New York City
I'm not a political person. Everyone knows that I firmly believe that politics is rigged on an national and international scale, and that you only really have a say in local politics. What's going on in your hometown or county? Because in the end that's what matters the most.
At heart, I'm a Jeffersonian Anarchist. I firmly believe there needs to be a revolution every seven years and that men should govern themselves instead of a corrupt central institution. You can imagine how disappointed I was when I returned from a trip abroad and saw the streets of America empty. Not one single protest over the economic crisis or the oil wars or the dozens of other shit piles that our leaders have steered us through. Kids today are more interested in updating their MySpace or Facebook pages than taking the the streets like the youths of the 1960s. Post-modern America is the place where more people vote for the next American Idol winner than vote in the national elections.
I have a degree in political science which means jack shit these days. But I have worked on multiple congressional campaigns in Georgia during college in the 1990s. One of them was for Ben Jones, the actor who played Cooter on Dukes of Hazard. He left the sketchy backlots of Hollyweird for the sketchy backrooms of Washington.
I also worked on a Presidential campaign. I'm a registered Independent and used to pimp out for the Green Party when I stumped for Ralph Nader in 2000. My main job was smoking as much pot as possible then standing out in front of a subway station in New York City handing out pamphlets while subversively trying to pick up hippie chicks.
I eventually lost interest in politics and said goodbye to hope after several friends of mine died on 9.11.
When I lived in Seattle at the end of the 1990s, I met plenty of community activists and that's when I started to believe in the grassroots movement. I also had some faith restored in government and politics. I saw that there was a need for strong leaders on a local level. Several of my friends to this day are still very active in their neighborhoods and communities. They have been fighting the Man on a daily basis. They are not looking for glory or fame, rather, they want to have a say in how they live their lives and help form the kind of community that their children will grow up in.
I always encourage my friends to stop wasting their time watching the idiots on the alphabet news networks and to stop arguing about the actors and snake oil salesmen that were propped up by the Bilderbergs for this upcoming election. You cannot stop the machine, but you can affect what happens in your local community. Do the research and find out who the local politicians are and if the decisions they make will affect your livelihood as an individual, as a parent, or as a poker player.
There was an incident that happened when I was a kid growing up in the Bronx. We lived in a predominately Irish neighborhood and there was an older guy (We'll call him Irish Kevin) who wasn't a politician in the formal sense. My old man called Irish Kevin a "backroom politician" which means he would sit in the smoky backroom of the local pub and make deals. Irish Kevin was the guy who was really in charge as he mapped out our futures.
Irish Kevin had brothers and cousins in the Catholic church and in both the NYPD and the NYFD. Even the local Italian mafia-types had to work with Irish Kevin. You couldn't run for any office without his approval. Irish Kevin had a tight grip on my neighborhood but seemed like a normal guy. He drank with my old man at the pub. He attended church every Sunday and even coached little league baseball. But his own hubris was his downfall. He eventually got busted for rigging an election.
We had tons of nursing and retirement homes in my neighborhood. Those voters were huge commodities. Irish Kevin had come up with a valuable service where the local college kids would shuttle the elderly from their homes to the polls. It seemed like an amazing idea to help get everyone in the community (both young and old) involved with politics. However, his reasons were not altruistic. Instead, he had some of the kids drive the old folks to more than one voting area. He also managed to use some of the elderly women in our neighborhood to pretend to be someone who passed away earlier in the year. Yep, Irish Kevin was the king of getting people to crawl out of their graves and cast a vote. This was still in the late 1970s and early 1980s where you could get away with that blatant form of voter fraud. That's the first time I heard the expression... "Voter early and vote often!"
That little bit of corruption went on for over a decade. It was Irish Kevin's safety net to guarantee that his guys would win their various elections ranging from fixing the head of the local school board to propping up a state senator.
Irish Kevin eventually got busted and his grip on local politics was lost forever. There was an ensuing massive vacuum of control and the political vultures swooped in to try to pick up the pieces and seize power. Local politics in my old neighborhood really hasn't been the same since. I cannot condone what Irish Kevin did over the years, but at least you knew who was in charge. If you had a problem with potholes or garbage issues, you went down to the pub where he would be drinking every night. Good luck today trying to wrangle those used car salesmen into a one-on-one conversation. They pretend to be there for the people when they are only looking out for their political futures. I know this because one of my uncles is firmly entrenched in the new local machine as President of the American Legion. He's as crooked as they come.
The presidential election is rigged and has been too many times to count. We have the illusion of democracy in America. Been like that since inception. But as I stated earlier, you can make an impact on a local level. Find out who your local politicians are. Figure out who the Irish Kevin is in your neck of the woods. Talk to him. Get him drunk. Show him pictures of your kids. Tell him your problems and fears and concerns. If that doesn't work, then talk to your neighbors. Band together. Organize yourselves. The Man has been trying to divide you and keep you isolated. But when people get together and focus on a unified goal... I firmly believe that they have a shot at changing things. Gather. Discuss. Mobilize. Make a difference. Because the suits in Washington don't give a rat's ass about you and your family.
That's my only politically themed post this year. Maybe forever. I have said my piece. Stop worrying about what you cannot change and focus on the local scene where you have a chance of making a bigger impact. And if that issue is poker-related, then seek out your local politicians and try to talk to them about your issues. Don't trust any elected officials in Washington since their number one priority is to cater to the needs of the corporations who got them elected in the first place.
I have avoided all the 2008 election hype as much as possible. I tuned it out. Being overseas helped and oxycontin in small doses makes it easier for you to become very apolitical. I stopped following the news or reading some blogs and friends' Twitter feeds until after the election is over. I'm not missing anything.
This scene from Where the Buffalo Roam sums everything up the best....
[Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, posing as a reporter for The Washington Post, is alone in an airport restroom when the "Candidate" aka Richard Nixon enters and starts using the urinal.]
Thompson: Hi sir, it's Harris from the Post. Can I get you anything sir?
Nixon: How's the family Harris?
Thompson: Oh the family, well that's bad news. The screwheads finally came and took my daughter away. Let me ask you a question sir, what is this country doing for the doomed? There are two kinds of people in this country, the doomed and the screwheads. Savage tribal thugs who live off their legal incomes, brow deep out there; no respect for human dignity. They don't know what you and I understand, you know what I mean.
Nixon: You ever play football, Harris?
Thompson: Yes sir, thank you sir. I played in college, and they're gonna get your daughter too sir. I've heard their rallies, they like Julie but Tricia... and they really hate you sir. You know that one and a half of the State Senate of Utah are screwheads. You know I was never really frightened by the bopheads and the potheads with their silliness never really frightened me either, but these goddam screwheads, they terrify me. And the poor doomed, the young, and the silly, the honest, the weak, the Italians ... they're doomed, they're lost, they're helpless, they're somebody else's meal, they're like pigs in the wilderness.
Nixon: Come here Harris, come here. Fuck the doomed!
Indeed. Fuck the doomed.
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