My dinner with Ron

September 22, 2000

As Halloween approaches and the last of the Autumn leaves are gathered and disposed of, our thoughts turn to upcoming elections and other such unexplained phenomena. As we sit around our trusty fire barrel, we recall a fond experience of several years back, just about the time we both reached the voting age. At the time, we spent hours each day in personal meditation over how we should exercise this strange new power. As the confusion of the time overwhelmed us, our spirits became quite discouraged. We found ourselves swamped in a sea of competing slogans and publicity. Life was much easier in the days of Walter Mondale (whatever days they were).

Anyway, as we sat together in a local Taco Bell on a Summer afternoon, working through approximately thirty four hard-shell tacos (split between the two of us, seventeen each in case your wondering), Venison was suddenly consumed by a fit of frustration and he screamed out, "WHAT IS A LIBERITARIAN, ANYWAY? AND WHY SHOULD I VOTE AGAINST THEM?" Turning away from a flood of curious stares, Venison looked down at his tray and said in a much lower tone, "Maybe voting isn't really worth it, after all."

At this point a shadow fell over both of us and a kind voice said, "Well, you could always do a straight party vote."

We looked up in shock to see standing over us one of the most memorable figures of the 80’s; a decade that overflows with memorable figures, (i.e. Tony Danza, Meredith Baxter Burney, and Ray Parker Jr.). Dressed in a Superman outfit and grinning from under a ten-gallon hat was none other than former President Ronald Reagan. He sat down at the table across from us, fingered one of our fire sauce packets, and looked Venison right in the eyes.

"Venison," he said, "why don't you tell me what's bothering you?"

For a moment, Venison was stunned and he sat in pure awe at the apparition before us. Here was the closest connection either of us ever had to politics. Granted, the only bit of policy we even remembered from the Reagan era was that he named a missile defense system after our beloved "Star Wars" films, but at the same time, whenever someone said "politics" in our presence, how could we help but think of Ron.

"You want to know what's bothering me?" Venison asked, "How about our two party system? If I vote for either candidate, I feel guilty, because I don't like either of them. But if I write in a candidate I honestly support, like Larry Miller, I just waste my vote!"

"Hey I know that guy-" Ron said.

"And what about all of these other offices? I've never heard of some of these positions! County Commissioner? What does that guy do? I don't know any of these people! I could be voting for Hitler!"

"I usually just vote against all of the incumbents." Ron said as he picked a re-fried bean shell from his teeth.

"What if they're both new?" Venison asked.

"Well, if one of the names rhymes with a citrus fruit, you can bet they're not a good choice." Ron said. "But that's not the point, son. Listen, Benito Mussoulini once told me-"

"You knew Benito Mussoulini?" we both said at once.

"We used to go river rafting together. But one time, back in the 30's, I was complaining about the same thing as you. Do you know what he said to me? He said, ‘look Ron, for one thing, be glad you live in a country where you have the opportunity to vote. What kind of fascist dictator would I be if I let my people vote? If I were a U.S. Citizen, you could bet that I'd be out there voting.' And that's when I realized-"

"That American Fascists were voting, too?" Venison asked.

"Well, sure, but my first thought was, 'why am I river rafting with an Italian Dictator? And why is he eating all my candy corns?"

At that point, we stood up from our tacos with a feeling of patriotism we’d never felt before. We thanked the President and left the restaurant with a determination to always fulfill our duty as freedom-loving Americans. In fact, Venison was a Boy Scout leader at the time and he took his scouts to the Elementary school the following November so they could see how to vote. We can't say for sure, but we think that visit may have had something to do with Mr. T being voted in as County Commissioner. Our apologies to all those who voted for Steve Garvey in vain.