It’s time for midterms again, and while many important races and policy “referendums” play out during this time, there is also a sideshow element to it all. Take the case of GOP contender for Florida’s 3rd congressional district, Jacob Rush. He calls himself, according to a campaign ad, “a conservative straight-shooter.” On his campaign web site, he chides all of Congress saying they don’t take their duties “seriously” and that they allow “themselves and their embarrassing antics to become the story….”
It’s a statement that proves to be ironic, when considered with a story published by SaintPetersBlog.com about Rush’s double-life as a vampire. Along with being a former Alachua County Sherriff and attorney, Rush is a long-time member of the Mind’s Eye Society, a nationwide group of Live-Action Role Players who portray supernatural characters such as vampires or werewolves and act out (very adult) scenarios in-person and online.
Perhaps to a majority of Americans this is odd. Dressing up as characters and “playing pretend” will possibly strike voters, at best, as a lack of seriousness and, at worst, a hint towards a deeper sexual deviation problem with reality. In a statement to the Miami Herald, Rush chided his opponent (again missing the irony) for “game-playing” and by mischaracterizing his past, which he compares to theater. He says, “The very definition of acting is expressing ideas and thoughts that are not your own, just like I don’t believe I am MacBeth, which I have played, I am none of the characters.”
The majority of definitions for “acting” specify that taking direction is a key component of acting, which may be what he means. However, it seems that all of his characters, and their actions, were his own creation. They aren’t “him” exactly, but are his expressions, artistic or not. And this is where it might get politically troubling.
According to Mediaite, SaintPetersBlog.com “is run by a widely-known political consultant,” and “caught the stuff that Rush wasn’t able to scrub from the internet.” This implies that Rush is probably correct when he says this is an effort by the “career politicans” to have him laughed out of the race. Yet, there was a supposedly deleted photo of him from 2009, “titled ‘Put on my Rape Face.’” Rush is portraying one of his characters Chazz Darling. They also discovered a sexually explicit forum post, reprinted without context, also from the Darling character describing drug use and forcible sodomy. Given the already troubled perception the GOP has with women voters, this seems like the kind of thing that could doom a general election campaign in the fall.
Sure LARP-ing is a bit different, but Rush certainly has a point that it shares similarities with the arts. There is a debate to be had there, but the electoral stage is probably not the place for it. Florida’s primary election takes place on August 26.
Image credit: YouTube screen-grab.