A tyrant you can trust

Vermin Supreme deserves appreciation



Presidential candidate Vermin Love Supreme, a performance artist, anarchist and activist, marched during a protest march on Sunday, September 2, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to run from September 4th-6th. (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

Story by Grey Johnson, staff writer

We hear speeches from famous figures, read books about important subjects and watch the news for life-changing events. There are many ways in which an idea can be delivered to the public. However, it seems that our creativity is lacking in the manner in which we deliver such ideas. Most will stick to seriousness as the way to go, but I argue that satire is an equally effective method for spreading truth. Presidential candidate Vermin Supreme embodies this idea.

Vermin Supreme is currently running under the Libertarian Party, but he has also run as a Democrat and as a Republican in previous elections. His policy centers around many absurd ideas, like giving free ponies to every American as a form of identification and putting zombies on treadmills as a way to provide clean energy. 

But, what’s special about a candidate with impractical ideas? On the surface, Vermin Supreme seems like anything but your typical candidate. However, underneath his shining teeth and wild eyes lies a candidate who is eerily familiar to the average person.

Appeals to morality are common amongst many people; it isn’t abnormal to hear a person using morals to oppose abortion, war or other policies. Supreme has his own moral legislation. In his set of plans is a mandatory toothbrushing law. The law is aimed at eliminating the “great moral and oral decay” of America. It seems ridiculous, but it’s not too far fetched from our appeals of enforcing our personal morals onto other people.

The environment is certainly a big topic of debate in today’s world. It seems like every other day our date of demise moves up if we don’t do something about it. Supreme plans to solve the problem by switching America to clean energy, but instead of utilizing windmills or the sun; it will use zombies. Theoretically, it would work if zombies existed, but that’s the commonality with all miracle environmental solutions. Everything would work perfectly if we lived in a perfect world, but we don’t. 

One of the largest concerns of a president is how they will affect the economy when they are elected. There’s talk of all sorts of methods, but none include animals. Supreme’s vision is of “ponynomics,” a system that uses very small ponies as both identification and to establish credit and debt. The fact that his plan includes ponies allows us to step back and acknowledge its ridiculous nature. But, other candidates will feed us their magic solutions to the economy that are harder to recognize as ridiculous.

There are a lot of suggestions from candidates on how things should run. When we elect candidates, we have an expectation that they have some new plan that will work better than the last one or at least better than the opposition. For every category of plan there is, moral, environmental or economic, Vermin Supreme has his own outlandish idea. 

It’s obvious that he never intended on winning anything in his previous presidential campaigns. In an interview, Supreme described “the other [campaigns] up to this point [as] pretty much a goof, a straight up critique of the system using satirical means.” So, what’s the point of his satire? 

As with any satire, he uses humor to provoke deeper thoughts about a subject: in his case, politics. Supreme satirizes how political figures use appeals to convince the public to go along with crazy things. He also uses his ridiculous nature to bring more people into the Libertarian Party, specifically the younger generation. 

However, this year is different. He feels he now has a decent chance of getting some support due to the notoriety gained in his previous campaigns. So, Vermin Supreme has decided to run for the presidency in 2020 with legitimate goals. He hopes to bring more people into the party and win 5% of the general election. 

It’s fun to look at Supreme on the surface level and have a good laugh. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is serious benefit to be had if we look deeper at what he’s doing and why. Why does it matter that he is a living satire? What do we learn? 

The most important lesson that we see in Vermin Supreme is that having fun and laughing at absurdities isn’t a harmful thing. If anything, it’s beneficial to be able to step back and laugh. It opens our minds to different possibilities, whether that’s accepting the absurd or recognizing the mundane as absurd. 

Supreme thinks a joke candidate is a net plus if the party owns the joke. “Political campaigns have become a joke, and now here’s Vermin Supreme. We’re in on the joke,” Supreme said in an interview

The political atmosphere of today is tense. Every candidate seems like they are a bad backstory away from becoming an evil James Bond villain. Along with that, hate is in the streets, the workplace and the classrooms; talking openly about your beliefs seems to only paint a target on your back.

We should take advice from Vermin Supreme’s playbook: don’t take yourself too seriously, but try to make a difference. If people can learn this, they will become a happier, more understanding species and have some good laughs in the process.