It’s election time in Fairyland. Normally everyone would gleefully cast their ballot for the incumbent, President Grandfather, but President Grandfather wanted to return to civilian life to live happily ever after. This left a race open to any of the magical residents of Fairyland.
I know you’re asking, “How important is the race in Fairyland?” and I agree that it is a fair question. Fairyland is not generally known for its representative government, generally being a place of make believe and a land of many tales. However, there is a fair amount of mischief that goes on here and someone has to help maintain the happily-ever-afters. The candy cane lanes sometimes need replacement candy canes, graham cracker roads get potholes and need marshmallow/chocolate filling until the roads are replaced. All of the basic services magical creatures need to live a happy existence need to be supplied. The office of the President has been instrumental to Fairyland, both home and abroad. Fairyland’s President is also a figurehead that encapsulates the ideals of the magical creatures. As you can see, the Presidency is very important.
Fairyland had a very robust primary season. There were crows and tortoises, hares and pigs. Surprisingly, not many children were interested in running for President. They preferred to run around and play. Voting in the primary was too much like homework for them.
The Fairyland candidates gave speeches and canvassed the local neighborhoods to garner votes. There were even a series of debates. After several weeks, a leader began to emerge – the Fox. The Fox was handsome, sauve, and very intelligent. The Fox was also very charismatic. Unlike the other candidates, such as the policy wonk tortoise or the impatient and hyper hare, the Fox was able to tap the emotions of the crowd and build consensus. By the end of the primary season, the Fox reached the point that all the creatures generally agreed that the Fox was probably right most of the time.
Meanwhile, First Lady Grandmother, spent a lot of time in the kitchen baking the best successor to President Grandfather. After years of practice, Grandmother had perfected her Gingerbread Man. Out of the hot oven came a very handsome Gingerbread Man. Grandmother added thick, black frosting for hair, a frosting tuxedo with spice drop buttons and a strawberry glaze tie. The Gingerbread Man stood up from his cookie sheet, adjusted his glaze tie, and full of confidence, shook Grandma’s hand. She fell instantly in love with him. Certainly, all the magical creatures would elect the Gingerbread Man!
The Gingerbread Man attended one Fox’s rallies and was dismayed by what he heard. The Fox was a savvy politician, but he was also corrupt, exchanging promises with chocolate gold coins and gum drops. Not only that, the Fox’s ideas were old fashioned and out of date. Residents of Fairyland needed a more progressive vision. At the end of the Fox’s rally, the Gingerbread Man shook the hands of the magical creatures and invited them back to the peppermint bandstand the next day.
That night, the Gingerbread Man thought long and hard about his message, “Run, run, as fast as you can.” In the dark corners of his mind he continued, “You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.” The Gingerbread Man pondered late into the night until his message struck him like a bolt out of the blue.
The next day, with many of the Fairyland creatures attending, he unveiled his political platform – Fairyland had to modernize! Fairyland was still relying on cobblers for shoes and spinsters for thread and clothes. Fairyland needed factories. Fairyland needed jobs. Good, solid, well-paying middle-class factory jobs.
The Gingerbread Man began his speech, “Mr. Rabbit, aren’t you tired of waiting 3 weeks for a new pair of shoes? And Ms. Muffet, how old is your tuffet? Why I’m sure after we build a factory, you could enjoy fresh milk instead of that stale old curds and whey!
“Happily ever after shouldn’t mean waiting forever! We deserve our products ‘as fast as you can.’ When do we want it?”
“As fast as you can!” the crowd responded.
Meanwhile, the Fox was disturbed by this young (and delicious looking) upstart that was taking away his votes and endorsements. All of the faster animals, the rabbit, the sparrow and the cheetah all endorsed the Gingerbread Man. The crafty Fox wanted to settle this campaign behind closed doors, but the Gingerbread Man refused to meet him in private. They would have to duke it out in public on the campaign stump.
This was proving to be a very stressful and divisive election for the magical creatures of Fairyland. Both candidates made whistle-stop tours on the buttercup railroad. The Gingerbread Man’s sparrows would drop leaflets all around Fairyland while the Fox’s woodpeckers would knock on all the doors. After all of this effort, it was decided that the Gingerbread Man and the Fox should have a debate to settle their differences.
The debate was scheduled on a hot day. The Gingerbread Man spent his time in the comforts of Grandmother’s refrigerator whereas the Fox was busy running around on all fours, trying to gather more votes. When the debate took place that night, the Gingerbread Man was cool, collected, and as charismatic as ever. Whereas the poor Fox was sweating from a hard day’s work and appeared nervous.
Many of the magical creatures in the audience wore t-shirts and hats with the slogan, “As Fast As You Can” as an example of what a factory could deliver to Fairyland. The Fox said, “I see my opponent has given you a lot of hats and t-shirts, but what he isn’t telling you is that these are from foreign lands, like China and Vietnam, where they use children to make the clothes!”
The Gingerbread Man scoffed, “Please. My opponent is desperate to scare you into voting for him. I mean, just look at him, sweating and panting. And think! What if we could make our own goods instead of relying on foreign lands? We deserve good, solid, well-paying middle class jobs. When do we want them?”
“As fast as you can!” the crowd replied.
Things were looking grim for the Fox after that debate. The Gingerbread Man’s slogan was too powerful. Furthermore, more bad news arrived for the Fox in the form of an “October Surprise.” In one the Fox’s speeches, he made the mistake of making a campaign promise to “bring the pork back to Fairyland.” This upset the 3 Little Pigs, who went on a popular talk show and shared a traumatic experience between themselves and an abusive wolf who regularly blew down their house.
Wasting no time, the Gingerbread Man spread pictures of the wolf across Fairyland, drawing a connection between the Fox and the Wolf. Little Red Riding Hood also came forward to reveal that another wolf had eaten her grandmother and threatened to do the same to her. The Gingerbread Man promised that, if elected, he would appoint a special prosecutor to look into the Fox and the Wolf and to bring them to justice.
The campaign dragged on and on, revealing the worst of the Fairyland creatures. Alas, it was the weekend before election day and both the Fox and the Gingerbread Man were running neck and neck. Both candidates had to cross the Caramel River to campaign in Bayou Swamp, whose 3 electoral votes could mean the difference between a President Fox or a President Gingerbread Man. Unfortunately, the boat and ferry men were on strike and picketing for higher wages, riled up by the Gingerbread Man’s message of “As Fast As You Can.”
The Gingerbread Man dipped a toe in the river and some of his breadcrumbs fell off and floated away. “Ouch!” he said. Meanwhile, the Fox took a few steps into the Caramel River and was about to wade across when the desperate Gingerbread Man said, “Stop!”
The Fox turned around and asked, “Why? Bayou Swamp’s electoral votes are mine.”
“I’ll make a deal,” the Gingerbread Man said, “just let me ride on your back and I’ll make you an Ambassador.”
The Fox thought it over and agreed. “Climb on,” he said.
They began to cross, but the river water started getting higher and higher. A few splashes lapped perilously close to the Gingerbread Man. One such splash knocked off one of his spice drop buttons. “Let me climb up on your head, Fox. Please! The water will wash me away.”
“Of course,” the Fox said with a sardonic smile.
As they approached the shore, the fox began to feel the ground, but faked swimming like he was still up to his neck in water. And then, right on the shoreline of Bayou Swamp, the Fox leapt in the air and ate the Gingerbread Man in one big gulp. The Gingerbread Man was a little stale, but still tasty.
Now, completely free of any political opponents, the Fox swam back across the river and held a press conference. Tragedy had befallen the beloved Gingerbread Man in the Caramel River. It was with a heavy heart that he had to report the loss. He had done everything in his power to save his opponent, but the current was too strong.
On election day, the Fox won in a historic landslide in Fairyland. He even gloated about the “mandate” he had received from the magical creatures and that he had “tremendous political capital which he intended to spend.” Fairland continues to heal from this divisive election one day at a time. The candy cane lanes are still getting replacement candy canes, and the graham cracker road potholes are still getting marshmallow/chocolate filling. Gradually, everyone is returning to live happily ever after.
I can’t say what will happen in the next four years, or if Fairyland will ever have an election quite as contentious as this, but I can say that Former President Grandfather is enjoying a happy retirement and that his wife, Former First Lady Grandmother, continues her baking every day. She even bakes a Gingerbread Man from time to time.