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Ballot Access, Women Candidates and True Fiction

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As a way of introduction to this article, let me be clear, this is a work of fiction based on a number of real-life characters whose situations have been combined in order to tell an allegorical tale for our times. All readers please remember that this is a work of fiction, meaning this is not true in the literal sense only in the metaphorical sense.


Once upon a time, no woman would dare poke her head out and say what she really felt about politics. Well, not “No Woman” but not the “nicer kind of woman.” Those who grew up to be mainly wives and mothers disdained talk of politics and would not even let their families discuss it at the dinner table because it would make for fights and indigestion.


In more recent times, these things have changed radically and when one day, taking it upon herself to get up and launch a campaign to run for the Halls of Congress, our woman of the hour, whose name is Legion, no, she is not an insane person or a brazen hussy or even a lesbian, god forbid that, that is grist for another legend, anyway, our hero(ine) Legion has taken it upon herself to make a very important statement about the world and the way it is run but most importantly, she is making a statement about the man who is running the world—Kingly—and why he needs to be held up on charges that are in the interests of the common good.


We must all remember that woman has a long history of providing good care and comfort to the ills of the family. In her new role, our Legion has decided to make it very clear and to brazenly call attention to the fact that this man, Kingly, who all seem to want to protect from her radical call, has no clothes on. Not only does Kingly have no clothes on, he brazenly refuses to wear any clothes. He struts around the world parading his bare bod as if he were entitled to do so. As if in this state, the world should truly know him and his power.


However, Legion, in her call to challenge that power and not to cover up the outrageousness of it but to get him to acknowledge what a stupid fool he has been in all the ways he has used that power, has tried to get on the ballot in many places across the globe he controls and have her say.


Legion is a diligent worker. Many follow her as she speaks and are emboldened to say, “The Kingly has no clothes on and he should be told so.” It takes getting onto this special thing called a ballot to do that. One must go through many difficult and purposely arcane trials and jousts and rapid-fire questioning in order to place one’s name on the thing called a ballot. If one is not on this ballot, then no one can help Legion rise to the Halls of Congress where she can help to pass laws limiting the Kinglys to come from parading around without any clothes. As she travels and speaks to what are called voters, the people who get to decide only after Legion can get her name placed on the ballot, they shout her name, and promise to vote for her once that privilege is granted.


“Who gives this privilege,” Legion asks?


“It depends,” reply the Powerful Friends of Kingly, a loosely organized group of people who like seeing Kingly naked.


“It depends on what?” asks Legion. “Don’t the people I talk to and who want to see me on the ballot, don’t they get to decide?”


“Oh how naïve,” the Powerful Friends say. And within their own circle they smile and laugh at the ways they have devised to keep such Legions off the ballots in as many states as you can imagine. They have found all these ways to do it because they have made it possible for all those who are true Friends of Kingly to share in the power of Kingly. They have granted special dispensations and lucrative deals and even gone so far as to promise these followers that when Kingly decides to leave his throne that one of them will be chosen to take off his clothes (it will always be a He in the world of Kingly) and preside over the world.


“But, but . . .,” sputters Legion, “That is not the way the rule book says it is supposed to be.”


No, that is not the way the rule book says it is supposed to be. The Powerful Friends of Kingly all nod in agreement with that statement. In public they always nod in agreement with the rule books and allow them their due. They place them in large edifices where they are treated as if handed down by the divine and yet, in their hearts, these Powerful Friends of Kingly, do not care what it says in the rule books. Had they followed those rules, they know in their heart of hearts, they would not be where they are today. Kingly would not have wanted them as a friend let alone as a powerful one.


“What will it take to be on the ballot?” Legion asks.


A long silence follows the question she raises. There are many in the land of the Hall of Congress who have differing views about what this will entail. They are called pundits because they like to make words mean one thing and at the same time really mean something else. They adhere to this behavior because they are in line for the vaunted position of Scribe to Kingly. In that position, they will be able to inscribe themselves into the book of history and live forever in those pages right next to Kingly and along with all he has done.


They present a variety of options for Legion. She can gather up lots and lots of signatures from people who could vote for her and give them to some clerk in each town and ask that this clerk do the job of verifying that the signatures she has handed in are truly those of the people who can vote in that town. Imagine that, Legion thinks to herself. I am speaking to these people all the time anyway and now I just need to get them to sign a petition and give it to the clerks all over my state.


There are other ways a Legion can get her name known well enough to be voted on once she is on the ballot and that is to get the pundits to pay attention to her. However, if she is going around saying things like, “Kingly has no clothes on and we need to make sure this never happens again,” the pundits won’t like her.

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Deborah Emin is the founder of the publishing company, Sullivan Street Press ( She is also the impressario of the Itinerant Book Show as well as the program director of the REZ Reading Series in Kew Gardens, NY. Her (more...)
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