Accusations are flying right and left about the upcoming Senate race here in Wisconsin. Of course, most, if not all, of the alleged accusations about vowel play originated on my computer because I needed a catchy headline for this post.
But I didn’t make up the part about the vowels. Wisconsin’s fate hinges on vowels – those joiners of consonants, the chatty members of the alphabet who always make their voices heard. They are the ones who mingle at the word parties and call out, “Group hug!” Vowels pull in the recalcitrant consonants who would just stand there speechless otherwise.
So on November 6, Wisconsinites will play political Wheel of Fortune and pick a vowel – an “a” or an “o.” Our next Senator will be a Tammy or a Tommy, that is, a Tam or a Tom.
The Tam, Ms. Baldwin (whose last name may already predict the outcome), threw her hat into the ring one year ago. I like to envision her throwing a tam into the ring (one of those woolen bonnets with a pom-pom on top, worn by the Scots and called a Tam o’Shanter.) Sadly, for no one else but me, Ms. Baldwin was not born into the O’Shanter family. By winning the election, Ms. Baldwin hopes to put a feather in her tam. The feather, of course, would be one plucked from the Tom she is running against.
The Tom, Mr. Thompson, hopes to defeat Ms. Baldwin and change that “a” in her last name to his favorite vowel, the “o.” It’s easy to snicker at the fact that tom is short for turkey, but remember, Benjamin Franklin, famous for ousting other presidents off the one hundred dollar bill since 1928, wanted the turkey to be our national symbol instead of the eagle.
As you know if you read this blog (and if you do, you have my sympathy), I have chosen to keep my thoughts on the best choice to myself. I plan to choose a vowel on November 6, but that’s between me and Alex Trebek.