Sometimes politicians get so bad that we make jokes about how we'd rather have a monkey, or drinking bird toy, or [other humorous hyperbolic metaphor] in charge, but then we never do anything about it. Such is the apathy of our voting citizenry today. Well here's some cases where voters put their money where their mouths were, starting with ...
The Roman Emperor Caligula, most popularly known for being crazy, is said to have appointed his horse to the Senate which probably explains why he was popularly known for being crazy. Some historians say he wasn't crazy, that he appointed the horse as a sort of satirical joke about politics or something, and that his enemies were just bitter. These historians are no fun.
They won't even order pizza from Little Caesars because it's "historically inaccurate."
Senator Incitatus came from humble beginnings, born under the undignified name of "Porcellus," or "little pig." He rose through the ranks of chariot racehorses to become an undefeated champion, and like many sports stars, moved to politics. He got so close to the Emperor that when Caligula got married, he fretted that Incitatus would be jealous.
Caligula built the horse a palace, where Incitatus would somehow invite people to have dinner with him. The horse also owned slaves. How do you deal with being owned by a horse?
Ask any of Secretariat's competitors. ZING!
Although there's no description of Senator Incitatus' influence on policy, he was possibly the first recorded animal government official and his brave, pioneering example paved the way for other embarrassments to society, such as ...
In 1938, the people of Milton, Washington elected Boston Curtis as their Republican Precinct Committeeman with 51 votes. Boston Curtis was, of course, a mule.
It wasn't Boston's idea to run for office. Most of Boston's ideas centered around eating grass, or maybe pooping, until one day, the mayor of Milton, Kenneth Simmons, dragged him downtown to the courthouse and put his hoofprint on some documents. One election later, Boston was a republican precinct committeeman.
He brought a lot of baggage to the position ...
A precinct committeeman's job involves getting out the local vote for their party and helping to register new voters. This is the sort of job that they would give an old retired guy that complains about politics a lot, so he can feel important. So while there's no record of whether Boston served out his full term, he probably did, because precinct committeeman? Who gives a shit.
The glamorous world of precinct committeeman training.
When asked his motive for the stunt, Simmons, a democrat, said he wanted to embarrass the republicans, as well as teach people a lesson about responsible voting, or something. However, the next year, he organized a really stupid stunt that involved appointing the town's rowdiest young men as policemen for a day, which, to no one's surprise, ended up in a fight that had to be put down by the state police.
This makes his motivation for the mule stunt pretty obvious. He was clearly a retarded attention whore.
Republican precinct committeeman is small potatoes, though, compared to City Councilmember for Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil and the entire Southern Hemisphere. This office was won, fair and square, by a rhinoceros.
Cacareco, a female zoo rhinoceros, won the 1959 city council seat in a landslide with 100,000 votes. She accomplished all this by the time she was five-years old. Doesn't that make you feel inadequate?
Not so proud of that bean painting anymore, are you?
No one had to be tricked into it, either. The politics of Sao Paulo, and Brazil, were a complete mess at the time. The majority of the population was essentially voting, "Fuck this" in different ways. Most by voting for the rhino, but some by putting black beans into the ballot envelope and mailing them in, and possibly some of the more direct citizens just writing, "Fuck this" on the ballot.
Some of the vote tallies.
Cacareco's votes were nullified, and another election was held, showing exactly how screwed up and lacking in humor the system was. While she never took a city council seat, Cacareco did send a powerful message to Sao Paulo and Brazil at large: "We would rather vote for a rhino using beans than keep these jokers in office" -- which remains a catchphrase for protest voting to this day.
In 1981, the citizens of Sunol, California held a mayoral election where the choices were some guy, some other guy and a dog. Of course they voted for the dog, Bosco Ramos.
Sunol is an unincorporated town with a population of 1,300 that I don't think can even legally have a mayor, so you might think it barely counts. However, the government of China thought differently.
In 1989, China tried to convince citizens that asking for democracy was a bad idea by shooting them in a crowded square. In 1990, they moved on to more subtle tactics when the Chinese government paper The People's Daily of Beijing printed an article highlighting Bosco's election as everything wrong with democracy, saying that it should serve as a "wake-up tonic for those kind-hearted people who are naive and ignorant and blindly worship Western democracy."
Wonder what they said about Jesse Ventura 10 years later.
Not one to take such anti-democratic sentiments lying down, Bosco responded by joining local Chinese students in a pro-democracy protest in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco where I hope he peed on something.
Bosco died in 1994, but if you go to a Sunol bar, you can get a likeness of him to piss beer into your mug when the bartender lifts his leg. Isn't that how we all want to be remembered?