Last year, a reporter asked me why I thought so many people were willing to donate time and money to what was obviously a joke initiative. I glibly replied that politics was boring, and that my “horse’s ass” initiative gave people the opportunity to get involved, while having a little fun at the same time.
Washington state politics is particularly boring — oh not just because it’s full of numbers and legalese and the usual wonkish stuff like that — but because we happen to be blessed with some of the most boring politicians in the nation. There’s a reason a lying, thieving, blowhard like Tim Eyman commands so much media attention: he’s an interesting lying, thieving, blowhard. Gary Locke, on the other hand, whatever you may think of his job performance, is, well… boring.
But I never knew how god-awful boring politics could be until I tried doing a little of it myself.
I’ve often been accused of taking a joke too far, and this joke took me back and forth to Olympia dozens of times over the past year. It took me deep into the intricacies of Washington’s incredibly complex (and astoundingly unfair) tax structure. And it took me face to face with the frustrating bureaucracy that is the WA State Legislature.
Looking back, I can’t tell you at what point I was transformed from a political prankster into an accidental activist, but I can tell you that in the process I became a bit more boring myself. I have always chafed at the tendency of some people to confuse “solemnity” with “seriousness,” and yet time and again I found myself sacrificing the satire and irreverence that launched me into the public debate, for the sake of maintaining the credibility I had so laboriously earned.
Well… no more.
I have serious political goals, and I intend to pursue them. I intend to help educate the public and the media about an astonishingly regressive tax system that gives billions of dollars of tax breaks to wealthy special interests while placing an almost unbearable burden on the backs of middle- and low-income families. I intend to work for real, progressive, tax reforms that provide meaningful relief to those who need it most, assure adequate funding for essential public services, and create the kind of positive, rational business environment that all citizens want. And I intend to continue my efforts to expose Tim Eyman as the lying, thieving, blowhard even many of his most ardent supporters admit he really is. (Did I mention Tim Eyman is a lying, thieving, blowhard?)
But I also intend to have a little fun.
Which brings me to the relaunch of HorsesAss.org.
I want to have fun with politics, yet I also want to get stuff done. I want to be sarcastic, satirical, irreverent — even silly — and yet I want to be taken seriously. I want to be edgy, out spoken, and occasionally foul mouthed, and yet I want to maintain my credibility with stuffy politicos and even stuffier editorial boards.
So I have to split myself in two.
HorsesAss.org will remain the playground of the fun half, while the more respectable half will set up office at the recently formed TaxSanity.org. Both halves will remain deadly serious… they’ll just speak with different voices.
So how do you know which half is speaking? They even have different names.
For most of my 41 years, friends and family have called me “Goldy,” and that is the name I sign to this HorsesAss.org blog. Anybody who knows Goldy well, will tell you he’s sarcastic, irreverent… even a little bit warped. (And obviously, secure enough in his own manhood to pass through adolescence with such an effeminate sounding nickname intact.)
But most people know me by my given name, “David,” a respectable Old Testament name, perfect for printing on business cards, and attaching to “serious” political efforts like TaxSanity.org.
So… HorsesAss.org has evolved into what it should have been from the start: a personal blog, a forum for shameless self-promotion, and a platform for the occasional, outrageous, political stunt. Sometimes wonkish, sometimes satirical — but always truthful — it is an opportunity to speak my mind while enjoying the delusion that others actually care what I have to say. It is pure, unadulterated me.
TaxSanity.org, on the other hand, is a real political .ORG, of which I am only a single member, and to which I have pledged my political energies. Over the next few months its web site will become the definitive resource for facts, statistics and policy discussions regarding Washington’s tax structure. And over the coming year we plan to organize into the largest grassroots organization in the state dedicated to promoting progressive tax reform, and opposing the irresponsible efforts of Tim Eyman and his fellow libertarians to de-fund state and local government. Oh, we’ll certainly try to make TaxSanity.org more fun than your typical political organization… it just can’t possibly be as much fun as a running a website that got it’s start calling Tim Eyman names. (Did I mention Tim Eyman is a lying, thieving, blowhard?)
Now I know some might find this split between the politically prankish Goldy and the politically earnest David a little arbitrary… or even weird. So to those upstanding members of the political and media establishment who insist I cannot possibly expect to maintain my credibility as an activist while producing an irreverent and outrageous blog, the Goldy half of me respectfully says: “fuck you.”
Of course, the David half of me effusively apologizes for what the Goldy half just said. There’s absolutely no excuse for that kind of language, and given the opportunity David might attempt to explain to this “haughty, humorless prick” (my words, not his) that he should excuse Goldy as a sort of stage persona, somewhat like Tim Eyman, who publicly portrays himself as a lying, thieving, blowhard, but who in the comfort of his own home, rarely steals anything. David might also privately intimate that Goldy has the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old, and amuses nobody but himself. Or perhaps that he’s insane.
David can apologize all he wants, but Goldy has no regrets. Yes, I am writing this blog to amuse myself; if I entertain, educate or motivate others… great! But if some people occasionally find me rude or offensive, well… that’s okay too. In the unlikely event I ever run for office, I’m sure this blog will bite me in the ass. But then, wouldn’t voters prefer to elect somebody boorish for a change, instead of somebody who’s simply boring?