On the Political Process

Little known fact: I was a political science major in college, friends. I had a very real interest in the science of politics, an interest that almost pushed me into the work-heavy grasp of law school, an interest that kept me from taking more than two writing classes in college, an interest that was also made more palatable by the less rigorous routes to sweet grades. Point being: I like politics. I’m interested in them. I read about them. For me, they represent a very real sociology entwined in our lives that harks back to my days of student government.

A lot of this has to do with my own pragmatic realist sense of the political arena: I love knowing specific reasons why people have strong or muted like or dislike for certain candidates, why they’ll vote outside their economic interests, what actually drives them to the polls, etc, because so often these things have very little to do with cold hard factual data. And trust me, I am not judging others and claiming myself immune– my love of words, and sweetly worded speeches often pushes me to a point of irrational exuberance, not unlike discovering a pot of gold, or a well-groomed and potentially rideable unicorn. Crafting speeches is another obsession. I have several books featuring the great speeches of all time, and nothing gets me more fired up and immersed in goosebumps than sitting down in my nightgown and cap, opening one of those heavy books, and reading some crazy rhetorical geniusocity.

Anyway, my aim is not to render some last minute crazy political speech. It is simply to say vote. Cynics tend to claim that, in reality, certain states have pre-determined outcomes bc of heavy pockets of liberal or conservative votes, and that aside from say, 8 states, what you do doesn’t really matter– but that is missing the point. There is something intensely illuminating and powerful about walking into a booth and checking a box, or coloring in an arrow or hanging a chad, and it fills me with a kind of knowing power and quiet satisfaction of being a part of the political process, however small it may be. We the people decide who run (and potentially wreck havoc on) our country, just as we the writers decide who run (and hopefully wrecks havoc) on our books, and my hope is that–no matter who you choose for either– the resulting narrative is crazy, sexy, and undeniably cool.

Thank you for allowing me to go off like that. As a reward for your understanding, next week we’ll engage in a fantastical new choose your own commenting adventure. Promise. Thoughts on what make you irrationally exuberant should be taken out of your carry on, placed on the Commenting conveyor belt in a clear plastic bag, and contain individual clauses not exceeding 2.5 oz. Happy Election Day.

Vote or,  


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10 thoughts on “On the Political Process

  1. Erin

    It’s affects! "Affects" comes from the verb "to affect". "Effects" are a noun, e.g. "the effects of global warning…"

    Good luck reworking your ending! Keep us updated!

  2. Genevieve

    I’m finally breaking through a rough spot in the middle of the book. Did I update you guys? An agent likes the book, but wants me to rework the ending? She gave me some really good suggestions, that I actually like! Anyway, reshaping the ending drastically effects (or is it affects?) the middle.

    I’m happy about an articulate person too. Though I’m not for all of his ideas, it doesn’t hurt my ears to hear him talk. And I think this is a huge confidence boost for African American kids.

  3. Erin


    Since you like made up words so much, I wonder, will you miss President Bush? He had a few good ones.

    While I don’t want to be the one who brings politics into the commenting section here, I do just want to say that I’m psyched that we’ll be getting an eloquent, well-spoken president after 8 years of "strategery" and "You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Brownie!" Obama knows how to use words extremely well, and I look forward to his presidential speeches.

    (Genevieve, thanks for the encouragement! The editing continues in high gear this weekend! How are our other rewriters doing?)

  4. Olivia

    *erasing hash mark from the Tom’s made up words column and adding one to Olivia’s stupidity file*

    that file’s getting a bit full these days, but I still love the word "missives"

    Tom, you really could have left me in the dark and made yourself appear not only clever, but also creative, concordant, cogitative, and any other "c" word that sounds cool.

    "missive" — a letter or written message

    "geniusocity" — (still not found)

  5. Genevieve

    Tom, sometimes Kevin’s blogs plays tricks with you like a mirage in the desert. Remember that time when all of our comments vanished? Awwe, look! The long time commentators share memories. Does that make us cool, or does that imply that we spend too much time on-line?

    So while I’m sitting here eating all of the chocolate out of my kids’ trick or treat bags, I started wondering – what did, in fact, Kevin wear Halloween night?

  6. Tom

    Hmmm…I be confused. I could have sworn I checked this late in the evening and ’twas not a new post to be found, yet here it is this A.M. replete with missives from Ol and Gen. Interesting.

    Well, I did vote yesterday. I wasn’t all jazzed about my choices, but I voted. Right to complain later has been secured.

    And it’s weird knowing Kev was a polisci major. He’s much funnier and more relaxed-sounding than other politically inclined folks I know (who happen to be all Republican, and when I get together at this one dude’s house they all end up talking politics, because several of them have jobs wiht state government which usually lands me in the corner eating some crab dip and talking with my buddy’s wife, but in a 100% innocent and conversational way, and mostly we talk about her photography or what bands she likes – end paranthetical tangent).

    I liked Olivia’s poem. It made me post a blog. What a motivator that gal is!

  7. Genevieve

    I really want to be more invovled in politics but my natural aversion to conflict leaves me on the fence most of the time. Someone will ask me what I think and my gut reaction is to say, "Uh…which opinion will you argue with the least?" But I don’t want to be wishy washy so I put a lot of effort towards trying to find out what I believe.

    Sometimes I wish I were one of those people who are a diehard something or other, someone who writes the kind of speeches you were talking about, Kevin. I hear someone go on passionately about McCain and I think, "Wow. They’re really saying something." And then I hear my aunt give a tear-jerking speech about Obama and I think, "Damn, that’s true too." In fact, instead of reading stuff about politics what I really like to do is ask people what they think. It’s fascinating to watch someone defend what they believe will do the country good.

    Of course, I’m from Louisiana so that makes local elections simple. I vote for the person who is 1) not a member of the KKK, and 2) not a criminal. So pickin’s are slim.

    By the way, AWESOME poem in the last comment section, Olivia. Erin, keep going on the edits man! We’re rooting for you! And yes, definitely check out Tom’s pumpkins on his website. They are full of gourdly goodness.

  8. Olivia

    Wow, Kevin, that’s a lot of messed up words. I thought I was the only one who used terms like "geniusocity" and got angered when it wasn’t found in the unabridged edition of Webster’s and therefore unusable in any game of Scrabble, Boggle, or the like.

    Making up words is totally fantabulous, and one of my favorite things about being a writer. I can only imagine what would be included in one of your "irrationally exhuberant" political speeeches.

    (thoughts of lemons flying through the air toward a fired up and goosebump immersed Keving; the nightgown and cap was your first mistake – next time go with a basic suit and tie and, if you want to look really important, some black-rimmed glasses that serve no purpose other than to make you feel smart.)


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