Spotted at a shopping mall recently: a woman wearing a t-shirt that read 'Republicans for Voldemort'.
File this under 'Only in America'. The creator of the t-shirt is the author of a comic strip called 'goats'. The comic features two humans named Jon and Philip, their talking pet goat Toothgnip and their evil talking pet chicken Diablo. Filling out the roster are aliens, beer, women, beer, dwarves, beer, zombies and, did I mention, beer. It's been hard to access the strip's Web site recently, which probably means it's getting way more traffic than it can handle (requests for t-shirts, I'd imagine).
Of course, this poses the question: would the Democrats support Harry Potter? What about the Independents and Green Party? I suspect the Greens would support Hermione and the Independents may go for one of the Weasleys. Not that any of this matters, as the 'candidates' are mostly under-age and the wrong nationality. I'd also note that none of them are real, but this suggests way too many flippant comments on the believability of certain politicos, so pretend that I didn't even bring it up.
I really hope that JK Rowling1 has a sense of humour about all this and doesn't slap the creator of 'goats' with a cease-and-desist order. With a Presidential election looming, we Americans need all the laughs we can get. So far the laughs have been thin on the ground. Having watched parts2 of the recent televised debates between George W Bush and John Kerry, I wasn't laughing; instead I was staring in open-mouthed awe.
Political content alert! Our illustrious Prez has an interesting way of dealing with controversy. It consists of the following repeated as often as needed:
- No, I didn't.
- No, it wasn't.
What's even more astounding is that this approach has worked, more or less. I tried using the same tactic when I was a kid and my parents weren't having any of it. I discovered pretty quickly that it was a lot less work to 'fess up to my misdeeds and take my lumps. (It would have been even less work had I not misbehaved to start with, but what the heck — some things are worth all the trouble that follows. )
Anyway, George W Bush may or may not be a Voldemort for our times but John Kerry isn't particularly Harry Potter-ish and this metaphor has probably run its course. Still, this year's Presidential election is plenty dramatic. The stakes are high, opinions abound and it's unclear which of the candidates is in the lead. Bush led in the polls after the Republican National Convention, but this lead pretty much evaporated after the first two Bush-Kerry debates. What is clear is that there has been a dramatic increase in voter registrations this year, particularly in the so-called 'battleground states'. Nationwide figures aren't yet available, but anecdotal evidence shows an upswing in many places, often urban but some rural. The reasons for this seem obvious. In addition to the importance of the election, groups from all over the political spectrum were energised by the 2000 election, the results of which swung on just a few votes in just a few states.
Whether these newly-registered voters actually turn out on Election Day is another matter. Historically it's been very difficult to unseat an incumbent President during wartime. We'll find out on Tuesday, 2 November whether this year will prove an exception to the rule.
And so it goes. Perhaps the Voldemort supporters should take heart. According to a 9 October news story from Australia's Herald Sun, a brown snake recently showed up at a Sunshine Coast polling booth and caused a stir. Australian Electoral Commission Queensland officer Anne Bright said that she had a report of brown snakes wanting to vote, but other than that, the voting went smoothly. I think she should look again. If the Slytherins are mobilising the troops, next thing you know, we'll have snakes in the US casting their votes for Voldemort, and the Head Evil-doer Himself will be in office. Perhaps I'd better put on my adult-sized Harry Potter costume3, pull out my wand, and prepare to zap any snakes that show up