Squid's Ink

Squid’s Ink: The Congressional clown car

Late summertime in Rhode Island, and between torrential rains and random tornados, everyone is hoping for one more clear beach day with unpolluted water, followed by clam cakes that now cost more than a buck apiece.

But there’s a feeding frenzy here in the Ocean State. When David Ciccilini pulled the ripcord on his political career, he opened the floodgates for a slew of wannabe US Representatives.

Remember the seagulls in Finding Nemo, all shouting, “Mine! Mine!”?

There are 13 Democrats, and two Republicans knocking on doors, shaking hands, kissing babies and flooding our mailboxes with generically bland oversized postcards.

Nobody knows who the Republicans are. And nobody really knows who the Democrats are. Oh, sure, we’ve met a few, seen a few of them cast votes in the State House or on City Council, but as for a deep understanding of these individuals as sterling and worthy representatives of our political power? Not so much.

The candidates on the far left are eating each other like a shambling band of zombies shouting, “Prooogreesssive… Proooogressive!” Debates are littered with accusations of signature gathering incompetence, mismanagement, questionable campaign contributions, and familial political action committees.

The candidates on the right are mostly invisible, except for Alan Waters, the one Republican commando, who parachuted in and declared himself a Democrat. In a way, it’s nice to see the flip side of the coin, instead of a wall of similar promises.

And everyone is promising everything. More low-income housing. Prevent climate change. More jobs. More housing in general. Fewer guns. Safer streets. Protect women’s rights. Promote racial equality. Student loan forgiveness! And no war with China, unless it’s a trade war, and even then, we’re not really sure, because we’re in favor of Chinese slave labor, and against Chinese intellectual property theft, but really want America to be manufacturing things again – preferably without major corporate welfare. And no new taxes for anyone except the rich! Whew!*

Fortunately, none of the candidates seems completely incoherent, except for Spencer Dickinson, who’s entire campaign and website is a somewhat rambling attack on RI’s 2011 RI Pension Reform legislation.

So, how are you going to pick? By gender? By color? By “Progressive” qualifications? Family values? Job history? Gun control or abortion litmus tests? Facility with CD1 Trivia? What Would Bernie Do?! Or just throw a dart…

 Oh, and the right-wing Rhode Island Center For Freedom & Prosperity is encouraging “Conservatives” to “Crossover” and vote Democrat. They have a whole ranking system that upends the “Liberal agenda.”

It’s enough to give this squid agita.

But at the same time, let’s close this spectacularly unfunny episode with one loud plea to “GET OUT AND VOTE!”

Chances are good your candidate won’t get elected, and if they do it certainly won’t be with a majority, but unless you vote you don’t get to complain. And after all, if the system is broken and you can’t fix it, isn’t that what most of us really want?

Hopefully after the mudslinging stops and the ballots are counted, we’ll have someone who will have the stamina and good will to represent our tiny part of the world for a whole year. And remember, whoever it is wins the welfare lottery and gets FREE HEALTHCARE FOR LIFE.

And then they’ll be hitting the fundraising treadmill to do it all again next year for the election in 2024.

*If you missed it, look for the comprehensive comparison in The Providence Journal on Sunday, 8/20, or the “In Their Own Words” section of this issue.   •

Note: This column is satire, not fact-based reporting. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Motif and are not guaranteed to be funny. The disclaimers are, though.