With Democrats and Republicans looking a lot alike nowadays, there has been a growing push to look into alternative options for political parties to support with our donations, time and effort canvassing neighborhoods.
At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in upstate New York, the students have already been rallying behind a third-party, and they are bound and determined to get an inflatable whale into office.
Fill in your favorite politician joke here.
In one of the great running parodies in politics, RPI has embraced its own third-party for going on 20 years, with the goals of electing either a seven-foot-long inflatable whale named Arthur Galpin or Alby the Albino Squirrel – a real squirrel.
Welcome to the Inanimate Objects Party, a satirical “political” group that has been in existence on campus, run by students, since 1997. It started as a protest over a college-wide rule that required all students and classrooms to use Microsoft Windows-powered computers. The IOP proceeded to put out various posters and fliers that poked fun at the mandate.
Eventually, as campus elections were held, Arthur Galpin, the inflatable whale, was introduced as the IOP candidate, and reportedly he (and his furry friend Alby) received nearly 7 percent of the vote in 2006 in the race for President of the Union (the student body). Legend has it, however, that Arthur had done much better than that in the past, but the campus rules committee never considered votes for Arthur to be valid (something about him being an inflatable whale and not an officially registered student, or something).
Arthur’s buddy, Alby the albino squirrel, really did exist as an animate object, first reportedly sighted on campus in 2001. As squirrels do not live more than a few years, it was believed that Alby became an official member of the inanimate world just after his last sighting in 2005. Now inanimate, Alby is entered into several elections along with Arthur, which can often mean splitting the votes and risking certain defeat for both of them.
As long as there is air in Arthur and as long as the squirrel remains furry, chances are good that the IOP will continue to run, collect donations and run two quality “change” candidates in the hopes of transforming their community and eventually the country. In the Era of Trump, after the Era of Bush’s Don’t Mess With Texas, don’t underestimate the power of disrupting the status quo.
And what could be more anti-status quo than two objects that aren’t breathing?
Again, enter your favorite political joke here.