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Already we see the political ads for various candidates for the two main political parties. Republicans and Democrats and the soon-to-be endless barrage of attacks, insults, outrageous claims both pro and con, breathless pronouncements on what "I" or "My Party" can do. Of course, it being "I" and "My Party" alone, with absolutely no input or assistance or cooperation from whoever the opposing party or candidate might be. After all, they created the problem, didn't they?

Yes, dear voters, it is that season again, the season of political cartoons masquerading as endorsements for someone or other for some office or other and all ending with that most horrible and repulsive of clichés, "I endorse this message." If nothing else, that incredibly unoriginal and annoying statement almost--almost--is enough to drive me to consider voting for the other candidate, except that the other candidate is also so unoriginal that again the same horrible and annoying statement is present in those ads as well. Inescapable.

Or is it inescapable? Fortunately, this country is blessed with numerous other political parties, some more well-known and widespread than others, but options there are. Parties such as Libertarian, Green Party, Constitution Party, even Socialist and Communist Parties have a presence, however minimal, on the landscape. Of course, rarely do these parties make national ballots, as each state has its own regulations. For example, I believe that 10,000 signatures are needed on petitions to get a party on the ballot in Arkansas. Daunting task for small parties with very limited funding and support, thus limiting choices to the Big Two.

Yes, the two-party system may be touted as preferred over others, but when those two choices provide no real distinguishing option, then we get what we deserve.

However, there is another option. A party which was organized four years ago and is duly registered with the Federal Election Commission. A party which states as a central tenet that it will never solicit donations or restrict itself to a limited platform, and which has as its only real belief the philosophy of "As always, slow down and grill."

I speak of The Grill Party. Yes, The Grill Party. You may laugh at the thought, and the party encourages such reaction, for the Grill Party is serious about one thing and one thing only--grilling. The Grill Party was established in 2016 and currently has a membership of one. However, the Federal Election Commission thinks enough of this party that it periodically sends out requests for financial information, of which the party has none, considering donations are not accepted, and information on any changes in administrative personnel. Considering the membership of one, there are no changes ever made, although the party chairman has at times considered changing titles and responsibilities just for the fun of it.

The impetus for forming the Grill Party began one day in the barbecue sauce aisle at the grocery store. Why, the question went, are there so many varieties of barbecue sauce, so many different recipes for marinades, so many concoctions for grilling rubs? Because, the answer went, there should always be options, alternatives, choices, something seeming to be lacking in the current political climate.

There may be many candidates, especially among the Democrats, vying for the nominations, but eventually it all comes down to Option A or Option B, with those hoping for the nomination dropping out and leaving the "true" or "real" Democrats or Republicans to battle it out.

Just what makes a candidate the "true" or "real" representative of the respective party is something that the Grill Party will never allow in its own membership. Of course, with a membership of one, those arguments and discussions are usually short and decisive.

I was once asked why I started the Grill Party. My answer was simply "Why not?" Something I did for fun, for enjoyment, yet with a sort of serious side to it.

As Sly and the Family Stone so aptly stated, "Different strokes for different folks."

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David Kelley lives and maintains Grill Party Headquarters in Louann.

Editorial on 01/13/2020

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