Monday, December 29, 2008

“Death and Suffrage” by Dale Bailey

Author: Dale Bailey
Title: “Death and Suffrage”
Anthology: "The Living Dead" [Title Post]
Position: 3
Length: 30 pages

Third in the anthology “The Living Dead”, “Death and Suffrage” has an unlikely title for a zombie story and takes an unlikely angle to zombies. Dale Bailey says it himself in his bio that he likes to write weird stories and “Death and Suffrage” fits the category perfectly.

The undead have risen. Scary, silent and blank and they don’t eat people. They don’t cause mayhem in the apocalyptic sense, nor have they any intention to. The puzzling thing is that all they want to do is vote Grant Burton for president. The presidential election is a field day for the American politicians and as each four year mandate comes to an end, campaigns rise as bulky giants to cast their shadows across the nation in order to win over more votes. Robert has fully emerged in the neck-to-neck race to support Burton until a talk show fiasco triggers a Romero effect. In this new situation the people in politics have to reevaluate the rules, the system and values such as justice and the morality of society. At least this is how I perceive the thought-provoking usage of the undead.

Politics originally served the purpose to govern over a nation, constructing a firm frame for society to prosper. Ideals such as conscience, responsibility and civil duty towards the people were the gravitational center of how the system operated. Needless to say from the drawing board to modern reality politics aren’t highly viewed upon. I don’t understand anything as far as the actual mechanisms behind politics go, but share a fairly negative opinion. To be in position as a politician to acquire power is to find the second best use of system: making money. Election Day in any country is like Halloween for politicians and they spend a great amount on pretty costumes and then get all the goodies for artistry.

“Death and Suffrage”, to get back to the point, portrays a torn up shaded in grey picture of the politics. One way we have the grotesque need to lead at all costs in all states. The whole run seems like a great business negotiation and dirty fighting is allowed. As the story progresses the protagonist Robert films a TV add with footage of Dana Maguire, a girl, who has been killed by a fellow in kindergarten with a pistol the child has found at home. The length of which the campaign goes to cut the competition is somewhat gruesome, but here comes the controversial.

As voiced in the story, the add is sickening and feels like violating the dead, using this death as an advantage. But the fact remains the same. Dana is a victim of the government’s irresponsible attitude towards firearms. Whatever the people want is the motto politicians use to achieve high placed positions and people like their guns. “If there’s any justice in the universe, Dana Maguire will rise up from her grave to haunt you,” is essentially what Robert said about justice and the promise to melt every gun in the country. As shown politics have the power to undo injustice, change the path of a whole and achieve its original potential. The power to affect people on a national scale is strengthened by the undead, which have come to haunt and as mentioned act as society’s conscience. This is why the story is so grey. If you win, you don’t make things better, if you try to, you lose. But this is life and nothing is simple. Everything is a complicated maze with conscience and guilt as the restraints to your actions.

There is also the matter of how personal guilt builds shared conscience, but that is reaching past the point and an experience, which is left for the reader to live through and interpret. The point in this horror tale is that zombies have one other purpose than to freak you out in your own grave. They can make you reflect on your past, the choice made in life and reevaluate the moral state of yourself and the world around you.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails