Archive for Thursday, October 9, 2003

Goat glands in our closet

State’s history reduces enjoyment of California’s puzzling decision

October 9, 2003

We either went to bed Tuesday or awoke Wednesday with the news that Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected the new governor of California. Figuring out just how it came about that people of that state decided an action movie hero with no political experience and a creepy Teutonic accent was the one person among their 25 million residents who was best qualified to be governor is an I-guess-you-had-to-be-there moment. It is assumed Golden State voters went to the polls with more on their minds than "hey, cool."
But I doubt it.
Kansans went to the polls last year fully aware of the state budget was in the toilet. We didn't go running to, say, expatriate Kansan and current Hollywood glamour boy Don Johnson to rescue us from our financial doldrums. We elected more people from the same political class who gave us the problems, fully aware they would bicker, blame others and avoid any hint of actually addressing the problem.
That -- my friend in California now planning a mass exodus back to Midwestern childhood digs -- is political maturity. Your post-election buyer's remorse is not wanted here.
I think it's time to gloat about the wisdom of Heartland voters. True, there are among us those driving aging domestic gas hogs with peeling "Ross for Boss" bumper stickers, but you have to go back 70 years to the infamous goat-gland doctor to find a time when Kansans fully embraced electoral lunacy.
For those unaware, John Brinkley rose to fame of an early radio station in Milford, Kan., that blasted out music and his message of renewed male virility through the goat-gland transplant offered at this Milford clinic.
Urged to crack down on the obvious quackery, Kansas officials threatened action. An alarmed Brinkley sought to forestall the end of his profitable business by running for governor. In 1930, Brinkley probably won, but the forces of reason were able to throw out enough ballots from his illiterate supporters to spare the state. He ran twice more with diminishing returns.
Brinkley was finally forced to leave Kansas and relocate his radio and quack empire on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River.
Somehow, the embarrassing chapter in state history wasn't mentioned in my elementary school Kansas history texts. If it ever is, I think it is worth noting where Brinkley perfected his scamming ways before coming to Kansas. The answer that should come as no surprise is California.

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