Pat Paulsen (on America’s problems)

ON and ON, and over and over, it’s Hil and Bernie Marching as to (what?), but it’s mainly Trump and More Trump and All Those Other Guys. I’m grateful for the ability to occasionally enjoy the theatre of it, or else my seriousness/desperation/fear/loathing might get the best of me. (Besides, it’s Only The Old World Order, folks.) And sometimes it does, get the best of me, that is, my worry for the American future, I mean.

'68 or '72, I'm guessing.

’68 or ’72, I’m guessing.

And then random @CitizenWald tweeted a Pat Paulsen quote. Remember him? (Pat Paulsen, I mean, not CitizenWald.) Hangdog expression and a dryer-than-California monotone delivery. Comedian, best known for appearances on The Smothers Brothers show – and that’s going back a year or 40 – and then for quadrennial mock runs at the U.S. Presidency. AtCitizenWald tweeted one of his campaign slogans:

“I’ve Upped My Standards. Now UP YOURS.”

Paulsen died in ’97, having “run” in every Presidential election from ’68 to ’96. He got over 10,000 votes one time. Other slogans of his seriously ridiculous campaigns:

“If elected, I will win”


“We have nothing to fear but fear itself – and, of course, the boogieman.”

His campaign supporters (there were some) would chant thusly their longing for change:

“We can’t stand Pat!”

Most of it was silliness, and fairly gentle but still pointed mockery of the grand seriousness of what is essentially a popularity contest, not much different than elections for Prom King. Yet there was smart sociopolitical commentary there, too;

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Guest Post: Canadian? Nations, First Nations, Homes & Hearts

My second-most-recent post concerned something retrieved from an old file, and who knows what I wrote it on — our best guess is an Apple Mac Classic II, circa 1995. It was about love, renewal, nature, politics and several other things, but one line irritated/inspired one of my most thoughtful readers, Michael P. Freeman. “Many of us have trouble feeling like Canadians,” I had written in “Honeymoons and Rear-view Mirrors”. Mr. Freeman often comments on my stuff, but this submission was so long, so interesting, at times so poetically heart-punching, that I put a truncated blurt in the comment section but asked him if I could publish the whole thing, too. He agreed, and so here’s my second guest column. The first was a brave and moving piece written by a Chinese student; this one comes from a man of Aboriginal heritage who lives not far from my old stomping ground in Haldimand County, southern Ontario, Canada, Turtle Island, the World.

“Many of us have trouble feeling like Canadians,” the man wrote. It got me thinking. The whole desire of the first half of the 20th century was nationalism. We entered into world wars to defeat countries that had a different concept of nationhood. Some would readily trample on the rights of others to impress upon and impose their own brand of ‘nationhood’ on them, and all in the name of what? World advancement? World domination?

Now, with the infusion of a couple of the newest ‘world’ religions, the nations and peoples of the world are being asked, subtly or overtly, to consider nationhood differently, to see it in the context of one world, one global nation without boundaries. It’s a difficult concept for many, especially given that most are still pondering and transitioning to a national vision. Ask a small-town guy what he thinks of nationhood, and I suspect that he would focus on town and kin, on hills and seclusion, on quiet and solitude. Leave behind the busy-ness and bustle of the city. Leave behind crowded buses and streets lined with vendors.

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