Americans who thought Nancy Reagan went overboard on the designer frocks ain't seen nothin' yet! Latest entry in the US presidential race is Chicago drag queen Joan Jett Blakk, official candidate of the newly-formed Queer Nation Party.
Announcing her candidacy on 17 January, the night she reached the required minimum age of thirty-five, Blakk marked her entry into history with the words "We're putting the camp into campaign!" Should she win, the nation's highest office will become "more fabulous, more fruitful, and much, much more glamorous".
Born Terence Smith in the industrial heartland of Detroit. Blakk bases her electoral platform on a no-nonsense blend of compassion and sound common sense. Along with free universal health care, she promises a simple but effective solution to the problems of unemployment and homelessness. "We'll get all the people with no jobs to build homes for the people who don't have houses." Her no-frills philosophy would put an end to expensive luxuries like George Bush's 'War on Drugs'. Blakk's policy? "Legalise everything, tax the fuck out of it, and erase the national debt."
"We're putting the camp into campaign!"
The Blakk administration will show a healthy disregard for the (hither-to) sacred cows of US political life. The FBI will be renamed the Fashion Bureau of Investigation ("Crime will be a thing of the past if we arrest the poorly dressed before they do any wrong"). Similarly, the CIA will become the Centre for Intelligent Accessories. The armed forces will be replaced by the much tougher lesbian security patrol Dykes on Bikes. And the White House will itself be re-christened the Lavender House. As for the rank and file of government bureaucrats, Blakk takes a more pragmatic line: "Every single soul that a president can fire, I'm gonna fire!"
Blakk stands firm against charges that her campaign is somehow demeaning to the office of the presidency. Her riposte is simple but forceful. "I keep hearing this joke. It starts out Ronald Reagan. Then it goes on George Bush. And the punch-line is Dan Quayle! Now I ask you, how can I hurt the presidency any more than that?" At the very least, says Blakk, her campaign will speak for "those large sections. of the electorate who no longer bother to vote for the white-bread, carbon-copy candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties". It will promote the political visibility of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and other minorities - sexual and otherwise - who are seen as automatic vote-losers by mainstream politicians. And after all, Blakk insists, "if a bad actor can be president, why not a good drag queen?" Why not, indeed?