Awakening the political senses |

Awakening the political senses

Alison Berkley

I really could care less about politics.I did not move to Aspen so I could be in the middle of what’s going on in the world. If I wanted that, I would have moved to one of those city-type places where people sit around in cafes and enjoy a side of political discourse over their wild mixed greens and half-caf-decaf cappuccinos.I had enough of that growing up with a bunch of New York Jewish intellectuals whose idea of a good time was to sit around and eat a big meal and argue over everything and anything that came to pass. Woody Allen would have loved us – he could have set up a camera in my cousin Rodger’s living room, rolled for two hours and won an Academy Award.I figure my dad doesn’t own an oil company, so it’s not like I have any control over what’s going on in Washington. Just lock me in the bubble and throw away the key. Whatever happens, happens. Ignorance is bliss. Keep me out of it. I’ve got Sheriff Braudis protecting my royal ass – anyone who tries to mess with Aspen won’t make it past the S-curves.Plus, with Bandar in our midst, you know this place is sealed tight as a Tupperware container. So order me another beer and change the channel back to HBO. What I don’t know won’t hurt me.Democracy-shemocracy. The bottom line is we live in a corporate economy. Money talks. I don’t care who you vote for, the only guy whose got any pull is the dead guy whose face is on all those $100 bills – the same ones being thrown around by folks in the oil biz. I wish I was a do-gooder. I wish I believed that if I didn’t eat meat, it would somehow effect the happiness of little chickens, but they’re already dead and skinned and low in fat and high in protein and on the shelves at my local supermarket, so I might as well eat it.I wish I believed that if I didn’t buy that Andrew Marc rabbit-fur coat at Boogie’s for 50 percent off that all those little bunnies would have been spared and happily bouncing through some forest. But the jacket’s on the hangar and someone’s going to buy it, so it might as well be me. I wish I believed that if I put a bumper sticker on my car or signed some petition or bothered to read all those e-mails from that I could actually make a difference. My apathy has nothing to do with my beliefs, which, despite my being as shallow as the kiddie pool, do exist. I mean, I absolutely loved Slick Willy and that butter-melting Southern drawl and raspy voice. If he’s a Democrat, sign me up – I want to go to the same parties as him. Plus, I am a woman and so I do have my “issues” that I’m concerned about, like, hello, my right to have an abortion in case I do get pregnant with someone my daddy doesn’t approve of (Oh, relax. I’m just kidding. At this stage of the game, I should be so lucky). I’m not very happy about Dubya having control over what goes on in my bush, but what am I going to do about it?Well, guess what. I changed my mind.I saw “Fahrenheit 9/11” at the Isis a few weeks ago, and my Democratic eyes have been opened (and this time it had nothing to do with Bill’s sexy good looks). And I’m not the only one. The theater was packed to the brim, and at the end of the movie, the most amazing thing happened.Everyone applauded.I don’t think I’ve ever been in a movie that received a standing ovation in my life. It sent chills up my spine and brought tears to my eyes (I’ll cry during a McDonald’s commercial if it’s a good one, but still). Oh, please. I’m not that stupid. I have a mind of my own and it’s not like I’m just going to let him spoon-feed me the only political opinion I’ve ever had, but Mr. Moore did make me realize one thing. One itsy-bitsy detail that me, of all people, should not have overlooked.The power of the media.Better yet, the power of the independent media. I mean, we all know a little too well what happens when news organizations go corporate – just ask Mike Hagan. We might as well be back in the old USSR – censorship up the wazoo.Thank god someone finally had the wherewithal to ask a few obvious questions, collect some easy-to-get footage, and put it all into a context that everyone – even an apathetic princess like me – can understand and relate to. I loved the pop-culture context: the humor, the music and the inherent sarcasm. As Entertainment Weekly magazine pointed out in a recent issue, it was the cheapest starring role in the history of Hollywood (I think the quote read something like, “Why pay an A-lister millions when you can get Dubya for free?”). Suddenly my friends and family are all talking about politics for the first time since Arnold got elected as governator for the state of Caleee-for-neea and good ol’ Ronnie kicked the bucket. We’re talking real issues. We’re talking elections. We’re sitting around at the Fourth of July parade watching Tony Hershey hand out Bush/Cheney stickers and realizing that just maybe the threat to our freedom and livelihood is closer to home than we originally thought.I guess it’s finally time to get off my royal ass and do something, like vote for a change. The Princess hopes that Aspen is as liberal as she thinks it is and no one is planning to kill her with a car bomb. E-mail her at

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