Save Your Disarming Smiles


War Is Not Healthy for Senators and Other Semi-Living Beings

Memo to all non-senators at the Democratic National Convention: Save your starry-eyed looks and elbow-rubbing for the celebrity pols who have earned it. Remember the crucial Senate vote on October 11, 2002, to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq”? On that black Friday, your party outnumbered the GOP 50-49 (not counting one independent), yet the vote in support of Bush was an appalling 77-23. Your party is so bad that 29 of your senators—including John Kerry and John Edwards—voted for the resolution, and only 21 stood up to what appeared to many, even at that time, as an obviously contrived crusade to invade Iraq.

Your real celebrities, therefore, include Robert Byrd, Barbara Boxer, Mark Dayton, Russ Feingold, Bob Graham, and Teddy Kennedy. The person in that group of 21 who deserves the biggest hug is probably Paul Wellstone, but he died in a plane crash only two weeks after the vote.

As for the Democratic hawks, you might consider the Amish practice of shunning, because feeling “wanted”—by supporters or investigators, or both—is what being a politician is all about. As the Mennonite Information Center explains, “‘Belonging’ is important, and shunning is meant to be redemptive. It is not an attempt to harm or ruin the individual, and in most cases it does bring that member back into the fellowship again.” And here’s how to do it: “Families shun the person by not eating at the same table with them. The practice of shunning makes family gatherings especially awkward.”

Awkward or not, try to deny the pleasures of fromage and frottage to the likes of New York’s Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, and Tom Daschle. As for Byron Dorgan, go ahead and rub up against him. After all, he’s from North Dakota and doesn’t get to experience big crowds very often.

For the complete breakdown of that fateful vote, pull out your PDA or laptop or cell phone while you’re standing in line to get into the FleetCenter and click on this Citizens for Participation in Political Action page. Better yet, go visit that Boston-based group of peaceniks. Follow their directions to 43 Winter Street: “Take the T (subway) to either Park Street or Downtown Crossing, and walk along Winter Street for less than a block. (At Downtown Crossing, depending upon your exit, you may be on Summer Street, which becomes Winter Street at Washington Street.) Please ring the buzzer to be let in, and then proceed to the seventh floor.”

You are allowed to hug these people.