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Grassroots : Politics . . . But Not as Usual
This offbeat true story is a comedy and a tragedy about politics, from anti-globalist protest to domestic turmoil. It's about idealism, obsession and failure in Seattle, a progressive city on the fringe of America's continent and consciousness. Grant Cogswell is a poet, a punk rock-fan, an anarchist, a grassroots activist, and one very temperamental character. He loves Seattle so much he has the city logo tattooed on his arm. In the summer of 2001 he decides to run for city council. He's so determined to win that he'll even wear a polar-bear suit to a city hall meeting. Phil Campbell, the author, is a burnt-out recently fired alt-weekly reporter, a manic depressive who sees few reasons to live. Inspired by his friend Grant's passion, and without anything better to do, he agrees to manage Grant's campaign. For eighteen weeks, Phil devotes himself to Grant's grassroots challenge--all the while fending an overzealous roommate challenging him for his position as manager of their shared house. Overshadowing the story is the tale of U.S. Rep. Marion Anthony Zioncheck, a legendary boozer and forgotten lefty radical from the 1930s. As Grant's campaign unfolds, so does the story of Zioncheck's tragedy -- his rise and fall from an energetic young politico to a madman who is sent to the insane asylum. The question: Is Zioncheck's tale a lesson already learned, or a prophecy waiting to be repeated?
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July 03, 2012
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