Monday, January 25, 2021

Same old U.S. politics needs wet n wild solution

January 19, 2001

It’s been a long time since I was fully satisfied with someone elected into office. Oftentimes, I feel like it is the same person, just wearing a variation of the same suit or claiming a different political party affiliation.

In our last and probably most controversial election, George W. Bush and Al Gore were nearly indistinguishable, even though they were running from two seemingly different parties. Ironically, the American people must have seen it the same way, because the amount of votes the two received were about the same.

I felt cheated after the election, as though my vote and millions of others out there did not count. I want revenge for the unfair system put into place by our founding fathers. I want justice. And I want justice in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Then today, as I read the opinion page on The Seattle Times Web site, I found the answer I was looking for. In a single moment, I was made aware of what could be done to appease so many of us upset and disillusioned by the political process in the United States.

In November 1999, as most of you should remember, Seattle was the sight of the World Trade Organization protests. Apparently, not everyone got over them in the same manner. In fact, it became clear to me in a visit to Seattle last May that many people were still angry with the WTO or the protesters, depending on what side they’re on.

But because of bitterness, a sense of humor or some other kind of force I don’t quite understand, 21-year-old WTO protester Ben Livingston wrote Initiative 54 to “commemorate” the protests. Basically, it states every Nov. 30 will be named “Freedom to Peaceably Assemble Day.” It doesn’t sound like the most fantastic idea yet, but it gets better. On this day, the mayor of Seattle will be forced to sit on a dunk tank for a minimum of 30 minutes. Yes, you read that right: The people of Seattle would be able to toss the mayor they elected (or didn’t) into a lot of water.

All the anger Livingston and his fellow cohorts have for the establishment can be taken out in a peaceful, yet humorous manner. And the possibility Livingston will get this on the ballot in Seattle is somewhat realistic. City Clerk Judith Pippin said the initiative met all legal requirements. Livingston has to get 18,830 signatures by July 11 for the initiative to appear on the ballot in November. The chances of it passing, however, are probably slim to none, but I’m still pretty excited about it.

Remember, we do live in a country where a former World Wrestling Federation wrestler is governor and an actor (and a bad one at that) was president for eight years.

It sounds absurd, I know, but that’s OK. Besides, it’s the idea behind the dunk tank that gets me excited. Some of you are probably wondering why I brought this up in the middle of complaining about the election, but others of you know exactly where I’m going.

Yeah, you got it right: Let’s dunk Dubya. I am all for dunking Gore, too, but he “lost” the election, so it’s only up to our president-elect to take part in this activity.

I haven’t decided when this national day should take place. Maybe Dec. 13, the day of the Gore concession speech, when it was made obvious George Bush’s son would be president.

Dunk Day would be a great holiday: The American people would temporarily feel relieved about the political process and we could see if George W. really does have a sense of humor. I imagine there would probably be a lot of complaining on his part and he’d probably say, “But my daddy didn’t have to be part of a dunk tank.”

Maybe we don’t need a dunk tank for our president, but we need something to fix our ailing political process. The threat of a dunk tank might be enough to scare away those people who shouldn’t be serving us anyway.

I’m pretty sure Dubya wouldn’t be president because a real politician would sit on top of a dunk tank for days if he or she knew it would make the people happy.

This may seem stupid or petty, but in its current state, our electoral process is pretty ridiculous anyway.

Lindy O’Donnell, State News opinion editor, wrote this with a 101-degree temperature and would welcome a chance to sit atop a dunk tank. She can be reached at


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