Monday, March 12, 2007

D.C. Fallout: Probin’ the Political Underbelly (Part I)

Political Fallout Goes to Washington

How can I write a political satire blog without ever having been to our nation’s capitol? It’s easy: Google. Nonetheless, driven by pangs of guilt and yearnings for the truth -- for we all know “the Truth is STILL out there” -- I decided it was time to take a trip to D.C. and poke around. Albeit four days is barely enough time to scratch the underbelly of the political beast, but since I’m not traveling with a political proctologist, it’s probably best.

Thanks to the fog delays at O’Hare, I was stranded in Iowa and ended up losing a half-day scrape with the Nevermind. Although, this provided me with the opportunity to bone up on my research, which involved reading Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation.” Like most political decisions made in the heat of the moment, this probably wasn’t the best traveling companion, given the book’s title and the post-9/11 fear that has made its cancerous pilgrimage through the nation’s airports. Fortunately I made it through security with the book in my hand; apparently it was less threatening than a bottle of Evian water.

If you haven’t read Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation,” it’s an irreverent, yet obsessive foray into the assassinations of our presidents. Vowell chronicles her insights as she takes a theme-based road trip that relives the murders of our fallen presidents. While visiting all of the monuments yesterday, I fear Vowell’s voice had usurped the forefront of my mind as I tried imagining the times when these folks were alive. While walking through the FDR monument, reading all of his profound quotes chiseled on the walls, I couldn’t help but wonder: What profound words will be ascribed to President George W. Bush? “Bring it On!”?

After being stranded in Chicago, the fog eventually lifted, and I, still wearing the same smelly change of clothes, was D.C. bound. Just before boarding my plane, the airport’s Big Brother announced that the terror alert had been raised to “Orange.” What the hell is “Orange”? I can’t remember the primary color codes of terror, but I deduced that “Red” was the highest and “Orange” must be the second highest, since it’s a mere shade away. Normally, this wouldn’t have phased me, but since I was carrying “Assassination Vacation” and wearing a bright orange t-shirt, I was feeling a wee bit uneasy. Worse, a Dylan quote was splashed across my chest: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” In and of itself, this quote is perfectly harmless and quite profound, but it was also the quote that inspired the Weatherman, a fringe splinter group of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society,) who attempted to bring the Vietnam War home by bombing places in the U.S. associated with building military weapons. Fortunately, reality trumped paranoia, given the fact that I was surround by a flock of sorority girls from Ball State, who were dressed in terry cloth leisure suits and stood by clutching their coveted hard copies of Janet Evanovich novels. I sensed all of these connections were lost on them.

Having managed to escape detection by Homeland Security, I boarded the plane for D.C., knowing that there’s a good chance my photo will be on file at O’Hare upon my return, assuming the Weatherman doesn’t blow in another layer of fog, stranding me in the nation’s underbelly, indefinitely.