NOVEMBER 6: Shank or Be Shanked

Political Party Logos from a 1920 Linotype book. In 1920, less than a single lifetime ago, there were 10 political parties in America taken seriously enough to warrant a logo in a book of common clip art.

Political Party Logos from a 1920 Linotype book. In 1920, less than a single lifetime ago, there were 10 political parties in America taken seriously enough to warrant a logo in a book of common clip art.


Once the surreal pep rallies known as the Republican and Democratic National Conventions come to an end, it can truly be said that Election Season is underway. Every poll shows that there are almost no undecided voters at this point, unless the decision is whether to vote at all. I’m optimistic that there are a few of you still out there, however, so  I thought I would give you all a rundown of the 2 major and 3 minor parties you can vote for this year, (unless you live here in Oklahoma, home of the fun size ballot.) To make it fun for the kids, I’m going to activate my wonder twin powers with a shout of “FORM OF!” (what the party thinks it represents) and “SHAPE OF!” (what it actually represents).  Ready kids? LET’S GO!

Left to right, like a photo caption-



FORM OF: A bold, humane and just new society based on tolerence and respect for all people.

SHAPE OF: Well, The Volvo is safer, but this Subaru gets better milage…Brooklyn, put that down! PUT THAT DOWN!

SUPPORTED BY: Guys with fashionable facial hair, That girl your friend was dating who changed her major from environmental science to creative studies because she needed something less structured.


I took one of those “where do you stand on the election” quizzes on the internet, and the quiz feels strongly  that I should support the Greens, despite my total lack of facial hair. If I were inclined to support a third party, this is probably the one I would go with, but it seems like an unproductive use of my time and energy. At least the Democrats win sometimes.


CANDIDATE: Barack Obama

FORM OF: The grand tradition of progressive leadership, carried forward boldly into today’s complex world.

SHAPE OF: Wouldn’t the world be way better if English professors ran everything?

SUPPORTED BY: Your dentist. You can tell, because you always read the New Yorker in his waiting room.


The Obama administration has been like Star Wars: Episode One. Massively overhyped to begin with, honestly not *that* terrible, but still disappointing in the light of all the expectation…but damn it, I’m gonna stand in line and pay to see it again. Let’s be honest; the past 4 years haven’t been great.  It’s honestly baffling to me that a guy who is such a natural leader and such an eloquent communicator seems, in power, to be unable to take or deliver a punch, and unable to fire up the communications machine that got him elected in the first place. It’s like he actually believed all that stuff about crossing the aisle and trying to compromise with the other guys.

I’m a registered Democrat. This is a frustrating condition to have, because we are a natural opposition party; to be a registered Democrat  is to be dissatisfied with the current social order, so we tend to do best in situations where we can man the barricades and Fight the Power. Once we’re actually *in* power, we tend to assume the circular firing squad formation and actively undermine ourselves. Successful Democratic politicians are hyper charismatic shape shifters who can simultaneously pander to every possible demographic, ala Bill Clinton. Barack Obama is almost certainly a better person than Bill, but he’s not as natural a politician, and that’s why this election is even close.


CANDIDATE: Gary Johnson

FORM OF: Maximum freedom and equality under the law.

SHAPE OF: Shank or be shanked.

SUPPORTED BY: My philosophy professor, who liked to talk about the Glock he just bought. Also stoners attracted by the plank about legalizing marajuana.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE INDUCING DISCUSSION TOPIC: “I-35, brought to you by Cialis…for when the time is right.”

You know, I like the Libertarians, and not just because their animal logo is a penguin. Something about their quixotic passion and absolute faith in their ideals is totally adorable. I get it; the Invisible Hand Of the Market has a certain mystical appeal, but honestly I just don’t buy it. I’ve read enough Hobbes and seen enough footage of modern Somalia to not trust that the state of nature is a state I want to live in. Still, it would be kind of cool to see the former governor of my birth state of New Mexico elected president.


CANDIDATE: Mitt Romney

FORM OF: Decisive leadership, proud tradition, and unshakable faith in the american dream.

SHAPE OF: Schools? For poor people? What are you, a communist?

SUPPORTED BY: Smirking assholes (also known as the College Republicans) and guys who own those decals of Calvin pissing on the Chevy logo.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE INDUCING DISCUSSION TOPIC: Mitt Romney’s entire political career up to this point.

Witness the sad spectacle of the hour, as Reclusive Billionaire Mitt Romney and his young ward Paul Ryan campaign on a platform of repealing a policy that Romney himself first put in place. If you were to write in the word “entitled rich white guy” on your ballot, the optical scanner at your polling place would read it as a vote for Mittens. Here is a man who wants to be president because he thinks the world owes it to him. Please, argue with me. Show me a single instance where Romney has taken a political position for any reason but to advance his political fortunes. He is a man devoid of conviction. He will look to the polls each morning and do what a random sampling of the American people want him to do at that moment. If you think most people are wise, that’s an appealing prospect. If you think most people are idiots, it’s terrifying. The ideal situation is that he gets into office and is able to triangulate, working against his party when politically convenient, like a Republican Bill Clinton. If the charnel house of the Republican primary is any indication, however, he really really wants the extreme right wing to love him. It will never happen, Mitt. Sorry. You have a better chance with us Democrats. We’re used to working with the lesser of two evils.


CANDIDATE:Virgil Goode

FORM OF: Staunch obedience to the constitution and conservative values

SHAPE OF: Git offa mah land!

SUPPORTED BY: People who stocked up big time for Y2K and then were slightly upset when society didn’t collapse.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE INDUCING DISCUSSION TOPIC: All the parts of the Bible they don’t like.

I have nothing to say about these guys, except that I wish that the crazy wing of the Republican party would defect to them immediately.

So, do you love democracy yet? ME TOO! Now go register to vote. There are some good people down ballot.

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