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Mock the Vote

A month after we asked our readers to create and photograph political campaign signs of their own making, here are our favorites. Our writer announces the winners of our Encyclopedia Brown for District Attorney contest.

A few years ago I attended a talk given by Ira Glass, host of NPR’s This American Life. There was no unifying theme—he just sort of rambled on about a variety of things, even going so far as to rattle off his favorite programs, on both radio and TV. (Fun fact: Ira Glass is a huge fan of Howard Stern.) At the time, The West Wing was one of the hottest shows on television, and Glass spoke of it with a note of astonishment: “I just can’t believe we’ve gotten to this point where we’re so disgusted and frustrated with actual politics that we have to create a second, fictitious government, where presidents and congressmen act on principle and every disagreement is spirited but respectful.”

Of course, fictional characters have an advantage over reality when it comes to our democratically elected leaders: They don’t actually have to run for office. Jed Bartlet was the POTUS long before The West Wing pilot; on 2005’s short-lived Commander in Chief, Mackenzie Allen was elevated to the Presidency after her predecessor died on the operating table; and on Battlestar Galactica—easily the most political show currently airing—Secretary of Education Laura Roslin vaults to the highest office after robots exterminate 99.99 percent of the human race, which included the government. Even Aragorn got to skip the primaries and go straight to the coronation.

For most, the idea of slugging it out with the Cylons sounds preferable to running the election gauntlet, especially in an era where the smear, the negative ad, and the politics of personal destruction are the first resorts, not the last. And, let’s face it: Our fictitious heroes would probably be just as disinclined to run as you or I. Were they real, angry Bob Ewell would probably hold a seat on the city council and humble Atticus Finch would be more concerned with raising his precocious children.

But because it’s fun to imagine, we asked Morning News readers to create and photograph campaign paraphernalia for fictitious characters. Amazingly, many of you did. Here are our favorites.

Runners Up

Susan Thomsen
Westport, Conn.

Miss Nelson, meanwhile, is campaigning with the slogan “Accept no substitutes.”

Jonathan Busch
Palatine Ill.

I can imagine the negative ad campaign against this incumbent: “TK421 missed over 93 percent of the votes on the Imperial Senate. TK421, why weren’t you at your post?”

Josh Martinez
Córdoba, Argentina

First prize is a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.

Josh Martinez
Córdoba, Argentina

Of course, it doesn’t really matter who wins—parties these days are just two manifestations of the same political body.

Pam Coughlan
Springfield, Va.


Pronunciation: ‘pä-l&-”tiks
Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction
Etymology: Greek politika
Definition: A series of unfortunate events.

Third Place

Patrick Flahie
Holt, Mich.

Writes Patrick: “I swear to you: Drain Commissioner is an actual elected office here in Michigan.”

Second Place

Phil Adams
Greenville, N.C.

I understand he’s running neck and neck with his challenger Josef K., who has campaigned on a platform of reducing judicial bureaucracy, and made no secret of his disdain for trial lawyers.

First Place

Adam Schweiss
Louisville, Ky.

Given recent political scandals, the revelation that a candidate killed his father and married his mother would barely rate the “Lighter Side of News” segment at the end of the local broadcast.

* * *

The top three winners will receive TMN Holiday 2006 T-shirts. Big thank-yous and congratulations are in order for everyone who participated.

Now let’s all get out there and vote.

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