introducing readers to writers since 1995

October 11, 2004

Which Side Are You On?

by Ron Hogan

Slate asked a bunch of writers who they'll vote for, and most of them say John Kerry. Dan Chaon starts things off with a fairly thoughtful argument for voting Democrat, although calling Bush "probably not the Antichrist, but... as close as I've seen in my lifetime" is maybe a bit hyperbolic. On the other hand, it's not as snotty as Amy Tan's "I'm voting for Kerry, because I have a brain and so does he." Though she also gets around to articulating a thoughtful position, and I'd already made up my mind long ago to vote for Kerry, I don't see that the political discourse is enriched by calling one's non-favored candidate the Antichrist or lacking brains. (Which is not the same thing as lacking a certain level of intelligence, or demonstrating a consistent ability to run the finances of everything he touches into the ground. And I don't care how badly the GOP has sullied the rhetoric; liberals can and should do better.) Along similar lines, I'll be curious to see if Vendela Vida holds true to her vow, "If [Kerry] doesn't win, I'll have to be Canadian for the next four years," and if Dave Eggers will go with her or stay behind to run the non-profits.

A few novelists are willing to admit their support of Bush. Orson Scott Card says "personal honesty is also important to me, and Kerry is obviously not in the running on that point," though he never quite explains why Bush is, given the evasions surrounding, oh, nearly everything he did up until the early 1990s. A.M. Homes, on the other hand, blows the interviewer off with a vote for "Richard Nixon, because I found him so fascinating the first time around I'd be curious to see what he could do from the beyond."

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