The illustrious Mister Ganja was truly a Renaissance hamster, a formidable intellect, a patriot, a pioneer, and a ham ahead of his time.
Just when politics hit what was then an all-time low, with temper tantrums and petty squabbles the order of government business, he volunteered his life for his country. In late 1995, he announced that he would be a candidate for the office of President of the United States in the general election of 1996. So he consulted family and friends and opened up the world's first Hamster For President web site, a primitive mid-90s style home page on Angelfire. It still exists.
Unfortunately, Mister Ganja lived long before there were good digital cameras at reasonable prices. However, a few film camera photos of this history-making first hamster presidential candidate exist. At right is a picture of Mister Ganja with his beloved wife, Shelly. The image in the right column shows him as an older hamster - a senior states-ham, so to speak. The photo directly below shows Mister Ganja and Shelly with a stainless steel seed bowl, waiting for breakfast to be served. Their meal came in the form of raw peanuts in the shell, as seen in the lower right.
When Mister Ganja's campaign web site was launched, he made a series of common sense promises that quickly caught on with rodents and a very surprising number of sympathetic humans. He said: "If what you want is clean, honest, uncomplicated government, electing a sensible, sane hamster like Mister Ganja is the way to go. With Mister Ganja in the White House, and with the last human administration a thing of the past, we shall go to work to elect the nation's first all-rodent Congress. There will be no committees, no budget hearings, no heavy-handed big brother snooping and lecturing, no foreign policy, no multi-trillion-dollar weapons procurements, no sneaky intelligence operations, and -- above all -- an end to nasty government secrecy and the mystical, unfair taxation system.
If elected president, I, Mister Ganja, promise that there will be no corruption, no scandals, no war, no greedy power-grabs, and no pork-barrel favoritism on my watch. Prosperity at all levels will be certain. The economy will grow and there will be fresh greens in every cage, unlimited seeds for all, and an abundance of little hamster treats that everyone can afford. Whether you are a small beast like me or a human, I will trust you completely, and I promise to make no rules to suppress your behavior or to inhibit your independent, creative spirit."
Mister Ganja left this world at exactly 11:15 p.m. eastern daylight time on the 22nd of June 1998, at over two-and-a-half years of age. His precious wife, Shelly, preceded him in death on the 2nd of November 1997.
Mister Ganja was in every way an extraordinary hamster. Until the end, he was full of life and energy. He was remarried after Shelly's death to young Brigit, and the two produced a litter of five children born the 30th of April 1998 -- just seven and a half weeks before Mister Ganja's passing.
The litter included a daughter named Miss Ganjette in honor of her father. Shortly after the loss of her father, Ganjette agreed to follow what was later to become a family tradition and run for the office of President of the United States of America.
Mister Ganja, we live with you in our hearts. Our love has withstood the test of time and you are as much in our lives today as you were then. We love you.
And to Shelly: You mean everything to us. Nothing, and no one, will ever dim our fond memories of you. From the time you came to live with us, an adorable but scared young hamster, and as you matured to a soft, sweet, and amazingly gentle friend, the two years we shared will be memorable for many things, but mostly because of you. Rest in peace, dearest one. And go to God knowing that we loved you then, we love you now, and we always will.