As Karl Rove twiddles the dials on the White House Moonshine Machine, prepare yourself for the coming bloodbath. In-between now and then (November 2002) expect to be lectured on individual liberty, personal hygiene, civic duty, discretion, prudence, staying the course?, the middle-to-high moral ground, the implicit loveliness of capitalism, and — if needs be — the reborn born-againism of our latterday be-knighted crusader for all things kind and gentle.
If this fails, expect the immediate invasion of Iraq, to begin as soon as the polls show the republicans losing serious real ground in the Senate and House elections. It might also be worthwhile, then, while all this posturing is under way, as trial balloons come and go, as bluster turns to compromise, as deals are made to salvage individual reputations and fortunes, that the voter huff and puff in return — first this way, then that way — by way of whatever venue you find worthy, sending false signals to the White House number crunchers. Send Bush’s numbers up one week, send them to the bestial floor the next week, run en masse to third party candidates, embrace your least favorite new democrat (for five minutes), and in November vote anything but republican. If voting for a third party candidate will be a vote for the republicans, you’ll probably have to vote for the new-old democrat anyway.
Send nice letters to the White House. Send lots of them. Send e-mails to republican congressional candidates extolling their virtues. Ask them how you can funnel to them your life savings without setting off campaign finance reform alarm bells. Join focus groups and pine for a return to Reaganism — nice dull trickledownism. Complain to newspapers about media bias. Write your friends and ask them to switch parties (several times). Sow so much confusion that the Moonshine Machine blows a circuit and is rendered inoperable.
In other words, tell Karl Rove to get lost.
After you’ve completed your first round of monkey business, and the smoke is still rising from the War Room at the White House, relax. Smile, enjoy your last weeks of summer and prepare for the Great Confusion. Media will change its prognosis every twenty-four hours. The republicans are up, the republicans are down, the republicans are stuck, the numbers are volatile, the American public is fickle. Whatever you hear, smile. When you do finally vote make sure the effort has not been in vain.
In the last weeks of October pull out all the stops. Call republican candidates and tell them you don’t understand them any longer and you are sorry to hear they may lose. Send them campaign contributions in the form of rolled pennies. If you have any green stamps left from the 1960s, send these. Send them an IOU. Put signs out on your lawn or stoop with a picture of one candidate but afix the logo of the opposite party. Mix things up. Distribute literature in your neighborhood asking voters to wear clothespins on their noses when they go to the polls. Offer them a clothespin. If asked by a republican zombie on the street if you are a republican, feign the attention span of an eight-year old and say “sort of”. Send clothespins by the boxcar load to the White House. You could even paint them red, white and blue or include some soiled laundry. When the calling centers start blitzing the nation with automatic get-out-the-vote messages unplug your phone. If they persist, block the call. If the local republican or democratic machine calls close to the election, tell them you’re an anarchist and you’ll be on vacation during the election.
In other words, tell the political machinery to get lost.
After you’ve switched parties about half a dozen times (not on paper but during any correspondence or interaction with the machinery of contemporary politics), re-register as an independent. If you cannot vote in your local primaries as an independent, change to any party whatsoever, but vote anti-republican. When Bush makes his next speech about ethics and dental hygiene, exercise, or how to balance your checkbook, send adulatory letters and faxes to the White House. Praise the make-believe president for being so clean, buff, and perhaps throw in an erotic memento. You could even send naughty birthday wishes, even though it’s not his birthday. Include a picture of yourself in your birthday suit. Imagine tens of thousands of birthday cards arriving at the White House in September and October, gumming up the mailroom, as it sorts through letters looking for support for the destruction of Iraq, Iran, North Korea — the axis thing — and throws out all the whiny letters from disgruntled investors who lost everything on Wall Street and don’t have a pot to piss in.
In other words, tell the Bush League to get lost and join the anti-republican party.
Gavin Keeney is a landscape architect in New York, New York. and the author of On the Nature of Things, a book documenting the travails of contemporary American landscape architecture in the 1990s.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org