when it comes to selecting and bagging my vegetables. He doesn’t lecture me on what to eat or how to cook it, and he expertly guides me toward the best and freshest offerings at his stand. If he sees an ear of corn that is too dry he will suggest, but not insist, that I take another. He doesn’t preach about how to cook vegetables. He likes his corn grilled, but he gave me a great tip on how to do whole ears of corn in a microwave.
He claims to be a vegetarian, but speaks fondly of his wife’s recipe for chicken and dumplings.
One day I asked Melvin what he thought of Mitt Romney.
He just smiled and said, “he’s a good boy, got a lot of money that fella.”
I agreed and pressed for more detail.
“Well,” he replied, “he’s the kinda guy I’d get advice from on money and all that. Not sure about some other things, he seems to change his mind a lot.”
“What about President Obama?” I asked.
“Oh, he’s all right I guess, but he’s kinda young and don’t know much. Acts kinda like a spoiled kid never heard the word ‘no,’ but he’s the President so I gotta live with that.”
With some more conversation during subsequent visits — you have to go easy with Melvin, he doesn’t like to be questioned too much — I found out his views on banking (blow up the Federal Reserve), creating jobs (you need work for them first), food prices (stop forcing small farms out of business), and gas prices (“if them fool SUV owners want to pay for it then let ‘em”).
One day he told me what he thought about government, but I can’t repeat what he said, even with quotes. When we got around to foreign affairs he didn’t seem very interested and just kept saying that “a body oughtn’t to meddle in someone else’s affairs, but if they come looking for trouble then give it to ‘em.”
He added that he did meet “one of them Arab fellas one time and he seemed decent enough.”
I should probably mention that Melvin’s farm is neat and orderly, people say he is kind and generous, he goes to church regularly (but won’t say which one because that is no one’s business), and he thinks women should act like women and men should act like men.
When I pressed him on what that meant all he would say was “it all comes down to just one thing son — respect.” Melvin is a man of remarkably few words.
When I suggested to Melvin that he should run for president he turned pale, stopped talking and walked away from me. On my next visit he gave me some extra pole beans for free and apologized for his previous behavior. When I asked what the problem was he told me that he would prefer to be just a simple man that people feel they can trust.
He added that the only kind of manure he was willing to wade through was the kind he used for fertilizing his crops.
If Melvin won’t run, then a write-in vote might be a waste of time. There are other candidates, including Gary Johnson, Libertarian and former Governor of New Mexico, but independents have no chance of breaking the death grip that the two major parties have on our political system.
In his farewell speech, George Washington warned that a two-party system would ultimately deadlock and create exactly the crisis we have now. Each party, he argued, would spend more time and energy trying to get and keep power than actually accomplishing anything once they have it.
That adequately sums up the past decade and what this year’s election is all about.
Melvin told me the other day that for every presidential election he always searches his heart and votes for the person he feels he can trust the most. Then he laughed loudly and said that not once has the press has ever reported that his mother gets one vote for president every four years.
Her name is Helen Veeblefetzer if you’re interested.