Rhythm, sequins would improve local elections | Jill Urbach

What a relief the primary is over. Local politics add such stress to one’s life, not just for the candidates, but for those of us who run into the candidates around town, smiling and saying hello, all the while feeling like a dog because we know we’re going to vote for the other guy.

And in such a small town, one must approach the subject of politics delicately. After all, politics arouse passions, and you mustn’t get too belligerent because you’ll encounter the person with whom you’re arguing again and again. (With my luck, it would turn out to be my server the next time I visited a restaurant and I’d worry my soup had been spat in.)

The political atmosphere is more charged this year because, even among themselves, Democrats and Republicans haven’t agreed on their candidates. I notice people treading cautiously into discussions, only relaxing once they’ve confirmed they are talking with a fellow “Republican for Obama” or “Democrat for McCain.”

I rarely swim the deep waters of political discussions because I’d either quickly show my lack of in-depth knowledge, or I’d simply be a mouthpiece spouting off another commentator’s thoughts.

To be fully informed about local, state and national politics would be a full-time job that I am simply not paid well enough to do. I don’t have the time to read every piece of legislative action and watch hours of C-SPAN in order to make my own well-informed opinions.

So, like everyone else, I am left with misleading mailers, mud-slinging political commercials and boring debates in order to pick my candidates.

I have a better idea.

Let’s just have a good old-fashioned competition. It doesn’t really matter what kind, just something entertaining for voters that puts the candidates on an even playing field.

Like a dance-off.

Think of it: Instead of opposing booths at the county fair, wouldn’t you have rather have seen Randy Gaylord and John Linde strut their stuff on the Main Stage? The man with the best moves gets the job. (I hear Judge Linde does a mean samba.)

Rossi and Gregoire can have a televised dance-off before the November election. We know it will be a close race; it was last time. So let’s have them face off on the dance floor. Or over chess. Or figure skating, with bonus points for the most creative use of sequins and Spandex.

Since I don’t want to see either McCain or Obama in Spandex, for the Presidential election I propose “The Candidate’s Got Talent,” modeled after the popular TV show “America’s Got Talent.” Each candidate could perform whatever skill he does best and let America vote.

Sure, the candidate who does a great Elvis impersonation would have the edge over the candidate whose best talent is yodeling, but we wouldn’t want a president who yodels anyway, would we? We’d have an obvious winner.

And voter turnout would be at an all-time high.

— Dance Happy’s Bill Ament is offering dance lessons to Gordy Petersen and Lovel Pratt before their November dance-off.