I’m not a big fan of the show, “The Bachelor”. In case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll explain the premise: “The Bachelor” is a reality TV show in which one man dates multiple women at the same time in front of millions of American viewers. Over the course of several weeks, the bachelor narrows down these women via an emotional, highly dramatized finale to each show called the “rose” ceremony. During this ceremony, the bachelor gives roses to each lucky woman he has selected to move on in the competition for his heart. Viewers are kept on the hook throughout the season in hopes it will all end with a proposal. The whole concept is very weird and kind of gross to me. But apparently, I’m in the minority. The show has enjoyed multiple seasons (and very few viable relationships, let alone marriages…go figure).
I don’t watch it myself. But occasionally I’m busy in the kitchen and don’t get the channel changed from Wheel of Fortune fast enough before the opening credits begin. This is what happened the other night, and it got me thinking: what if, instead of a spouse, the premise of this show was for choosing our legislators?
As opposed to eligible bachelors, the premier introduces a host of candidates. Instead of winning hearts, they’re vying for votes. En lieu of romantic dinners and exotic dates, they endure a battery of challenges that examine their true motives and put their leadership skills to the test. And at the end of every episode, in place of roses, I hand out shiny red apples as an invitation to continue in the quest to win my approval at the ballot box.
In the beginning it’s easy to toss the obvious misses. The guy who loudly touts his agenda to “starve the beast” by consolidating administrative positions. The guy who works for OCPA.
The lady wearing this shirt:
This one, too:
I think I peg a decent candidate when swapping stories with a former fellow educator. A few cocktails later, I overhear her confess to another candidate that public education isn’t worth saving. I toss her, AND the guy she said it to…just to be safe.
The mid-season episode is a shocker. We discover a front-runner and crowd favorite has been lying all along. He says he’s an avid supporter of public education. After all, he knew a teacher once. But when his voting record is revealed, he can’t answer for his support of three separate bills to tie teacher pay to test scores, end healthcare benefits for educators, and reduce funding to common education for the eighth year in a row.
In the second-to-last episode, I put the remaining candidates to the ultimate test: I introduce them to my classroom. Can they stand the heat emanating from the stares of a classroom full of hormonal teenagers? A classroom that now, thanks to budget cuts, contains thirty-five hormonal teenagers, as opposed to the slightly more manageable twenty-eight I taught last year (or the even slightly-more-manageable-er twenty-two I taught…too many years ago to remember…sigh). Which candidates will crumble under the weight of a dozen demanding parent emails? Who will survive the hours-upon-hours of state-mandated and only sometimes-relevant professional development?
If only we could put our legislative candidates through this grueling process, perhaps we’d be more apt to discover the ones worthy of our support.
But that would require people to care as much about who’s screwing us at the capitol as they do about who some random dude on television chooses to…date