Move over Republicans and Democrats, the Pink Pig Party is here

February 04, 2004|HERB BROCK

Old-time politicians used to promise a chicken in every pot and car in every garage. But some of today's candidates are going the old-timers one better: How about a hundred dollars in every pocket and a Porsche in every garage?

Big bucks and fancy cars were just some of the promises made at a debate of presidential candidates Tuesday. No, Sens. John Kerry, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman were not among the debaters, and Howard Dean was nowhere to be found - or heard.

While the national political spotlight Tuesday was on these prominent Democratic politicians as they competed in seven state primaries, the local political stage was filled with fifth-graders.

In the Toliver Elementary School library, students in the two fifth-grade homeroom classes posed as presidential and vice-presidential candidates representing eight political parties. Each party not only had candidates but platforms of promises, colorful posters and blocs of supporters.


And the parties had imaginative names, including one party called the Pink Pig Party. If there can be a porcine-inspired political party, it also could be said that while pigs may not be able to fly, they can run - for political office.

The debate was the focal point of a special hands-on government unit project sponsored by John Erwin, fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher. Once the parties were formed and the candidates selected, party members had to write platforms, design posters, develop advertisements and campaign for votes among the school's fourth-graders.

And the fourth-graders formed the bulk of the crowd that packed the library for the debate, along with teachers and parents. Following the debate, the fourth-graders were to have cast ballots.

The event included the singing of political jingles by the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of each party, and that was followed by each veep candidate giving a thumbnail sketch of his ticketmate. The presidential candidates then were peppered in a question-and-answer session led by Principal/aspiring White House press corps member Judy Spellacy. It was a grilling that would have made veteran newscaster Sam Donaldson proud.

The eight parties and their presidential and vice-presidential candidates were the White Tiger Party, Mr. White and Mrs. Stripes; Pink Pig Party, Porky J. Pig and Mr. Hamm; Monkey Party, Monk Eazz and Hannah Banana; Money Monkey Party, Banana Bunch and Swing a Climb; Money Laker Party, Mr. Money and Mr. Laker; Dandy's Candy Party, Willy Wonka and Mr. Dandy; Candy Party, Starburst Skittles and Shock Tart; and Money Maker Party, Bill Dollar and Penny Cent.

Porky J. Pig and Mr. Hamm wore pig ears

Most of the candidates wore normal school clothes, but two sets of them came dressed for their parts. Porky J. Pig and Mr. Hamm wore pig ears, and Bill Dollar and Penny Cent sported hair that had been dyed green.

In singing their campaign jingles, the candidates gave hints about their party platforms. For instance, the Pink Pig Party sang, "Porky J. Pig wants to be your president, so you'll live in a nice residence." The Monkey Party promised that Monk Eazz will "help the poor" and "won't walk out the door." And the Money Laker Party sang that Mr. Laker would lavish tax money on the voters "like a salt shaker."

Then, the veep candidates provided bios on the presidential contenders. For example, Porky J. Pig was a native of Pigsville, was the only one to get on the honor roll at the college he attended - where else, PU - and went on to a somewhat cannibalistic triple career as a butcher, baker and cook.

During the Q and A, lead griller Spellacy tried to get the candidates to elaborate on their platform promises.

From the Money Maker Party ticket, she wanted to know how the country could pay for their promise that every American would get either a Porsche, BMW or a Hummer. Details, details, she was told.

From the White Tiger Party ticket, she wanted to know how all animals could be "let free" and the public's safety be protected at the same time. Mr. White (also known as Jonathan Kenyon) replied that the more ferocious of the animals, like tigers, for instance, would be set free in the rain forests of the world.

From the Monkey Party ticket, she wanted to know how the country could afford providing free tuition to all college students. Monk Eazz (aka Ann Wilson) responded that a stand could be set up where donations from the public could be dropped off.

From the Money Laker Party ticket, she wanted to know how the nation could afford providing every citizen $100. Mr. Money (aka Ethan Hobson) replied that the money would come from higher taxes and lottery proceeds.

Spellacy then pressed Mr. Money to say if every American would qualify for the $100 or if the freebie would be limited to a certain segment of the population.

"I'm not sure," said Mr. Money with a grin.

An honest answer. Obviously, Mr. Money has no future in politics.

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