The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Welcome to my World: Honoring women in history who tried to run for President

Part 4, final installment of series

By Carole Christman Koch, Columnist

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I kept the best candidates for president last, namely Gracie Allen and myself. We both have something in common: we love a good laugh. Here is Gracie’s story.

Gracie Allen, of the comedy team Burns and Allen, announced her candidacy for President in 1940, over their radio show as the “Surprise Party” ticket. Although conceived as a radio gimmick to keep herself in the public eye, Gracie made impromptu rounds to other radio programs discussing the day’s issues, such as “We ought to be proud of the national debt, it’s the biggest in the world!”

During the stint, the Burns and Allen Show kept broadcasting, while the country went overboard on her mock campaign. Her staff made plans for a convention in Omaha, Nebraska, traveling by train, making 30 stops from Hollywood to Omaha’s Creighton University Stadium, where thousands gathered to greet her. There was no vice president since Gracie didn’t allow “vice” in her administration.

Alas, she dropped out of the race before election day, but that didn’t stop the thousands of write-in votes.

Later, the couple wrote a book about the prank, “How to Become President.”

Me, I never got as far as Gracie did. My run for Presidency was in November 2003, in Ozark Senior Living, called, “Meet the Next President of the U.S.—Me.” Here’s my shortened story.

In studying the qualifications for the Presidency, I hadn’t realized it was such an easy task.

First, you have to be a natural-born citizen of the U.S. Second, you must have been a resident of the U.S. the previous 20 years. Third, you have to be 35 years of age.

“Wow,” I told my husband, “I qualify! At my age, I over qualify!”

He shook his head in disbelief. “You’ll need backing money, plus loads and loads of signatures from all over the U.S.”

I told him that wouldn’t be a problem. He asked me to explain.

“First of all,” I said, “I’m a writer. I should sell more articles in the future. Possibly a novel, a TV series, or the movie I’m working on. I’ll have royalties from my novel and movie rights. Coming from a large family, with at least 50 nieces and nephews, I’ll have plenty of volunteers to help with accumulating signatures on their vacations.”

“There is just one minor thing,” he said. “You should know some things about foreign policy in all countries.”

“I’ve already thought of that. That’s where you come in. I’m going to make you my National Security Advisor. You’ll be terrific with your retentive mind and you already have a level of education and history as a teacher. What I forget, you’ll remember.”

“I’d love to,” he said.

“My deepest concern,” I said, “about the whole business is if something goes wrong in any of these foreign countries with our different time zones.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Well,” I said, “you know I don’t like it if anyone sees me without makeup on. But then, I’m forgetting I’m the President of the U.S. I’ll make the law, first thing. No meetings before 10 a.m. To think I almost worried about such a minor thing.”

“You know,” I smiled and said, “I can see it all now.”

“What can you see now?” he asked.

“The neon lights,” I replied.

“Where are these neon lights?” he asked.

“Above the white marble columns at the White House,” I continued, “on the upper right column are the sea blue lights. On the upper left column are flaming red lights. Above all of them is a spray of lily white lights.”

“May I ask what the red, white, and blue lights are shining on?” My husband asked.

“My name!” I shouted. “My name in lights---CAROLE KOCH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. It will be just gorgeous.”