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"Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

September 5, 2008

Mr. Chairman, I cast my vote for . . .

I remember when it used to be exciting and interesting to watch the conventions, when there was suspense and intrigue. I miss the smoke filled back rooms and the power struggles and the really not knowing who was going to be the party’s candidate. Ahh, the good old days.

I miss those days when each state and territory would proudly stand up and give a little commercial for their state – “Mr. Chairman, the great state of Montana, with its Big Sky and its wide open spaces and its wealth of silver and gold, proudly casts its twenty-five votes for . . .” We would have a scorecard and would tally the votes for each candidate. There would then be the breathless wait for the naming of the running mate. I long for the days when we would hear, “ Madame Chairman (this was pre-pc), Puerto Rico casts ˝ vote for our great governor and ˝ vote for our chairperson and twenty-two votes for . . .” It felt like real life. Yes, there were deals made in the back rooms and the politicos would do the actual running of the convention. But isn’t it the same now? No one actually runs his own campaign, no one writes his or her speeches, entirely, no matter what people say. It all seems too staged and too prepared and too – slick.

And so Madame Chairperson, I would like to move that the campaigns can last only six weeks, and that from then on, you political people will swear to leave us alone and that you will then actually tend to the business of the country and that you will not start your campaign, no matter how covert, no matter how much money you need, no matter how appealing, no matter how much pressure you feel until six weeks before the next election.

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