Playful Politics: The Side of Power Play You Shouldn’t See


I, like many, was ignorant of the candidates of the Midterm National Elections that took place just recently, so I thought that I was somewhat obligated to be vaguely aware of the political players and the political spectrum. While I was scouring the fabulous videos by The Young Turks on YouTube, who should appear but a colourful character by the name of Robert Burke as my opening advertisement. The ad itself was strange and there are many like it, but the message was clear that Robert Burke (no relation to the Democratic candidate Mary Burke) had a very unique selling point: weed. A “one-trick pony” in every sense of the word; he looked more like a foreman for an office complex building site six years behind schedule than a “blazing” budding governor who was supposedly driving the libertarian party truck this election season. Not Mary Burke, mind you, which the far-too-peppy stoners in the videos couldn’t make clear enough for us in her being so “out of touch,” they felt the need to replace her smiling shmuck smile with that of her bulkier and plainer twin. Wait, are they twins? I really lost that part of the message….

This made me titter for a while but got me thinking about the crazy side of politics: you know, the guys who want to destroy the sun or make contact with the people who live in the center of the Earth. There have been a few colourful characters here as well as back home in my native England, and when you look at them all together there is a lovely spectrum of mania across the board. Here there are the likes of Allen Quist, who stated that there was scientific evidence for the existence of dragons, while England had a party running in Newcastle upon Tyne that campaigned for equal rights for the dead and the living. That’s the corpses, like the literal corpses—not the spirits of said corpses. It really brings into question who else is climbing “Mount Kushmore” along with Robert/Mary Burke, eh? But the thing is there are also some sane ones that just kind of seem crazy. There is method to the power hungry madness.

The famous “Rents Too Damn High” part of Internet auto tune fame is one that utilizes its craziness very well, to the extent of managing to raise a candidate’s vote count from 4,000 in the 2005 New York governor election to 40,000 in 2010. Not too shabby. It is built on welfare and equal opportunity philosophies, and its founder, candidate and leader Jimmy McMillan also said that he wished to win without a single vote from upstate New York. The UK similarly has the somehow-still-around Monster Raving Loony Party that, while a satire party first and foremost, has instances of seriousness. It has arguably done its bit to highlight the need to reduce the voting age to 18 (branding itself as the “Teenage Party”), while also doing silly instances such as one of its key members prior to its formation running as—and I’m not joking— “Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F’tang-F’tang-Ole-Biscuitbarrel” in the Crosby 1981 bi-election.

There is madness wherever you go, of course, but nowhere is it more entertaining and frightening than in politics, from the likes of the “Blazin’ Burke Bro,” who is sooooo into weed maaaaan, to the likes of “Screaming Lord Sutch” of the Loony Party fame. These guys go unnoticed, it is with policy makers that seem sane but have mad ideas underneath where the problems arise. Let’s hope the venerable Governor Scott Walker doesn’t surprise us now.


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