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 The Green Vote by Don Urbanus

     Senator Green sat alone in his Washington office stroking the stubble on his chin and clutching yesterday’s newspaper.  Members of his own party were calling for him to abandon his quest for the presidency.  He sighed and glanced at the headline splashed across the New York Times: “Green Talks to Plants.”  The article continued with vague accusations questioning the senator’s sanity and quotes from colleagues who were “shocked and saddened” to hear of his demise.
     His whole idea of trying to connect with the common people had backfired.  His aides, his chief of staff, his campaign manager had all warned him he was making a terrible mistake.  They said he was too stiff and lacked emotion.  How better to connect with people then to show them his personal side?  Anyway, he had not risen to the stature of a presidential candidate to not go with his gut feelings now.  What a mess he had made.
     It all started when that irritating reporter from the Times, Linda Lockwood, requested a personal interview with him at his home.  The TV camera was rolling, the lights were on, what was he supposed to do?  His campaign manager made a slashing motion across his throat but he ignored him and agreed to the interview.
     It started inauspiciously when Linda stumbled in his greenhouse, broke her heel and got a handful of green algae when she reached out to catch herself.  The rest of the interview she bobbed up and down following him past his prize collection of orchids.  He was particularly proud of his fragrant Cattleyas and the arching sprays of his Phalaenopsis.  He had even begun to dabble in some tuberous begonias. It was all lost on Linda, who, with her garish outfit and drenched in perfume, couldn’t see the difference between a Cymbidium and an Oncidium.
     He had wandered through the greenhouse talking to “his little beauties”, praising one and consoling another that looked a little pale. Linda immediately pounced on that fact.  She grilled him on it, completely ignoring the finer points of orchid propagation.
     “Linda,” he responded casually, “people talk to their cats and dogs. They talk to their Guinea Pigs and parakeets.  Why shouldn’t I talk to plants?  I like talking to plants.”
     Unfortunately, Linda only quoted only the last sentence in her article and concluded that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to have the most powerful man in the world, the man with his finger on the nuclear button, wandering around babbling to inanimate objects.  Yes, he had sadly miscalculated and now his dream, his ambition to be president was gone like a coleus in a hard frost.
     There was a commotion outside his office door and suddenly his campaign manager burst into the room and slammed the door behind him cutting off a few reporters waving cameras.
     “There you are, Senator. Where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you.”
     “Just waiting for the funeral, Jim,” the Senator heaved a sigh. “They can bury me and plant a tree on top.”
     “What are you talking about? Haven’t you seen today’s paper or been watching the TV?” Jim asked, incredulously.
     “What’s the point?” scoffed the senator, tossing the newspaper in the direction of his manager, “We’re finished.”
     “Senator, Linda Lockwood was exposed as a paid operative of your opponent hired to do a hit piece on you. Every garden club in America is ready to support your candidacy now.  Hell, every gardener will support you now.  Even the pet owners are on your side. The phone calls and emails are streaming in.  It’s something I never calculated on, sir.  The gardener vote!  We can call it the “Green Vote.”  After all, gardening is the number one hobby in America.  Why didn’t I think of that? Senator, you are a genius! I can see it now,” Jim said, framing his hands in a square, “A plant in every pot and a “Green” house in every backyard.”
     Jim looked back at the senator and suddenly noticed his rumpled appearance. “Senator, you have to get ready for a news conference. I have you scheduled for one in an hour.  Well, what are you waiting for? Go get cleaned up.  It’s on to the White House!”
     The senator stood up straight and tall. He was ready to take on the world.  His dream was again within his grasp and all because of his love of plants.  Amazing!  It’s a good thing, he mused, that I didn’t mention that the plants talk back.

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