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Politically Green? Off the Island With You!

This landscape, bought and paid for by George and Al, has no room for Ralph. And look below for the subliminal message.

October 22, 2000|ANDREW TONKOVICH | Andrew Tonkovich teaches at UC Irvine and Irvine Valley College

"You're not voting George W., are you?" asks my neighbor.

"I'd rather eat rats," I say. "Like on 'Survivor.' "

"Democrat, huh?" He looks me over for the Mark of the Beast.

"No," I say. "Green. Voting Nader."

"Can you do that here?" he asks.

Being Green in Orange County means being voted off the island by the Democrats and the Republican rats together and, unwilling to play "Who Wants to Be a Social Darwinist?" on their "Gilligan's Island," embracing the protest vote.

Protest. It's part of our GOP-style Green subliminal message campaign. You saw the famous "rats" in "bureaucrats." Now notice the "pro" in protest. As in progressive. Pro-democracy. Pro. For. In favor of.

Orange County Greens dwell on a tiny island in a famously conservative gulag voterpelago. But wait, the volunteer at the polling place has heard of Greens. "Aren't you the folks who save the whales?" she asks.

Sublimate or subliminal? Easy to confuse basic psych terms.

Sublimate: to modify natural expression in a socially acceptable manner. Me, for example, politely explaining that Greenpeace isn't a political party.

Subliminal: a message comprehended below the threshold of conscious perception. Ralph Nader's campaign. You'd hear more about it stranded with the Skipper and Mary Anne and "Survivor" Rich than in newspapers or on commercial radio or TV.

And, no, you don't see our candidate on the debates. George W. didn't even want to debate. Coincidentally, nobody wanted to hear him. Gore wanted to--dittos there.

Nader is our nation's most skilled debater, so, "Survivor"-style, he's voted off the mainstream media island by two guys who might as well be named Rich.

Greens feel alienated. Angry. Confused. Why should we sublimate? We read the facts on the rigged Commission on Presidential Debates, documented by media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: CPD stole the debates from the League of Women Voters. CPD bagged $500,000 from sole sponsor Anheuser-Busch. CPD is "a two-party cartel."

Psychologically speaking, I suspect we've found somebody's erroneous zone. And since Greens endorse both mental and political health, we close our eyes and refuse to sublimate. During ovations for the two official candidates, we flashed an unlikely subliminal message onto the wide screen of our minds: "RALPH."

When the Commission on Presidential Debates logo arrived, we zoomed in carefully on the subliminal message hidden in its moniker: the conspicuous word "omission."

Finally, campaign media are like that Republican Ideas Political Committee ad in which an upset homemaker from Central Casting complains that her kid's public school had "a bit more diversity than he could handle," as the camera pans a crowd (read: gang) of multiracial teens.

If I had millions to spend on Green commercials, I wouldn't. But if I did, I might pose that same housewife in front of the CPD, Democrats and GOP. "Nader," she'd say. "A bit more than they could handle."

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