I think it's cute when people make a special move to inform themselves about politics. When being informed about the state of the country and the world requires an investment of their time.
Here’s a Starbucks moment: (Me, sipping on my latte) "What's up with this Edward Snowden thing, huh?" (Friend, sipping on tea) "Oh, I know it's bad but I haven't followed politics in a while. I've got so much going on, you know? Like last week, Sydney wakes up whining at 2am... And, well, have you ever dealt with projectile vomit? The shit travels!"
And we're off.
Now you don't need a reminder, do you, conscientious Barrelhouse reader, that people in other parts of the globe cannot tune out politics so easily? That politics and political fallouts dictate whether or not there will be bread at the store that day, or meat at the butcher's, or a home still standing? Or that it’s worth it to stand in line for hours, even a day or so, in order to vote? But look around you, and see who’s watching the game instead of the news, and who’s reading Fifty Shades of Grey instead of The New York Times, and you’ll see you’re in the minority.
Maybe people just don't realize that politics surrounds us too?
I’m aware of it everyday, as an Arab American (especially when I go to the airport). Edward Said was once famously told that his native language, Arabic, was too political. Ask people about affirmative action. Trayvon Martin. Why stores are open on Thanksgiving. The Core Curriculum. The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013. Having to press 2 for Spanish. Chirlane McCray. How the house across the street from you is now zoned as a nail salon. Why you can’t repay your student loans. Even why Starbucks can get away with charging $5 for a latte. Oh, and why anyone is still talking about/to Sarah Palin.
The women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s championed the phrase, “The personal is political.” This issue of Barrelhouse online is brought to you in the same spirit, to remind us that almost every aspect of our lives is defined and cemented by politics.
We announced that a special prize would go to any writer whose work we published mentioned Mitt Romney, and that prize -- a Powell's Books Gift Card -- goes to Steven Rugel, for his poem, "haiku republicans." Congrats, Steven!