Now that both Republican nominee George W. Bush and Democratic
nominee Al Gore have given their respective acceptance speeches, I would
like to give mine as the selection of the
Rum-a-dum-dum-three-men-in-a-drum Party. While our convention received
little fanfare and no media coverage, we three men have decided to come
out of the drum and give America back to the people.

How are we going to do this you ask? By making little cliche
statements and giving sound bites that will help Americans reach for the
stars, that’s how. It’s mornin’ in America again.

What follows is the text of my acceptance speech. I hesitate to give
you the hard copy only because one cannot feel the emotion and passion
with which I delivered it from inside the drum a week ago Saturday.
(Have you ever popped a balloon in a drum?) But, please reach out and
feel something — perhaps a piece of felt or cardboard, something — as
you read below.

“Thank you. Thank you very much. Please stop. Please. Thank you,
thank you so very much. You two guys are too much, would you please
quit. Thank you again.

“Tonight we sit in a drum. A drum not unlike our forefathers used to
store gunpowder in during the Revolutionary War of 1812. And, of
course, our foremothers were right in there with them making sure no
child got left behind. But this drum, the drum we sit in tonight, is
symbolic of my dream for America. My dream of reaching for the stars
and leaving no child behind. My dream of health care, education and an
environment for all of America’s children — some of whom will be left
behind if I am not chosen as the next president of the United States of
America! (Imagined applause.)

“Thank you. Thank you. I would ask you to sit down but, since we
are here in this drum, you may continue squatting or stretch-out as best
you can — whatever you want. All that matters to me is that you don’t
leave any children behind as you reach for the stars and look towards a
new tomorrow. Americans are tired of old tomorrows, I tell you. That’s
all I’ve heard since my campaign began last Thursday in
Nochildleftbehind, Rhode Island.

What was I doing in Rhode Island you ask? Why, I was reaching for
the stars and trying my best to keep hope alive. It’s hard to keep hope
alive in a state of 13 people and no electoral college football team as
far I as I could determine.

“But what motivated me to keep going was the environment. That’s
right, the environment. Did you know, guys, that there are children
today in Rhode Island that don’t have an environment at all. Nada. I
am saddened. We put so much of our resources in ‘My Kid is a C Average
Student’ bumper stickers while there are children being left behind as
I’m trying to build a bridge back to the 20th century. And they have no
environment. None. Have you ever seen Rhode Island? Neither have I
because in truth — it doesn’t exist. A figment of our imaginations.

That is the great tragedy of American politics today, supposed states
that don’t really exist. That’s why I am here with you in the drum
tonight. To tell the truth to the American people with my Straight Talk
Express! (Imagine more applause.)

“Thank you! Thank you very much. Let me also say — and this is
very important so I want you listen to me — I stand with Rev. Jesse
Jackson when he says ‘Stay out the bushes!’ That’s right. ‘Stay out
the bushes.’ You don’t need an ‘of’ in between ‘out’ and ‘the’ with
this phrase — just go with your gut and shout ‘Stay out the bushes!’
Even if it means you have no environment, we must all remember to ‘Stay
out the bushes.’ Now I know if you are like me, you feel a better
person just for eliminating the preposition in that sentence and saving
precious oxygen to give our planet a chance at a brighter tomorrow where
you can follow your dreams over the next horizon.

“Now, I can’t change the world and I can’t read my lips but I’ll tell
you one thing I can do: I can build a bridge either to the 22nd century
or back to the 20th century whichever you want. All I really need is
some serious campaign finance reform. As in, my campaign coffers need
reforming because they are empty.

Do you know what it costs to build bridges these days, my fellow
Americans? I had to leave my three children behind just to raise enough
money to do this. But I did it because I think of my forefathers,
foremothers, forebrothers and foresisters who were first generation
immigrants who passed through Hilton Head Island after arriving from
England, Scotland, Wales and Germany. At the time they sailed here over
that great Pacific Ocean, they were known as ‘geographically challenged’
European-Americans. Today they — we — are just known as ‘white

But, if I am elected, I will work to give every child in this country
a chance to put whatever hyphen they wish before ‘American’ if they want
to. Leave no child without a hyphen is where I stand. And remember,
you have to stand for something or you will fall from grace. Or fall
for something or anything. I’ve actually forgotten how that goes and
it’s not really important to three men in a drum anyway.

“Finally — and I know all our backs are starting to hurt here due to
the cramped conditions inside this drum — let me say this to you people
who are thinking of voting for my opponent, who some in our country have
called ‘the devil.’

“I will not engage in tearing-down people during this campaign. I
will not refer to my opponents as ‘Satan,’ ‘the pitchfork dude,’ or ‘666
man.’ I won’t do it. Remember, I’m a bridge builder, not a bridge
burner. I am for the working people. I am also for the rich people —
many of whom have never had to work a day in their life but they’ve got
something we all want, and that’s m-o-n-e-y. Let’s be honest here,
people. And I am for the poor people who need to get a job. I am for
black, white, brown, red, yellow and all manner of mixed colors. I say
to you with heartfelt emotion — I am the Sherwin Williams mixer of
presidential candidates! (Confused look and slight applause!)

“So come along — join me on my quest as I reach for a bridge where
children are the stars in a new ‘Left Behind’ series and where spirits
will be raised from the hope that was once dead and alive at the same
time because we dared to dream big!

“Thank you! Thank you very much! Remember, no children left behind
without hyphens and remember to vote Rum-a-dum-dum-three-men-in-a-drum
in November!

“God bless you! God bless South Africa!”

Tim Wildmon,
37, is vice president of the American Family Association, based in Tupelo, Miss. He has appeared on CNN’s Talk Back Live and written guest editorials for USA Today and short stories for Focus on the Family. Wildmon is also the author of two books of humor titled, “I Wonder What Noah did With the Woodpeckers” and, “My Life as a Half Baked Christian.”

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