Courtesy John Rice

This ugly presidential campaign is making us weary of partisan politics. We long for a candidate, who will bring us together. He is right here in Forest Park. His name is Henry the Bulldog.

Henry’s campaign manager, Jef Anderson, is part owner of Yearbook. He’s using the store to promote Henry and his party, the Animal Care League (ACL). This grass-roots movement started a month ago, prompted by the “strangeness” of the national campaign. 

Yearbook is the perfect campaign headquarters for Henry because their products evoke a more innocent era in America, when the states were truly united. Henry is the ideal candidate to heal our divisions, because, according to Jef, “He’s the sweetest thing in the whole world.” To raise campaign funds, Yearbook started the website, where supporters can make donations to the ACL, or buy Henry-related products.

Yearbook is marketing mugs, journals and flasks, bearing the image of the store’s mascot and donating 25% of these sales to the campaign. They hope to raise $5,000 for the ACL. This money is sorely needed, according to Executive Director Kira Robson.  Party planks include a home for every animal, universal health care, and access to low-cost vaccination. 

The ACL needs additional support as it expands into the space formerly occupied by Panda Studios. They plan to use it for volunteer orientation, obedience classes and their public adoption center. Kira’s hoping they can double their adoptions. The ACL animals strongly support Henry for President.

“The shelter animals are so excited to have a candidate that represents them,” Kira said, “They needed a voice and they’re standing behind Henry.” She noted that Henry already has a following in the community. Jef would second that. “Henry has 3,000 followers on Instagram and his own Facebook page.”

On the day of his announcement, Henry was sporting a patriotic sweater bearing the Stars and Stripes. A spirit of optimism reigned, but Jef knows they face an uphill battle to win the White House. Henry has not been vetted by the press, so Jef was asked if Henry had any political skeletons in his closet. 

“When Henry was a baby,” Jef confessed, “he peed on the pants leg of one of my clients.” Rather than being outraged, the client observed, “Henry takes this branding thing pretty personally.” There have also been occasions when Henry’s exuberance caused him to jump up on a supporter. However, on the day he kicked off his campaign, Henry was quiet and looked quite presidential.

There seems to be nothing to bar Henry becoming president. He was born in the U.S. and is of sufficient age, in dog years, to qualify for the job. His slogan is, “To support a better life for all animals in need.” The campaign aims to break down divisions between dog lovers and cat lovers. Henry is a shoe-in, if you consider there are 72 million dog owners and 82 million cat owners in the U.S. 

Henry’s supporters have been plastering store windows with campaign posters and passing out buttons. Henry will be holding a Presidential Rally on May 21, 2016 at Yearbook. The ACL will be there with animals to adopt. 

“We’re going all the way to Election Day,” Jef said of the campaign. 

To his credit, Henry has not used social media to insult ethnic groups or disparage his opponents. He has refrained from jumping up on voters. He has kept his message positive. One of his opponents attacked him viciously, though, claiming that, because Henry is an English bulldog, he will not put America’s interests first. 

Henry was so hurt, he wanted to pee on the guy’s pants.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.

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