Teenager’s Guide to Presidential Elections, Part 2: Partying
It’s Saturday night, and the party’s at your place. The AC’s hummin’, the Jacuzzi’s bubblin’, the music’s thumpin’. Cold drinks have been strategically placed around the house. All you need now are some patriotic banners, an American flag, and you’ve got yourself a politicalparty, right? Wrong!
Political parties actually have little to do with “partying.” They are organizations whose members think they know best how to run the country. Every four years they select a presidential candidate, then spend millions trying to persuade us that theirs will do the best job. You might know them better by their party mascots: elephants and donkeys, for example — “party animals,” if you will.
The animals at yourparty, however, want nothing to do with politics. Their minds are too focused on their empty plates, as they inch toward the backyard barbecue. OMG! You forgot the beef ribs for the grill! Fortunately, the party across the street has more food than they can eat, and soon you’re both hosting the most awesome block party ever!
Political parties would never join forces during a food crisis. Besides, with guests paying $40,000 dollars a plate for dinner, there’s never a shortage of eats. To be fair, these kinds of gatherings aren’t really parties. They’re fundraisersdisguised as a good time.
Your block party would look like a nuclear power plant after a radiation leak if you charged those prices. But campaign supporters are happy to pay the price of an SUV for a meal… and more! You see, the more money they give their presidential hopeful, the more likely he will do their bidding when he gets to Washington.
Not to be outdone, the other political parties throw even biggerbashes in bigger houses. Not only do their guests get a sumptuous supper, they are entertained by Country Music legends, while rubbing elbows with Hollywood celebrities.
Before long, these extravagant shindigs have ballooned out of proportion. The large crowds are moved into enormous mansions, then grand ballrooms, then civic arenas that hold thousands! Finally, each party throws the biggest political spectacle of them all, called a convention.
Here are a few more facts that distinguish your neighborhood get-together from a political event:
- You invite company — they woo constituents.
- You make friends — they build coalitions.
- You entertain your guests — they pander to their base.
It’s Monday morning, and the parties are over. At the city sports arena, the band has gone home and the convention floor has been swept clean of confetti. The curb in front of your house is littered with garbage bags, bulging with paper plates and plastic utensils. Somewhere, someone is being whisked away to the White House, thanks to the wealth and influence of a political party. As for you, after a weekend of merrymaking, you’re back in school, trying to remember where you left your homework.
Next time — Part 3: eCollege
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