Democrat or Republican

A Passage from Luminous Airplanes, or Things As They Were: A Hyperromance

My friend Lucas points out that Democrat and Republican are hardly the only affiliations you, the reader, might have. (In fact, Lucas, like many people on the extreme left, believes the Democrats and Republicans are just two finger puppets worn by the same nefarious hand.) You may be one of those independent voters we hear about in this election year, or you may be a member of the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, or one of the country’s many smaller parties:


the America First Party,
the American Party,
the American Patriot Party,
the American Populist Party,
the American Third Position Party,
America’s Party,
the Christian Liberty Party,
the Citizens Party of the United States,
the Committee for a Workers’ International,
the Communist Party of the United States of America,
the Fourth International,
the Freedom Socialist Party,
the Independence Party of America,
the Independent American Party,
the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties,
the Jefferson Republican Party,
the Justice Party,
the Labor Party,
the Modern Whig Party,
the National Socialist Movement,
the Objectivist Party,
the Party for Socialism and Liberation,
the Peace and Freedom Party,
the Prohibition Party,
the Raza Unida Party,
the Reform Party of the United States of America,
Socialist Action,
Socialist Alternative,
the Socialist Equality Party,
the Socialist Party USA,
the Socialist Workers Party,
the United States Marijuana Party,
the United States Pacifist Party,
the United States Pirate Party,
the Unity Party of America,
or the Workers World Party.

“Or the reader might be Canadian!” Lucas said. “Are you prepared to alienate the Bloc Québécois? And what about the UK? You’ve got the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, Sinn Féin…”

“Lucas,” I said, “you spend too much time on Wikipedia.”

“You’re the one who wanted to be inclusive,” Lucas said.

“Fine,” I said, irritated. I wanted to include everything in Luminous Airplanes, but tacitly I understood everything to mean everything I already knew. The kind of inclusion Lucas was talking about would be a lot of work. And anyway, that kind of everything already existed on the Internet: Wikipedia, for example. “I’ll put the whole list in a comment.”

“You should also say something about the people who don’t believe in party politics,” Lucas said. “I myself believe we’d be better off without any kind of government. We’d form small autonomous mutual aid societies…”

“OK, Lucas. I get it.”

“I’m not making a point about your list any more. I’m talking about the world.”


“I don’t understand how you can spend so much time on the computer and not think about politics. What are you doing? Looking at porn?”

“No,” I lied.

“I’ll send you some links,” Lucas said.

“Not now,” I said. “I’m trying to concentrate on this thing.”

He sent me the links anyway. I haven’t looked at them. When I’m finished, maybe. I’m aware of the irony: here I am making a world, a kind of world, and meanwhile the so-called real world is going on without me. But what can I do? I have to focus. Distraction is a problem. If I spent as much time as Lucas does learning things, when would I write anything down? So I am giving Lucas (and the other Lucases of the world) fair warning: whatever scope Luminous Airplanes has is a kind of interior scope. Its tangles aren’t the tangles of the Internet; they are the tangles of my own memory.

© 2008-2023 Paul La Farge. All rights reserved.