Backstory: For fall campaigns, a one-size-fits-all stump speech

A humorous look at how candidates might (or might not) want to hit the campaign trail.

Neighbors, voters, friends. Although I drink the majority of my decaf skim lattes in and around Washington, I still consider this ... this place ... my real home. Not this senior citizens center, in particular, although I would be proud to call it my home if it happened to be my home. But the fact that it is not my home has nothing to do with my appreciation for both seniors and their homes.

My opponent says last year I spent 363 nights in my modest eight-bedroom shack in Georgetown, which, in case you aren't familiar with Washington, is the rural section of the District. But I don't count hours spent there as significant. What is important is the depth of feeling one has about spending time in his abode.

That is why the minutes I spend in my real home here, in my studio apartment decorated with pictures of the traffic lights I have brought to the district, are more important than those meaningless months in rural Washington.

Seeing those portraits of the lights, placed on corners that most residents never knew existed, excites me in a way that a lobster dinner in Washington can't. If I have made sure one car, among the three that pass by those corners each day, comes to a complete stop, I feel I have completed most of the work I was elected to do.

Now let's get to the real essence, the meat (or if you're a vegetarian, the heart of the palm) of this campaign – the reason I am asking you to vote for me. Like you, I am an American. So, as I stand before you today, I say that as Americans we need to elect an American to Congress. Do we want fewer Americans in Congress? I don't think so.

What I stand for is what you all stand for, a world in which we can all buy, or have brought to us, decaf skim lattes without fear of finding out there is caffeine or, God forbid, whole milk in those drinks.

I am proud to live, even for only two nights a year, in a traffic-light lit America where we can say "Good Morning America" without worrying if we've slept too late or turned on the "Today Show" by mistake while we await our decaf skim latte. Because we are choosers, not losers.

And even though there is only one "o" in loser and two in chooser, together they make the kind of rhyme that brings us together, not apart. If words can get along, so can people. And isn't that what we are looking for, those of us who are not turning a blind eye to those who would sneak caffeine into our decaf lattes?

Today we are at a crossroads – one, I might add, with a stoplight that I personally made sure was in place for the benefit of my fellow drivers, and, of course, nondrivers who prefer to walk, which is your choice. And at that crossroads, I ask you to look both ways when you walk or drive into the voting booth. Look both ways toward a tomorrow that might be better than today but never as good.

Thank you and I will now kiss any babies without drool.

Chuck Cohen is a satirist and advertising writer in California.

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