Winner of ‘To Be Elected’ announced; Alison Ireland elects a few choice passages from last week’s entries
20th April 2015
With elections and big choice scenarios raging all over the world, and so little known as to what will ensue even in traditionalist countries such as the UK, I felt that ‘To Be Elected’ as a title would inspire explorations of what it means to be chosen by others to take on a role of responsibility, whether this be over people and their communal decisions, in love, or as a theoretical concept.
There were fewer entries than usual. I don’t know if this reflected a perception of limited interpretations of the title, or was part of the general downward trend of political engagement. However, the entries which were received were an interesting bunch and covered the title’s spectrum of potential well. Most tended towards the cynical. We saw a class president election between the popular boy and the ‘retard’, which could be taken as a microcosmic parallel to the real world:
‘He did not understand he won, did not understand what it meant to be the Class President, and as everyone knows, the Class President really does not do anything in high school anyway.’
A sonnet paralleled the idea of being chosen by a lover with the political interpretation of being elected, and another poem showing the standard view of the politician in all his glory:
be elected is my goal;
To be a leader in your eyes,
To fight the battles of the free,
And to resist all compromise
Of my core values’
politician achieved his aims
His wealth was vast as was his fame.
A bitter man without contrition -
Yet conscience plagued him with premonitions.’
The winner used turtles and their shells as a strong image to facilitate a dialogue which perfectly engenders the bitterness, judgementalism and compromise which can contribute to a political attitude:
believe I’m a hypocrite,
lofty principles balanced on
the right way up ease
my inherited shell affords me,
but you bite your lip, stretch to a smile
in your hunger to be elected.’
It’s a powerful poem containing a lot of truth if not a lot of hope.
The two featured entries were both very different. One took the concept of ‘to be elected’ down to bare essentials, as a piece of dialogue in which two voices worked to coerce one of them into being the nominated one. It’s a sparse exercise in human persuasion and works well:
I elect you to be in charge of the whole operation.” Scrabbling for purchase
and a way out of the situation.
“This isn’t about me.” Tone suggests otherwise.’
The other featured entry I enjoyed immensely. It’s a story of god and the archangels and an election held up in heaven on a weekly basis. It explains why the world is how it is now in a way which is simultaneously light and serious – for who could now fill the role which is hoping to be elected, and is that almost where we are as a species? And it’s entertaining:-
‘Michael stood up, glowering. “I was not expecting a member of the heavenly host to be late to such an important vote. We are Archangels, we must set an example.”’
I wonder if we did indeed exile the only candidate who considered themselves worthy, as the author suggests at the finale?
Shorter editorial than usual this week as we have to catch up with the backlog of winners. Thanks for your entries.
AI 20th April 2015