happens.nTake last year in Virginia, for instance.nThe new governor, DouglasnWilder, got a lot of good press in thenspring, even being touted as Vice-nPresidential material after only a fewnweeks in ofHce. Some of our Democratsndown here are getting desperate,nit seems, and they want to portraynWilder as an old-timey SouthernnDemocrat — that is, a patriot and fiscalnconservative — who just happens to benblack. And perhaps there’s somethingnto that. The governor does voice somenhome truths rather well, as when henobserved that “It’s more apparent thannever before that our two-party system isnbecoming a competition between thenparty inside Washington and that newnparty, the vast rhajority of Americansnwho live outside.” And it was Wilder’sncampaign that first turned abortionnrights into a winning issue by casting it,ncleverly, as a government-interferencenfight. (Harvey Gantt took the samentack when he ran against Jesse Helms,nand a North Carolina newspapermannsuggested this television ad: “This isnWillie Horton. If he raped your daughternand she became pregnant, my opponentnwouldn’t let her get an abor-nHon.”)nAnyway, just a few months after henwas elected. Wilder got in trouble fornusing a state plane to go see his newngirlfriend. Since the lady in question isnthe ex-wife of America’s richest man,nthe governor may have just been husriingnfor campaign contributions — andn48/CHRONICLESnHEAVEN FORBID . . .nLIBERAL ARTSnthere are worse ways to do it. On thenother hand, the lady is also (are younready for this?) a former nude dancer.nSome Virginians joked that Old Dominionndid indeed have a “Wildernadministration,” but those who hadnbeen promoting Wilder as a tradiHonalnsort hadn’t exactly had nostalgic referencesnto Uncle Earl in mind.nMeanwhile, as you may have heard,nabout the same Hme in Nashville itncame to light that the mayor, thenallegedly Honorable Bill Boner, hadnbecome engaged to a fetching youngnlady named Traci Peel. It would benwonderful if I could report that MissnPeel, ah, does; alas, however, she’s notna stripper but an aspiring countrymusicnsinger. Give her a few points,nthough, for a first name that ends inn”i.” (Joe Bob Briggs used to evaluatenthe Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders bynthat criterion: the zenith, as I recall,nwas something like a seven-i year.) Andnthat really is the mayor’s name.nNow, I wouldn’t be making fun ofnthis happy couple if it weren’t for thenfact that Mayor Boner was still livingnwith his wife. True, this was wifennumber three, and third wives, as anrule, ought to have figured out thatntheir husbands are men who are notnafraid of commitment. Still, it must benawkward to be married to someonenwho has given another woman a 2.2ncarat engagement ring and who sometimesnappears on stage to accompanynher on his harmonica. It must be evennmore awkward when your husband’snSchool officials in Easton, Massachusetts, say they regret annincident at the June 3 graduation ceremonies of Oliver AmesnHigh School in which a local pastor gave a benediction,nincluding bestowing “the blessings of Jesus Christ.”n”It won’t happen again, if it is within our powers,” saidnSchool Committee Chairman Donald Anderson. He wasnresponding to a request for an apology by the board fromnlocal resident Andrew Copp, who said he was oflFended bynthe “violation” of the separation of church and state.nAnderson said he agreed with Copp’s concerns and that henhad a legitimate argument.nOliver Ames Principal Duncan Oliver also called thenbenediction by the Rev. David Holland, minister of thenEaston Foursquare Church, an unfortunate occurrence.n—from The Enterprise, Brockton, Massachusetts,nJune 15, J 990nnnfiancee tells a reporter that he can —nwell, that he can “sustain his passion”nfor seven hours. (Miss Peel is supposednto have said that in the course of antelephone interview, adding, “Not badnfor a 47-year-old man” — whereuponna male voice came on the line to say:n”46.”) When asked what she thoughtnof her daughter’s boyfriend, Miss Peel’snmother. Junior (that’s right: her father’snname is Fred), said: “Why, he’s a wildnand crazy guy — just like us!”nThis being Nashville, the Bonernaffair gave rise to a number of songs.nFirst off the mark was a WLAC disknjockey, whose “Ballad of Bill Boner”nincludes such lines as, “For.sevennhours of heaven, will he go straight tonhell?” Someone else, inevitably, camenup with something called “420 MinutenMan.” Most Nashvillians seemed to benhaving almost as good a time with thenstory as Bill and Traci, until it wasnpicked up by People magazine, USAnToday, and the TV tabloid A CurrentnAffair, at which point respectablenNashvilleans got concerned about theirncity’s image. (So trite, folks. Come on:nif you’ve got it, flaunt it.) One concernedncitizen wrote another songncalled “Bill Boner, Won’t You PleasenResign?” and even my friend Monansnarled that the former congressmann”should have stayed in Washingtonnwhere he belongs.”nWhat’s more, Traci and Bill finallyngot embarrassed. The mayor said thatnthings had been drawn “out of proportion,”nand Miss Peel phoned a radioncall-in show to denounce the press fornmaking the mayor “look like an idiot”nand Nashville “look like Hee Haw.”n”It’s a sad, sad day,” she said, “whennthey have to mock our leaders.” Shenalso accused the media of damagingnher career (although I’m told that shensubsequently performed daily at thenTennessee State Fair). At last report, innlate September, Phil Donahue wasntrying to get the beleaguered couple tontell their story on his program, but theynhad split to Hawaii to wait for thenmayor’s divorce to become final, whichnshows how things have changed in thenlast thirty years, by the way. When EarlnLong needed-a rest, they put him in anmental hospital.nThis year John Shehon Reed isnwriting from Northern California,nwhere sin is obsolete.n