My fellow Americans.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernest Candidate and I want to be the next president of the United States.
Or the next county commissioner. Or dog catcher. Whatever.
The particular office matters less than my core values and principles. You need to know where I stand and what I believe in.
I believe in America and I stand firmly with her. I believe in the flag and everything it represents to the people of this great land.
America must be strong. A nation that is not a strong nation is a weak nation. And a weak nation is not as strong as a strong nation. On this point, there can be no waffling or equivocation.
I believe in a strong America. And what is it that makes America strong? It is lack of weakness. Lack of weakness is strength! And when you have strength, you lack weakness!
And it works both ways. Because when you have weakness, you lack strength.
We could sit here all day while I come up with 50 more ways to say the same stupid thing. But this campaign is about fresh ideas.
Our national strength comes in part from our armed forces.
Without our brave men and women in uniform, America would have not have any armed forces. None. Think about that.
But a nation doesn't just draw strength from its military. No. It also draws strength from its people. The American people are strong.
My opponent says the American people are weak, flabby and useless. He calls them names behind their backs and tells stories about them that just aren't true.
As for me, if something is a lie, I refuse to believe it.
I believe in the American people and their character. Americans want jobs. They want to be able to take care of their families. They want better lives for their children.
They want to be able to worship God without fear that some knife-wielding lunatic will break into their homes and steal all their stuff.
This is what I mean by the American character. This is what sets America apart from the rest of the world. This is why I care about America's children.
They are the future. Without them, there would be no future. Those of us who are adults would just get old and die and there would be no one to replace us.
Pretty scary, huh?
So we must care for our children. We must see to it they get food, clothing and shelter as well an education. If elected, I will make children my No. 1 concern by making them my top priority.
Every child deserves to grow up. If saying that makes me a controversial figure, so be it.
I have never shied away from controversy. So let me say right here and now that I believe in our churches. If you want a place to worship God, you need look no further than America's churches. I support our churches.
I want our churches to survive and flourish. Without our churches, people will have fewer places to worship. Our churches must be preserved!
Speaking of matters of faith, I believe in purely rhetorical references to God in the Pledge of Allegiance and other public pronouncements.
By "purely rhetorical," I mean completely symbolic and bereft of any real significance. But by supporting such references, we support God and -- more importantly -- identify the people who oppose God.
Those people are entitled to their opinions, of course. And whatever their opinions are, I pledge to learn them and find at least one issue that appeals to them.
I am not some one-note candidate. No matter who you are or what you believe, I will give you some reason to vote for me. But you know the best reason to believe in me?
I believe in you.
I believe in the can-do spirit of optimistic of our can-do nation. I believe in giving you more money to spend while preserving programs that would make you mad if they were cut.
If you want to move forward, while still preserving the ideals of the past that make you feel good and discarding the ones that make you feel kind of icky, vote for me.
To sum up, I believe in a strong nation, strong economy, strong children and a strong stand on all the issues that you feel strongly about.
In closing, remember the final words of the great statesman W. Epaminondas Adrastus Blab as he lay dying in 1903 after being fatally wounded by anarchist Whip Santee:
"I say! Whatever is that giant penguin doing in my best tweed knickers?"
Americans have had enough mindless babbling. The time for bland platitudes was in the past, probably around mid-April of 1948. But believe me when I tell you that mid-April of 1948 is in the past.
Today is the present! We need action!
(Tom Henderson is the managing editor of the Polk County Itemizer-Observer and is the front runner in the campaign for diddly-squat.)