Jonathan "The Impaler" Sharkey says that he is a vampire.
He claims to drink the blood of his victims.
He's a satanic priest.
And, because he paid three hundred dollars, he's on the ballot to run for governor in Minnesota.
I should probably be outraged by this, but instead it just gives me kind of a warm glow (followed by a vague sense of queasiness). This is a beautiful example of democracy at work. At least he's identified himself as a crackpot early on. Most of the time you have to wait until someone's in office before you discover what an idiot they are. And, as all the pundits have been quipping, everyone knows politicians are a bunch of blood suckers anyway.
Think about it. The people of Minnesota wouldn't have to guess whether or not Sharkey is amoral like so many politicians. And he's a satanic priest - when it comes to politics, that's not evil or counter cultural, it might as well be a business credential. ("I'm not just a self-serving creep, ma'am, I'm a highly trained self-serving creep. You don't get skewed ethics like these just sitting around playing video games! Well, actually, depending on the games you play, that actually kind of helps... I can provide Doom 3 and Grand Theft Auto high scores on request, if you like.")
"I sink my fangs into the neck of my donor ... and drink their blood" Reuters quotes Starkey saying, adding that Starkey specified his wife, Julie, as his donor.
Every husband has his little quirks. Some leave their underwear on the floor. Some leave the toilet seat up. But Julie Starkey must be a woman of above-average patience. Mornings around their house must be like a scene straight out of some LSD-induced version of the Osbournes. Julie comes staggering blearily down the stairs in a bathrobe and curlers. Jonathan is sitting at the table in a tuxedo and red satin lined cape, wearing those plastic vampire fangs you get from Cracker Jack boxes. "Blah! Is breakfast ready?" I picture him asking brightly. She sighs and says, "Yeah, just let me have a cup of coffee and wake up a little first," but inwardly she's thinking, "Men are all mentally about four years old."
For all that doesn't bother me (and should), there are two things about the Starkey appearing on the ballot that do trouble me.
One is that he's not running as a Democrat or Republican - he's running for the Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party. That's not a political party, that's a Halloween party. I guess Mummies, Zombies and kids in Power Rangers outfits are on their own, politically speaking. "Vampyres, Witches and Pagans" aren't even political groups, they're a religion, a job title and a fictional blood disorder. It's like saying the Hemophiliacs, Preachers and Scientologists Party. (Hm. I should probably check -- we might have one of those in California.)
But that only bothers me a little bit. The second thing, the one that really bugs me, is that Starkey "the Impaler's" main campaign promise is "to execute convicted murders and child molesters personally by impaling them on a wooden pole outside the state capitol." Not that he'd suggest it, but that I found myself sipping my coffee thoughtfully this morning and saying to myself, "You know, that's not a bad idea. Wonder if we could work frivolous lawsuits in there somehow..."
As a crowning blow, the article reads: "'I'm a Satanist who doesn't hate Jesus," Sharkey told Reuters. 'I just hate God the Father.' However, he claims to respect all religions and if elected, will post 'everything from the Ten Commandments to the Wicca Reed' in government buildings."
There's so much wrong there that it makes you go half cross-eyed, but the wrongest thing about it is that a Satanist actually has a better grasp of respect and tolerance for all religions and cultures than our mainstream courts, politicians, and the literati of our higher education system.
When all is said and done, I'm pleased to see Democracy in action, granting a voice to even those with whom we disagree. I'm pleased that I don't live in Minnesota and don't actually have to deal with this whole thing for real. And I'm a little disturbed by how little disturbed I am by the guy.
I wonder if he'll run for Senate. I'd watch C-SPAN with my husband more often if he did.
Comments and strings of garlic to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.
This article first appeared in a Jan 2006 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.