The International Writers Magazine: Modern Politics
Phil Mershon - Rounding Up
the Presidential election now over and a fait accompli before it
ever began, we of the loyal opposition move into our respective
camps. The most pathetic of these metaphysical communes is the Next
Time Collective, the sad-eyed lowland dwellers pondering who Ms.
Clinton will select for a running mate and whether she will be up
against John McCain or an electric toaster with a U.S. flag decal
on its side.
camp, not as densely populated but every bit as fallen starry-eyed,
are the Tribe of Information Hunters and Gatherers. These dedicated
believers in the process will spend the next four years sewing together
their quilts of data from the wrongdoings of various GOP brown shirts
in the mistaken faith that an informed populace will kick out the bad
guys sometime between now and the 2008 demolition derby. And a feisty
claque of politically disenfranchised housing project residents at least
earn a few credibility points for not only shunning the other two major
groups, but, as the theoreticians and strategists of the multitudes,
they are already busying themselves evaluating tactics for forging the
Democratic Party into a force for progressive action in America, a goal
which even the more optimistic members admit could take upwards of twenty
years to produce. Many of these latter folks currently form a line waiting
to migrate across the U.S. border into Canada.
The small community I call post-election home is neither as cohesive
nor as readily identifiable as the other three, but our commonality
of purpose compensates for our lack of tight-fitting well-pressed uniforms.
Since we see todays Democrat as tomorrows Republican, and
yesterdays Republican as todays Fascist, we never held out
much hope for the donkey brigade to begin with, and so we bypassed the
denial, anger and grieving stages of adjustment. While we certainly
would have preferred Kerry to Bush, we also recognized that a JFK victory
at best would have resulted in a temporary holding pattern: the mudslide
into hell might have at least frozen over for a while.
Among ourselves we are known as The Gang, mostly because its a
short name, requiring no acronym. Our habits are simple. First, we never
watch television. According to Variety, the average Wonder Bread American
household consumes eight hours a day of that particular mental pabulum,
and since those are the vast majority of the current regimes supporters,
we simply wont be a party to it. Second, we read books, magazines,
and newspapers by the truckload. And by reading we do not mean scanning
the tapioca portions of our minds across the pages of some gas bags
exercise in creative typing. By reading we mean absorbing the words
of thoughtful men and women who strive to challenge, enlighten and entertain
us through the use of engaging concepts and style. Third, we keep ourselves
in excellent physical condition. With the industrial worlds worst
healthcare system, a soon-to-be squandered social security system, and
likely military attacks from the ever-growing list of new enemies, we
have to get and stay fit.
The most significant aspect of our behavior involves our interactions
with ourselves and with others. After all, the Bush Heads are correct
about one thing: one is either for them or against them. Those of us
resolutely against furthering the objectives of this corporatist economy
treat one another with patience, consideration, and respect. As to the
opposition, we areas the need arisesimpolite, vulgar, mocking
and rude. When one of the sons of Sean Hannity tells us to shut up,
we merrily jam a rotten banana into his mouth, gas him with pepper spray,
and hang his pants from a flag pole, ideally with him still in them.
This kind of response reminds usand themthat we are not
wimps. And besides, why should the other side have all the fun?
In the interests of literary tidiness, I can now clear up a few ancillary
matters raised earlier in this narrative. Although now separated by
a couple thousand miles, I am still in touch with some of the folks
from the DNC. Russ Fink works as a software consultant in Columbus,
but his true gift to the world remains his songwriting and performing.
Anyone searching for a singer-guitarist with the acerbic wit of a young
Elvis Costello and the bare-knuckle passion of a young Bruce Springsteen
should contact Russ immediately at finkruss at yahoo.com.
E Sunshine M returned to college where she routinely kicks
hell out of soccer and is currently planning several trips abroad. E
is annoyed with me at the moment, in large part because my abrupt departure
was followed by a visit from certain government officials curious to
understand how a guy who supposedly died in February could be working
for the DNC in July. All it takes, of course, is willpower.
I havent heard from JL lately, but when I last talked to him he
was applying to law school. Ive no doubt that my libertarian friend
is successful in whatever enterprise he has chosen.
JK and KB contacted the police shortly after I left the office. More
than one periodical reported that I had died earlier this year and they
were all in a huff about the possibility that someone was impersonating
me, as if anyone could. On the bright side, by mid-September the Columbus
field office had shut down, with no explanations forthcoming from Grassroots
Campaigns, although as an organization which operated as a self-perpetuating
fundraising machine constantly dependent upon an influx of new money
to pay old bills, it isnt difficult to imagine why.
As for myself, I am no worse off than at summers end. I continue
to freelance, a career which affords me two nights a week in a Motel
6 and the rest of the time finds me residing in a warm sleeping bag
between the library and the park. At any given time I have a dozen or
more pieces out to marketsome of which sella state that
keeps me busy. With the kind guidance of editor Sam North, I am near
completion of a feature film screenplay. Most important of all, I am
stronger and more resilient today than I was when my demise was prematurely
reported. Due to the kindness of several and to the betrayal of a few,
my survivor impulses are as sharp as the creases on Jerry Falwells
Sunday dress pants. When doves burn, as they so often do, sometimes
they come back with a lot of attitude. Heres hoping this farcical
election makes you stronger where it matters the most.
here Phil at the DMC and other stories
Doves Burn Pt Two- 9/27/04
Phil Mershon's Survivors guide to the US Election
© Phil Mershon November 2004
all rights reserved