How to Talk Politics


Slap on some new-minted cologne,
slick back with a fine-toothed comb,
llck the pearly whites and grab the lectern with both hands.
Lean forward. Lean.
Imagine you’re as big and hard as a microphone.
Picture a room full of pretty girls, strapless and tipsy
it’s prom night and you know how that story ends, baby.
There’s nothing to worry here, happy endings and nothing to hide
(only don’t touch the microphone, you don’t know where it’s been).
Remember, your smile is your best defense
an eloquent answer, your blinking alibi, stretched tighter than a teflon condom,
and finest offense as well: pepper the crowd up and down, side to side, until your sincerity has touched them deeply, each and every.
Take the tone of a kindergarten teacher reading aloud. Father Christmas interpreting scripture for happy idiots. You could talk the panties off a dead girl if you tried.
Just don’t take no for an answer.
Thank those you owe, then cite some historical figures
Roll them around in your mouth.
(But don’t touch the microphone–it looks too much like a you-know-what.)
Call people folks. Define us and them. Talk about bootstraps, integrity, equality, freedom, peace, and making tough choices. Slide your tongue around these sounds and swallow. Make them part of you.
Shake your head while you promise and smile when you disagree.
Lean close to the mic but don’t touch (think African-American; think homosexual). Think of no as an invitation to lean harder.
Remember to say it like you mean it. Remember: If you believe it, then it’s true to you.
*
*

Are you as nauseated by politics as I am?

Does anyone else feel like women’s rights have an imminent appointment for a late-term abortion?

What is going on here?

(Click HERE to hear Regina Spektor’s wonderful song The Ballad of the Politician— it takes a moment to get going but it’s worth it!)

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About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.

28 comments

  1. I can understand the disillusionment. Great way of putting it, though!

  2. Welcome back, Anna. This poem is incredible. My god. I just read it out-loud to my husband, after which he just stared at me and said, “Wow,” and “that’s exactly what it is.” We watched the roundtable on This Week With George Stephanopolous this morning, Donna Brazile and George Will going back and forth. So sick of politics. Sick. And still 2 months before the election, 2 months of it getting worse and worse.

    I watched much of the convention this week. 2,100 soldiers now dead in Afghanistan, and the war or what’s to be done about it, not even mentioned. Not mentioned. But at least now we know how poor Ann and Mitt were, what with having to live in a basement apartment and eat off the ironing board. Poor things.

    • I wish I could throw up to feel better. What are we going to do for the next two months? What other criminal lies and circle-jerks will we be forced to witness? I say we all vote now and get it over with.

      • Yes. Vote now and end this. They always talk about the undecideds. Who are they? I know I’ve never met one. Undecided voters are a fantasy.

        On another topic, did you see the article (on CNN.com I think) this morning about the 1973 class reunion at a small town in Louisiana. There is a list of events, and on the one where an afterparty is being held at someone’s home, it says, “Whites Only.” I’m from the southern midwest, so this doesn’t really surprise me, but still. It’s not been a good morning of “news”….

        • I didn’t see the CNN article but my man is from a small town in Louisiana, so I know exactly what you’re talking about, because I see it every time we visit. I love his family but I know better than to engage in certain topics when I’m there. Ask “What do you think about Obama care?” and someone is liable to go ballistic, even though it hasn’t even happened yet. This country is bipolar and it’s only getting worse.

  3. Jesus fucking Christ, yes. Oh you are a goddess to me, Anna in the hat.

    Facts have become a failed campaign strategy, a mild inconvenience. I watched Bill Maher try to talk to a Republican about climate change, and poor Bill ended up doing a *headdesk* out of sheer frustration. Nothing gets through. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

  4. I’m with you all the way Anna. How can anyone be ‘undecided’?!! Unless they’ve had their head up their ass for the last 50 years.

    Mike

  5. Politics Schmolitics. When I was in high school we had to take a career test to determine what career best fit your personality and skill set. It was multiple choice. My results were: Jenni Green, your personality indicates that you would be good at the following careers:

    Actor/ Actress
    Military Service
    Politician

    Makes you think…

  6. I’m so glad you are back. Again, you don’t disappoint. I dumped my “land line” telephone this summer, partly because no one ever called and it was too spendy, but mostly because political robo-calls seem to be exempt from the “Do not call” system. Stupid people will still be alive in the future, I suppose, but I would like to think that future generations will look back with open-mouthed amazement and amusement, over the fact that politicians wasted their time trying to tell women what the fuck to do with their bodies, and trying to tell people who to marry, while kids went to bed hungry and people couldn’t afford to buy their prescriptions.

    • Kevin!
      Ignoring the do-not-call list is just one more example of not taking no for an answer and general date-rapist attitude. Gross, isn’t it? (Especially certain someones who have no idea about what rape is or the basics of female plumbing.)
      I’m glad to be back– what did I miss?

  7. kb

    Thank you so much. I loved what you said. Sometimes I feel not like puking but like crying with frustration that it doesn’t have to be this hard.But when an elected official is blazingly ignorant of the female reproductive system and yet gets to create and vote on ANY legislation, I think this is the fault of the educational system. We have to be educated to be a citizen republic. Whats the point of a bunch of ignorami running things? We need facts and reason to guide us, that is to me the responsibiltiy of citizenship.. Seems like the rest of politics is like what my grandma called snake oil salesmen, someone trying to use power and words to take our money and our power away from us.

    • Yes– to cry or to puke, that is the question. At least we’re not eyeballing our uzis, right? The most depressing thing is that he is probably not the only representative who does not understand the basics of what he’s voting on. And most people consider these guys to be good representatives.

  8. yes yes and yes. Every time I watch or listen to American republicans I just feel ill.

  9. I once had an employee who homeschooled her son (or in her case, homeskooled), idolized Rush Limbaugh, and believed that we needed to erect a wall on the Mexican border to keep those job-stealing animals out of our country. The rest of the staff and I conversed with her for months, slowly educating her to the realities of commerce, society and the lying liars of the far right. She seemed to be on the verge of understanding. Then she quit. To be honest, I don’t think we changed a single opinion of hers. This is what is out there.

    • Interesting how we all repeat what we hear. And if we don’t hear the whole story, we can’t imagine the other side. I am grateful to be able to raise my children in North California with annual visits to Louisiana to see the whole picture.

  10. “Remember, your smile is your best defense
    an eloquent answer, your blinking alibi, stretched tighter than a teflon condom”

    The truth of that line killed me. I’ve had to look away a lot lately, but I can’t abdicate responsibility like those who refuse to care, think, and vote. I’m very serious when I say politics these days is making me sick.

  11. I cannot speak politik, so what I do instead is leave a big box with well wishes on your doormat, tap three times at your door, discreetly, and then, before you open, brandishing a broomstick at me, I run.

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