It is looney time again, when way too many morons of all political stripes and spots suddenly believe they are worthy of being elected president. As I write this—and this number is subject to rapid change—there are two dozen people wanting to be elected (or reelected) to the office of Commander-In-Chief.
If I had my druthers, I wouldn’t let any of them be responsible for anything more deadly than a potato gun.
I suspect that in the upcoming election, once again I will be forced to cast what in Brazil they call a “Voto Cacereco”, a protest vote. The term comes from a Sao Paulo city council election where the winner was Cacereco, a rhinoceros at the local zoo. Despite receiving over 100,000 votes, the electoral commission refused to accept her victory.
While Cacereco was refused her rightful office, she did inspire the Rhinoceros Party of Canada that was briefly popular in the 1990’s. Injecting more honesty than normally found in political campaigns, the party pointed out that most politicians are: "thick-skinned, slow-moving, dim-witted, can move fast as hell when in danger, and have large, hairy horns growing out of the middle of their faces”. The Rhinoceros Party were proud adherents of Marxist-Lennonist theory, by which they meant the political philosophies of Groucho Marx and John Lennon.
The Brazilians really know how to have fun with an election. In 1988, the Brazilian Banana Party ran a chimpanzee for mayor of Rio de Janeiro. Under the slogan, “Vote monkey — Get monkey”, the ape got 400,000 votes, coming in third.
There is a long, long history of animals in politics, perhaps starting with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Caligula wanted to appoint his horse, Incitatus, as a consul. The story is almost certainly apocryphal, serving either as a means to discredit Caligula or equally possibly as grand satire on the part of the emperor—his way of saying that even his horse could do as well as the other consuls.
There are countless more recent examples. A dog named Bosco served as the mayor of Sunol, California for thirteen years. In 1997, a cat named Stubbs did such an outstanding job as mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska that he was a write-in candidate for the Senate race in 2014. And the current mayor of Cormorant, Michigan is a dog named Duke.
All of these worthy political office holders pale in comparison with the dynasty established by Clay Henry, the goat who was elected mayor of Lajitas, Texas.
Lajitas is not exactly a tourist hotspot. Located in the Big Bend area of West Texas, the town is dwarfed by its nearby neighbor, the bustling metropolis of Terligua. If you are counting, there might be 50 people living in Lajitas. While small, the town does feature a couple of bars, a trading post, and a golf course that is located along the Rio Grande. After playing a few holes of pasture pool, you could head over to the Trading Post and open up a few bottles of Lone Star Beer for Clay Henry. Clay supposedly finished off about three dozen bottles of beer a day, gripping the bottle in his mouth and drinking it unassisted. Needless to say, Clay Henry was popular.
Which brings us to the election. It was 1986, and a group of Houstonians came to West Texas to play golf and got caught in a freak snowstorm—something of a rarity in that part of Texas, where it has been known to hit ninety degrees in December. Since the good ‘ol boys couldn’t play golf, they began celebrating in a local bar, that’s today appropriately known as The Thirsty Goat. Sometime during the festivities, they decided the community needed a mayor, and elected one of their own, Tommy Steele, to the office.
The election of a Houstonian infuriated the locals, so during the next election, they ran Clay Henry against the interloper. Unfortunately, the Houstonians staying at the golf resort outnumbered the locals, so Steele was reelected.
A year later, the locals were ready for vengeance. A “poll tax” was established, with the proceeds going to charity, and the voters had four candidates to choose from. Tommy Steele was running for reelection, once again, and was challenged by Clay Henry (the alcoholic goat) and two new candidates: a wooden Indian that stood in front of the trading post and a local ranch dog named Buster. The campaign rhetoric was heated, but in this election, Clay Henry won by a landslide.
Unfortunately, Clay Henry’s term in office was marred by tragedies. A few years after his successful election, he was castrated by a local, Jim Bob Hargrove, for the egregious sin of drinking beer on Sunday. As you might suspect, Hargrove may have been guilty of the same crime, at the same time. Luckily, Clay Henry survived, and was later followed in office by his son, Clay Henry, Jr., who also had a prodigious appetite for beer. (Locals won’t often tell the story, but Clay Henry, Sr., was killed by Clay Henry, Jr., a drunken dispute over an attractive nanny goat.)
The current mayor, Clay Henry, III, may or may not still drink beer, depending on who is asking. It seems that some people are under the mistaken belief that giving beer to a billy goat, even if he is the mayor, is some form of animal cruelty. Obviously, forcing any politician—two or four-legged—to remain sober is a crime against nature.
If the whole story sounds bizarre to you, just wait: I predict that before the 2020 election is over, we will all be wondering how to locate Jim Bob Hargrove.