Monday, January 17, 2011

Politics as Usual (Satire) by Jon Wesick

Giving zombies the vote didn’t work out as well as our leaders hoped. Prominent politicians from both the Really Conservative and Slightly Less Conservative parties tried to recruit them. The SLC rally began on a note of optimism with a stadium filled with the newly dead their clothes smudged from the fresh graves they’d crawled out of. At first they seemed docile enough milling around in slow motion random walks. A few had even been persuaded to hold signs for presidential candidate Morris Lackluster.

So no one was alarmed when the zombies rushed with arms outstretched toward the voter registration tables until they tore the limbs off the volunteers and began devouring the still warm flesh. It was a scene of chaos with police firing shotguns into the melee and zombies cold dead fingers pulling intestines as if their writhing victims were plates of linguine in red clam sauce at Tony’s Pizza.

“You’ve got to shoot at their heads!”

Clouds of pink gore erupted from exploding skulls as the police adjusted their aim. To make matters worse Secret Service agents mistakenly emptied their Sig Sauer machine pistols into the brain pan of an aging news anchor who hadn’t shown signs of intellectual life in years.

The public relations disaster would have doomed the Lackluster campaign if the RC rally hadn’t been worse. Ignoring warnings from his bodyguards Senator Wishbone Prescott III waded into the drooling crowd to press flesh deader than a debate on the proper size of government only to be surprised by an anemic woman with dirty blonde hair sinking her teeth into his shoulder. Ever vigilant the Secret Service sprung into action. Party leaders couldn’t decide which was worse – footage of machete-wielding Secret Service agents hacking limbs and heads from the cold bodies of would-be voters or the senator’s subsequent campaign speech.

Pale, clammy, and feverish the senator had to be escorted to the stage where he held the podium in a death grip and slurred the old platitudes on tax cuts and lax corporate regulation. His speech became more incoherent until his eyes rolled back in his head and he uttered what would become the slogan for his presidential campaign.


In desperation Senator Prescott’s campaign manager called in the veteran political strategist, Joseph Meander.

“Not a problem,” Meander declared. “I’ve worked with less. Hell, I even got an attorney general confirmed who once lost an election to a dead guy. The trick is to realize elections aren’t about issues. They’re about perceptions.”

So the RC party rolled out the new campaign starting with a spot on the CBS News. Katie Couric traveled to the Montana ranch where the senator posed in a plaid shirt next to an axe and pile of firewood. To complete the image of youth and vigor his aids had applied a thick coat of pancake makeup to camouflage the rotting flesh on the senator’s cheeks and forehead. Later Katie and the senator sat down in front of a fireplace to record the interview.

“Senator, as you know the Israeli prime minister has refused calls for a freeze on West Bank settlements. If you were president, how would you handle this impasse?”


“Of course, you’d need to use all your intelligence to find a solution but what specific sanctions would you apply?”

The senator lunged and sank his teeth in Katie’s neck sending a gusher of hot, arterial blood into the camera lens. Campaign staffers rushed to pry him off while the panicked TV crew fled. Of course, no criminal charges were filed. The precedent that top RC party members could break the nation’s laws with impunity had already been established by several past presidents, vice presidents, and secretaries of defense. Nevertheless for the rest of the campaign Senator Prescott wore a muzzle like the one strapped around Hannibal Lector’s face in “Silence of the Lambs.”

The presidential debate went as expected with the senator giving his stock, one-word reply to questions on renewable energy, the economy, nuclear nonproliferation, and airline safety. Whatever the senator’s response lacked in nuance it made up for in conciseness. It fit on a bumper sticker. The American people could understand it but not everyone was impressed.

“Senator Prescott’s candidacy marks a new low for our democracy,” declared Keith Olbermann. “The nomination of a zombie without measurable brain function shows the cynicism of a party that cares more about gaining power than the nation’s welfare.”

Fox News responded by calling Olbermann a sushi-eating, Lexus-driving, elitist liberal. Even though the charges of elitism gave Senator Prescott a bump in the polls, the election remained too close to call. Pundits stated that victory hinged on the turnout of the zombie vote.

On the first Tuesday of November turn out they did but mostly to chow down on poll workers. Those zombies who retrieved ballots from the carnage appeared confused. Vote counters disqualified the few ballots zombies turned in because they couldn’t determine whether the blood spots indicated a choice or were random spatters. What sealed Senator Prescott’s victory was not the zombie vote but the reluctance of SLC members to leave their barricades to risk a gruesome death at the polls. Commentators had lots to say about the results.

“I don’t think this is the disaster my colleagues on the left say it is,” David Brooks said on the News Hour.
“Americans prefer divided government. What better balance can there be than having Congress controlled by the living and the Executive branch controlled by the dead?”

For a while it seemed as if Brooks was right. The stock market rallied and with no mental function the new president was not likely to declare any wars. Indeed the chance of a fiery, nuclear apocalypse replacing the slow-motion zombie apocalypse had never seemed so remote until President Prescott ate the Chinese premier at the G-20 summit.

Author bio:

Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, instigator of the San Diego Poetry Un-Slam, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over two hundred poems in journals such as the The New Orphic Review, Pearl, Pudding, and Slipstream. He has also published forty short stories including several satires in the Clockwise Cat. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.

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