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News / Clark County News

Press Talk: A bedtime story

By Lou Brancaccio
Published: January 7, 2023, 6:00am

Editor’s note: Due to budget cuts this will be the last regularly scheduled Press Talk column.

Little Girl: Daddy, could you tell me my favorite bedtime story?

Daddy: But, Sweetie, I’ve told you that story so, so many times. Wouldn’t you like to hear a new story?

Little Girl: Hmmm. OK, Daddy, I love your stories and I’m sure a new one will be good.

• • •

Daddy: Once upon a time, there was this wonderful place to live. Green trees, sunny days, clean streams, good fishing, parks and wonderful people. Then one day it got cloudy and cold and rainy.

Little Girl: But, Daddy, this is Vancouver. Doesn’t it always get cloudy and cold and rainy?

Daddy: Hmmm. Yes it does, but it doesn’t always stay cloudy and cold and rainy.

Little Girl: Is that because of climate change, Daddy?

Daddy: Well, climate change is no walk in the park, that’s for sure. But this gloomy mist hanging over our head is more of a state of mind. Do you understand that, sweetie?

Little Girl: I think so. Sort of like when the Cougars keep losing and losing and losing and it makes you sad?

Daddy: Exactly. But instead of sports this is politics. Do you know what politics is, Sweetie?

Little Girl: I think so. Is that when women and men get elected to steer us all in the right direction?

Daddy: Exactly. But what do you think happens if some politicians aren’t very good at steering?

Little Girl: You drive off the road, crash and burn?

Daddy: Hmmm. Well, yes. So back to the story: This past election there were a couple of politicians who ran for office and they sort of represented the cloudy and cold and rainy part of life. There names were Don Benton and Joe Kent.

Little Girl: I think I remember Mr. Benton’s name from your stories before.

Daddy: Yes, sweetie. Mr. Boss Hog could teach a master class on how to work the system to his benefit. He was always looking out for himself. He amassed a small fortune from his government work and his genius maneuvering, even had the opportunity to work for President Donald Trump in D.C. But when President Trump’s reign came to an end, so did Mr. Boss Hog’s D.C. job, so he came back home to us.

Little Girl: What did he do here?

Daddy: Well, sweetie, he does what he is so good at. He ran for office … again.

Little Girl: Oh my!

Daddy: There was also a gentleman named Joe Kent. He is friendly with Mr. Boss Hog and he also ran for office.

Little Girl: Why do I know the name Kent, Daddy?

Daddy: You’re probably thinking of Clark Kent, sweetie. He is a great reporter who in his spare time, righted all the wrongs he could find as Superman. Joe Kent is no Clark Kent, sweetie. Think of the opposite of Clark Kent. Anyway, Mr. Kent was almost exactly like President Trump, only Mr. Kent was smarter and more personable then the former president.

Little Girl: So does that make him better than President Trump?

Daddy: Hmmm. I don’t think so. A likable, bright, smiling, good looking young person actually makes it easier to deliver you snake oil.

Little Girl: What’s snake oil?

Daddy: A bill of goods.

Little Girl: What’s a bill of goods?

Daddy: Hmmm. Here’s an example. Let’s say someone says if you smoke Marlboro cigarettes and drink lots of Firestarter Vodka, that’s good for you.

Little Girl: OK, Daddy. I get it. So what happened to Mr. Boss Hog and Joe Kent?

Daddy: Well both of them lost their election, sweetie.

Little Girl: Good, right? So everything is better, the sky cleared up and it was sunny, metaphorically speaking?

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Daddy: That’s a mighty big word for a little girl but unfortunately, no.

Little Girl: Why not, Daddy?

Daddy: Well both of these gentlemen almost won. About half of us voted for them. So it’s pretty sad that so many people can be fooled so easily. Sad … and dangerous.

Little Girl: Hmmm. OK, Daddy, this new story sounded a little like your old story.

Daddy: Well, sweetie, bad politicians are a lot like mosquitoes. There are too many of them and they’re annoying. Some names will change and some names won’t. But it seems like the trouble never goes away. We can only hope that after voters get bit often enough, they will finally have had enough and they’ll stop doing stupid stuff.

Little Girl: Hmmm. That’s a good story, Daddy. I hope when I grow up only good people get elected.

Daddy: Hmmm.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor emeritus. Lounews1@gmail.com