Sunday, August 14, 2005

On the Campaign Trail

As a way to get my parents off my back about getting a real job, I recently began working on a local political campaign for a candidate running for District Attorney.

The first day, I met all the people there, who were mostly college-age kids or recent graduates. There was also a seasoned political veteran named Chuck and a mild-mannered, extremely nice Hispanic Outreach Coordinator named Carlos.

The second Monday I was there, I sat in on my first staff meeting--
Chuck: OK, does anyone have any further comments or concerns?

Charlotte (ridiculously WASPy PR girl): Carlos, could we put your Hispanic Outreach events on the calendar, just so everyone knows when they are?

Carlos: Yeah, maybe we could do that... IF ANYBODY CAME TO MY FUCKING EVENTS! I was out there alone in the 100 degree heat this weekend! What's the matter, you afraid of Spanish Harlem, of working-class Latinos? You don't care about their concerns? You think you have something better to do with your rich white friends?

Me (in my head): Wow Carlos, do you have ESP or something?

Charlotte (out loud): No, that's not it at all. We just were unclear on the time and place.

After a few days of licking envelopes, making ice, and cold-calling senior citizens, Chuck happened upon my resume and noticed that I had been the chief of staff on my own campaign for Vice President back in high school. Immediately, he catapulted me into the role of speechwriter. The candidate was preparing for a tough Question and Answer session at NYU, so I used all of my experience and political skill to write some responses she could give to possible questions-- here are a few of them:

Question: Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been aggressively prosecuting white collar crime in New York. Do you think he has been overzealous? How proactive would you be as District Attorney on the issue of corporate malfeasance?

Answer: Good question. Now in order to answer it, I will use an allegory. You see white collar crime is a lot like the issue of vending machines. There's all this talk among the ever-health conscious Administration of replacing the Coke and Sprite buttons with water and juice. But have they once asked the STUDENTS what we thought? An informal survey of the four guys at my lunch table revealed that 75 percent of students would like Red Bull or Rockstar in the machines, which are in fact more sugary than Coke or Sprite. So to answer your question, yes, the Administration most definitely has a tin ear when it comes to student concerns.

Question: There has been a lot of talk in this race about reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Is there a fear that if you got rid of those harsh penalites, the city might face a drug crisis that would rival the crack epidemic of the 1980s?

Answer: Another interesting question. I feel I can best answer this question with a metaphor. You see the Rockefeller Drug Laws

vending machines again- no intro - "OK, i was trying to get off the topic of vending machines, but if you instist on harping on it..."
No further questions.

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