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Sparrow’s presidential history

August 20, 2020

In every presidential election since 1992, the poet and literary troublemaker Sparrow has mounted a quixotic campaign for president. A frequent Sun contributor, he often sends us an account of his election-year triumphs and follies. The seven such “campaign diaries” we have printed are presented below.

My Campaign Diary
September 1992

Every few weeks, I go to St. Mark’s Church (a half block from my house), mimeograph leaflets, and stick some in my attache case. Whenever it comes up in a conversation that I’m running for president, I take one out.

Why Didn’t You Vote For Me? A Diary Of My Presidential Campaign
May 1997

I wasn’t going to run in 1996, until Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire Republican primary. For ten days, the leftist agony came over me — the certainty that Bakunin was right: the ruling class does wish to extinguish us! I saw vividly a white-supremacist army occupying the White House, closing our borders, and setting up Christian reeducation camps. I knew I had to act swiftly. So, on March 4, I declared my candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Why I Am Not President
January 2006

On January 19, 2004, the day of the Iowa caucus, I decided to run for president. Perhaps, in my tiny way, I reasoned, I can prevent America from becoming a Jesus-flavored neofascist empire. So I announced to the world (or, at least, to the portion of it that is on my e-mail address list) my candidacy for the Republican nomination. My campaign had begun.

Buy One, Get One Free: A Journal Of My Presidential Campaign
December 2008

I am the first pro-Sudoku candidate for president in American history. Sudoku, as you may know, is a Japanese number puzzle found in most newspapers (except the New York Times). It consists of a square of eighty-one boxes in which the player must inscribe numbers so that each row contains 1 through 9.

Please Don’t Vote For Me
November 2012

The Right claims that Occupy Wall Street is secretly dominated by anarchists, but the real inner cabal is composed of smart academics. This movement has learned from all the failed activism of the last forty years. In the 1960s young hippies attempted to overthrow the established order, but their values were completely opposed to those of the working class. Now the young hippies have signs that say, We Are the 99%. (Besides, the working class is no longer scared of long hair.) The Occupiers also refuse to be pushed to the left. They don’t attack capitalism or even the war in Afghanistan. They just say over and over, “Why did they bail out the banks but not us?”

Embarrassed To Be An American: A Diary Of My Presidential Campaign
October 2016

I’m not sure I want to be President. Perhaps I have grown disillusioned. In fact, roughly sixteen times in my life I have been disillusioned. But each time, almost immediately, I have swiftly become re-illusioned.

Future Generations Will Thank Me: My Campaign (Sort Of) For President
August 2020

Did Trump learn from my failed Presidential campaigns? It seems unlikely, but his air of jaunty confidence, combined with erratic bursts of self-contradictory rhetoric, mirrors my technique.

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