Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Life as a Political Insider

As probably does not surprise anybody reading this, I'm a Ron Paul supporter. As may surprise some reading this, I am enough so that I actually sucked it up and attended my local Republican precinct caucus on Super Tuesday. That's right -- I shaved, buttoned up my shirt, and plunged into enemy territory. I haven't really been widely advertising this fact.

So my intention was to go in, lay low, cast my votes for sympathetic delegates, and slink back into irrelevance. But then the convention started, and people started talking, and I started getting irritated with everyone, and then *I* started talking, and I talked for a while, and then people started arguing, and then somebody raised his hand and nominated me as a delegate, and a bunch of people voted for me.

The three primary slots went to the McCain supporters, but I somehow got elected as one of the alternates; which is how I found myself at the Republican Convention for Senate District 44 in Hopkins tonight.

So, I'm a playwright. In Minneapolis. Which means that I find myself operating in a pretty lefty crowd, most of the time. And most of my energy goes towards arguing with that. So tonight, I was startled to be reminded of a fact that I'd pretty much forgotten: I really fucking can't stand Republicans.

I've spent the past five years performing in front of a variety of crowds, in a variety of different contexts, and if I've picked up one new ability in that time, it's a sensitivity to audience response. And the "playful" back-and-forth between the speakers and the crowd was riddled with so much understated racism, homophobia, and xenophobia, I still feel a little slimy thinking about it.

I walked out early, unbuttoning my shirt on the way. My brief, experimental return to the two-party system has fizzled out rather abruptly. For better or worse, I'm officially back in my role as a political outsider. Which, in retrospect, is probably the place I belong.