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Politics can be boring and fun all at once

I didn't care one way or another about politics until I read Barack Obama's memoir and fell in love with the eloquent and candid account of his life; in fact, during Rossman Elementary's 2000 election, I voted for Bush because he looked "nicer" than Gore (the scary part is that some adults use that method, and their votes count).

Today, though I wouldn't call myself "political," I realize there's plenty of reason to elect to be informed (tee hee, that's so punny) about governmental goings-on.

Last week I covered a Governors Candidate Forum held at Hamline for The Oracle that gave me cause for both concern and excitement regarding this fall's race. Of course, being a nonbiased news reporter, the write-up didn't reflect my interpretation of the event.

Fatefully, I'm employed by two newspapers, and you're reading the one where I get to expound upon my opinions, so here goes my attempt at doing the gubernatorial debate justice:

It was simultaneously the most boring and thrilling evening of my existence.

The debate was dull because -- go figure -- each candidate did a little dance around the questions asked; it was thrilling because, every once in a while, one of them would toss in a fandango or a lambada.

You haven't lived until you've seen a would-be gubernator do the lambada.

"Strongly conservative" candidate Peter Roess, in fact, twitched the entire time and didn't appear to answer a single question asked, instead talking about airports and lottery tickets and suggesting that Native Americans can't spell "sovereign," which amounted to him tying a red, white and blue noose around his neck and committing political suicide in front of an audience of college students and community members.

Did I kick the chair of justice and liberty out from under me? Oops.

The most entertaining/fear-inspiring candidate award, however, goes to Mister Leslie Davis, whose every response came in the form of angry shouting and boiled down to a blatant assertion that he was the only person who can fix any of the many problems Minnesota is facing.

His closing comments were paraphrased from Dr. Suess (who, on a side note, I would've voted into office in a heartbeat); also, he credits himself for taking Ventura out of office through his book "Always Cheat," which I now have a complimentary copy of, in case anyone wants to borrow it for pleasure reading sometime.

My favorite part was watching the other candidates visibly struggle to veil their alarm and disdain, along with the few who wore their bemusement openly.

For reasons that should be obvious, Independent candidate Tom Horner's comment about debates being like reality television seemed warranted.

But it wasn't until fellow Independent Rob Hahn, a "true political outsider" fresh to the campaign trail, made his final remarks that the evening decidedly tipped into the realm of high amusement.

Hahn mentioned that one of the wackiest questions he gets concerns his views on marijuana legalization. "Tonight," he said, "I wonder if it hasn't already happened."

Did he just...?

Yes. Yes, he most definitely did.

The audience verged on spontaneous combustion with its unhindered laughter (and muffled remarks of approval); Ramsey County's Attorney, sitting two chairs down from her fellow candidate, turned redder than the stripes on the flag and had to forcibly cover her mouth to prevent whatever expression was taking place from visibility.

I love politics.

Hahn's breach with P.C. standards was not only accepted by everyone in attendance (with the possible exception of Misters Roess and Davis), but served to drive home the moral of my story: get out and vote.

They'll let pretty much anybody run for office, and only you can save our state from certain of those anybodies.

And, seriously, take me up on the offer to borrow that book.

Thressa Johnson graduated from Detroit Lakes School.