I was supposed to be born on Halloween. This would have explained my strong affinity for sugar and people dressed up as pirates, but alas, I was content to remain in my mother’s womb and not be an October baby.

My mother, being the organized person that she is, decided that since I was being so slow, she would take advantage of the situation. Even though I was a planned cesarean section delivery, she decided she would wait the whole week so she could attend a play, take my sister to my grandparents and then finally, if she got around to it, have a baby. By waiting an entire week after Halloween, my mother gave me the misfortune of being a voting week baby. As a child, my birthday dinner was often preceded by a trip to the local voting booth. At dinner, my parents discussed their predictions for the outcome of the elections while I quietly stared off into space wondering why they didn’t get me a pony like I had asked. I often celebrated my birthday with a Halloween party or later in November when the excitement of the elections had finally died down. It wasn’t that I particularly disdained the whole political sphere, it was more that I just didn’t feel the need to pay attention to it. When I was 10, my parents pointed out that John F. Kennedy Jr. was eating dinner at the same restaurant as us.

To which I replied “John Candy is here? Where? How am I not seeing him? He is huge!” Once I realized that the amazingly good-looking son of one of the most iconic presidents of all time was not in fact the lovable Uncle Buck, I was quite disappointed.

I suppose I am privy to the belief that the whole song and dance of a politician is very fake, and that some ivy-league educated, yacht-owning boy from old money can really empathize with a single mother on welfare. My parents have never been aggressive politicians, but they did encourage my sister and I to engage in political discussions at the dinner table, just as the Kennedys did.

My extended family, however, is very much divided among die-hard, old “Bush is doing just fine” Republicans and environmentalists, Gore and Clinton loving, “Bush is the scum of the earth” Democrats. When these major debates begin at family gatherings, it is usually after we have stuffed our faces and post-cocktail hour, which adds to the cogency of everyone’s logic. However, starting in the summer of 2004, while I was taking organic chemistry at New York University, I became fascinated by the frenzy surrounding the 2004 presidential race besides anything – including staring at a wall.

CNN became my Bible. I didn’t even have to constantly watch the television because election coverage was everywhere. Not just in newspapers, of course, but in magazines like Vogue and Bazaar. Politics had become incredibly fashionable. Being able to hold your own in a political argument had become as cool and classic as a Louis Vuitton clutch. Celebrities were flocking to politicians like tone-deaf psychos to “American Idol” – did anyone else think Ben Affleck had a man crush on John Kerry? Some celebrities, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, were even given whole states to run.

Then, if the drama of the presidential race wasn’t enough, the governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey, not only came out of the closet to his wife, but to the entire nation and announced his resignation. You can’t make stuff like this up! “Nip/Tuck” isn’t even this good.

I had finally found my niche in politics. I embraced the shallow political dance with fervor. The big election news this fall was that New Jersey elected Democratic governors. That is swell, but my question is, who are their wives sleeping with and what will they be wearing to the inaugural ball?

Lepore can be reached at mlepore@campustimes.org.



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