Thursday, October 9, 2008

Presidential Election (Fictional)--2 Wonderful Novels

If you're not already registered to vote (you are, aren't you? the deadline in New York is tomorrow, October 10th), do so immediately or forfeit your right to complain for the next 4 years!

After you've done that, pick up one of these worthy novels about fictional elections. Both have pie-in-the-sky, idealistic, impossible-to-realize visions of how politics, government and society could be run, but if we want our country and the world to be a better place, don't we need to imagine and work for the changes that will get us there? In the words of George Bernard Shaw:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why? I dream dreams that never were and ask why not?" Why not indeed?

American Savior by Roland Merullo has a simple premise. Jesus has returned to 21st century America because he is worried about the direction the USA is taking and how his words have been used to support various political agendas, none of which have anything to do with faith, hope or charity. His solution? He decides to run for President of the United States. Narrated by a cynical television reporter who becomes the security chief for the campaign, we hear all the reasons why Jesus can never win--he won't fight dirty, he won't badmouth the other candidates, he won't hire a PR firm to produce glitzy television commercials in swing states. You know, he runs a clean campaign, just like our current candidates . And yet--somehow, Americans are listening to his message, understanding his solutions, and finding the best in themselves, which translates into supporting the surprise 3rd party candidate. I recommend this book--I think McCain and Obama should both read it, too. Yes, it is a political fairy tale, but don't fairy tales exist because they illuminate our archetypical desires? Read this and aspire to a better country.

Janet Tashjian is a young adult author who has written 3 books about Larry, the alter-ego of a young man named Josh. Josh's life ambition is to contribute and make the world a better place.
The first book, The Gospel according to Larry, is the story of Josh's (Larry's) Web site, in which he posts anti-consumerist sermons. It's great--read it! This post concerns the second book, Vote for Larry. Josh is back in business and looking for a new way to contribute, so he decides to run for President. (Do you sense a theme here?) Yes, he is too young to be elected, but he wants to bring attention to the issues that really matter to kids his age--the environment, the war, unemployment, education, social justice. His campaign starts with himself, his best friend Beth (on the ticket as Vice President), her boyfriend Simon, and his stepfather Peter as campaign manager. After a disastrous beginning, the campaign starts to pick up steam, and soon Josh is speaking to huge crowds of supporters across the country and his Peace Party campaign is s power to be reckoned with. Interspersed with the story (love triangle, campaign skulduggery, general angst), are pages of factoids about the environment, the increasing gap between rich and poor, quality of life, America's youth, and quotes from well-known iconoclasts from Edward Abbey to Martin Luther King, Jr. NOT JUST FOR TEENS!! If you are feeling hopeless about politics and convinced nothing will ever change, read this book--it will inspire you to be the change you want to see, right here, right now.

Keep inspiring, educating and entertaining yourself--READ!

Your vote is your voice--the only person who can silence you is you.
On November 4th, be radical--VOTE!