Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Leonardo

A born leader, Leonardo has always felt a sense of responsibility – not only for his brothers, but also for humanity.

“Sure, Master Splinter taught us to be ninja teens. But he also taught us that sometimes democracy can be more powerful than swords when it comes to helping people – and mutant amphibians – achieve a better life.”

Leonardo’s progressive tendencies naturally pushed him towards the Democrats. A big Obama fan, Leonardo likes to think that there’s a bit of Obama in him, in his even-handed approach to leading the turtles.

Sometimes, after a hard night of battling Shredder’s foot soldiers, he switches on CNN and finds solace in Obama’s own struggle to make inroads in Afghanistan. Yes we can, he thinks to himself.

Donatello

When the internet age arrived, Donatello was in his element. Having “done machines” for years, the world of email and online bulletin boards came naturally to the technologically talented turtle.

His net buddies provided the intellectual stimulation his brothers never could, and he spent hours in online chat rooms, where he was exposed to all sorts of wacky ideas.

One of these was Ayn Rand’s theory of Objectivism, and it wasn’t long before Donatello’s voice could be heard resonating around the sewers, espousing radical libertarian ideas that he’d picked on some underground website.

During such rants, the other turtles just roll their eyes and ignore him, knowing that if every turtle was left to pursue their own self interest, anarchy would prevail (duuhhh!).

Raphael

“You can take my sai – when you pry them from my cold, dead flippers,” reads the sticker on Raphael’s bedroom door. A member of the NSA (the National Sai Association), Raphael has been a strong advocate of the right to bear arms.

His unwavering views on the second amendment are matched by his equally black and white positions on abortion and gay marriage, and he has been known to go into intense fits of rage when Michelangelo teases him about being a closet homosexual.

Raphael has voted Republican since he was eligible and recently filled in for Chuck Norris at a celebrity martial arts demonstration, raising money for GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry.

Michelangelo

Although known as a “party dude”, parties of the political kind have never interested Michelangelo; he has often said that he’d rather eat an anchovy pizza than watch a presidential candidate debate.

Despite this, recently Michelangelo has become more politically aware. When Herman Cain, President of Godfather’s Pizza, entered the 2012 Presidential race, Michelangelo thought he finally had a candidate he could support.

However, since learning about Cain’s border protection policies, Michelangelo has become deeply critical of Cain (and Godfather’s Pizza). In his own act of political protest, he has sworn never to order from Godfather’s again, despite really loving their super taco deep-dish.

Recently, he has been hanging out at the Occupy Wall Street protests, wowing Brooklyn hipsters with his old school skating moves.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Optimus Prime


Prime with climate sceptic Lord Monckton.

This immigrant narrative is a familiar one. A war-torn homeland. Persecution. Asylum sought in a land of prosperity, freedom and perceived justice. A disheveled group of would be vigilantes, looking for another chance to establish themselves as valuable, functionally-important members of a new world.

It was a complex political world which greeted the awakening refugees from Cybertron in 1983 – one which molded their young leader, Optimus Prime, into the robot humanoid truck he is today.

Like so many immigrants before him, Prime’s politics echoed those of the party in charge when he touched down. Ronald Reagan’s view of a strong, optimistic and self-sufficient America was the political foundation of Optimus’ early years in the land of the free.

His gravitation toward the right continued throughout the ’80s. Fuelled by a growing sense of impotence stemming from his inability to escape the violent conflicts of his homeland, Prime became obsessed with strong family values and the strength of America’s position in the world.

Under Prime’s leadership, the Autobots quickly became advocates for the use of force and bravado in foreign policy. This attitude was further hardened by heightening tensions in Cold War America and their contact with Republican humans, Sparkplug and Spike – good old boys whose embrace of their extra-terrestrial friends was an ironic inversion of their lack of empathy toward human immigrants from war torn nations.

With the end of the Cold War, Prime mellowed – while still a registered Republican, he was more open to centrist views and particularly concerned with the rise of the religious right. It took until the year 2005 before Optimus Prime’s once passionate political streak was reinvigorated, this time in the face of an emerging threat from the green-left.  

The alarm bells first rang when he sat in on a screening of An Inconvenient Truth – Gore and his band of climate alarmists would destroy the natural order of life for all machine-kind. As a transforming truck, he was intensely angered by the concept of pricing carbon, seeing it as a literal threat to his lifeblood and that of his friends (raw energon was found to have a global warming potential 2000 times that of CO2). From that point forward Prime committed his life to lobbying for energon exemptions as part of any international climate change agreements or domestic legislation.

Prime’s lobbying efforts have been impressive: he donated generously to the Republican Party in 2008, established a successful web campaign titled Energon-fuel for life, and embarked on a world-wide speaking tour with Lord Monckton. He now counts Monckton as an uneasy ally, unsure of his overall approach and appeal to younger voters, but seeing him as a necessary, and surprisingly effective conduit to other parts of the community.

Prime has recently reached out to Galvatron, requesting his help to combat what he perceives as climate change alarmism. His efforts have been rebuffed, as the transforming cannon has gone on record, believing a price on carbon (and energon) will ultimately make nation states, individuals and interplanetary robotic warriors more accountable for their actions.

As Starscream once said, “you can’t deny the science”.

Optimus Prime

Ossie Ostrich


Oswald Q Ostrich’s family settled in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg in the late 1950s. Fleeing a Europe beset by Stalinism’s iron fist, Ossie’s father Yuri Ostrich took to the relative ease and comfort of Australian life.

Quickly unionised, Yuri joined the Labor Party. Never religious, his religion became the Coburg Football Club and the VFA.

His son Ossie grew up with a strong sense of dual identity between his central European heritage and his family’s love for Melbourne Labor politics and Victorian amateur football.

Ossie, however, couldn’t play football. But he could play politics, and it wasn’t long before he was on the road to becoming one of the great numbers men of the Victorian Right. In virtually every preselection in Melbourne’s northern suburbs from the 1970s onwards, the influence of Ossie Ostrich was felt.

He also grew up with a wise-cracking, self-deprecating sense of humour – probably some sort of coping mechanism he’d developed while growing up an immigrant bird, he’d think as he got older. The humorous Ossie was the one Australia came to love. But the other Ossie is a story which has never really been told.

Ostrich, as a great backroom man, could move numbers against anyone. And when he couldn’t beat them in branch meetings, he’d lure them onto Red Faces on the pretense of a publicity stunt, where inevitably they’d make a complete tit of themselves. No one would vote for someone who Red gonged and scored a ‘2’.

In those days, Hey Hey was a hotbed of political division.  Ossie often nearly came to blows in the Green Room after taking issue with something said by prominent Grouper, Wilbur Wilde.  

Ostrich and his father split over politics in 1992, after former Prime Minister Bob Hawke retired from Parliament. At the ensuing by-election, ever the machine man, Ossie was instrumental in the campaign of the lacklustre Labor candidate. His father, already resentful of Hawke’s liberalisation of the economy, looked no further than his former football hero, Phil Cleary. After Cleary’s victory, Ossie pursued him to the High Court. His father didn’t speak to him for years.

Ossie retired from television in the 1990s to concentrate on politics. While he remains a loyal Labor voter, he was expelled from the party in the early 2000s after trying to oust a sitting MP and factional enemy from his safe seat. Head office grew suspicious when 640 ostriches signed up to the party in a three week period leading up to preselection.

It had Ostrich’s hands all over it. His dream of ending his working life with a spot in the Victorian upper house was dashed. He’d ruffled too many feathers.

Ossie Ostrich

Mufasa


As a father, Mufasa was careful to act as a strong male role model to his impressionable son Simba, built on a solid sense of self – a lion king, descended from a long line of lion kings before him. His keen interest in parenting reflected a wider appreciation of traditional family values, including clearly delineated gender roles and a father’s position as his family’s protector.

Being a charismatic young leader himself, gifted in bringing together animals from all walks of life (some had even called him the first zebra king), Mufasa related to Clinton’s first term.  Like the Clintons,  Mufasa was also a passionate advocate for universal healthcare since witnessing the positive impact of Rafiki’s healing powers for the animal kingdom.

When Simba ventured into the elephant graveyard, Mufasa came down hard on him, justifying his reaction as a means of instilling in his son a rational fear of  threats to his freedom.  His hawkish views on border security led him to come out in strong support of the Patriot Act as well as the invasion of Afghanistan, although he drew the line at Iraq. Much like George W. Bush’s relationship with Tony Blair, in implementing his own counter-terrorism strategy, Mufasa found a willing ally in the British, through Zazu, the southern yellow-billed hornbill.

While undoubtedly leaning right, Mufasa considers himself grounded firmly in the centre, and was clearly ill at ease when his brother Scar formed a paramilitary group –  Mufasa saw this as a cynical attempt to capitalise on the angst of disenfranchised young hyenas.

On religion, Mufasa is a devout believer in the afterlife and upon his death became a talking cloud. He continues to preach conservative platitudes, such as reminding Simba to “remember who he is” (a privileged member of the animal ruling class).

Unlike many of his fellow conservatives, Mufasa is a strong supporter of action on climate change, viewing anthropogenic global warming as an indicator of disruptions to what he calls “the circle of life”.

In 2012, Mufasa is seeking a candidate who shares his views on security and family values, as well as his more progressive approach to climate change. Accordingly, he has been busy lobbying Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run as a Republican presidential nominee.

Mufasa

Luke Skywalker


Growing up under an anti-democratic, pan-galactic empire doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be politically aware. Luke Skywalker’s irregular life path is similarly matched by an irregular political evolution which reflects the tempestuousness of the world around him and his own singular personal narrative.

Like many sons of the agrarian lower-middle classes, Skywalker saw the armed forces as his ticket out of the family business and a life on the farm. He was staunchly pro-military, initially as an admirer of order and increasingly as an advocate of aggressive interplanetary foreign policy. With aspirations to transcend his social standing and exceed the wealth and success of his Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, Ronald Reagan spoke to him, as he did to so many aspiring sons of the lower middle classes, keen to make their mark on the galaxy and make their dreams come true.

Skywalker’s dealings with alien races also bred in him a healthy cynicism of other ethnicities and cultures, making him a mild racist in early life. You might be too, if you were sold an R2 unit with a bad motivator on more than one occasion. As such, Skywalker’s early politics were very much centred on the right wing, championing a para-military protectionist approach that was, at best, white nationalist and, at worst, humanoid supremacist.

However, like many who ventured away from their rural roots toward the larger metropolis, his eyes were opened to cultural diversity in early adulthood. He learned to embrace this, particularly enjoying the vibrant cantinas of Mos Eisley and learning to trust and enjoy the cultural nuances of the citizens of Kashik and Endor. This –  as well as his discovery that humankind, and not sandpeople, had been responsible for the death of his surrogate parents – left the young Skywalker disillusioned and questioning the right-wing rhetoric he had previously championed. Skywalker voted Dukakis in 1988 as a flagrant rebellion against the politics of his youth.

Skywalker’s focus on religion changed his political outlook in general. The more he engaged with his spirituality, the more he rejected traditional political thought. After his second spell on Dagobah, Skywalker began looking closely at minor party candidates, but was disappointed by the atheist viewpoints of the left and the bombastic, oversimplification of the right. He voted Clinton in 1992 and then stayed away from the ballot box until 2004.

Having lived through several galactic wars, Skywalker was deeply concerned by the Bush Administration. He was awoken from his political slumber to vote for Kerry, a man who he empathised with as a veteran and as a man of leadership. He has since become an ardent student of the libertarian movement, and his cynicism for big government is only outweighed by his religious beliefs and insistence on judging political candidates based on their midi-chlorian count.

Luke Skywalker

Danny Tanner, Jesse Katsopoulis and Joey Gladstone


Tanner and wife, Pam, a successful couple living in Russian Hill, were archetypal champagne Democrats – passionate about social issues but increasingly uncomfortable that their views on taxation and public versus private education were becoming skewed by their higher income and desire to best provide for their children, DJ, Stephanie and Michelle.

When their world came crashing down after Pam’s untimely death, Tanner’s politics also changed.

The time-poor widower Tanner, finding it hard enough to provide ample attention for his three daughters, looked outside of his milieu and marvelled at the ability of single parents in other neighbourhoods who were faced with considerably more hardship than he was. It’s hard enough with a big paycheck and two male friends to help you raise your kids – imagine if you were on food stamps!

This galvanised Tanner’s outlook and pushed him further towards the left wing. Recent years have seen him increasingly use his personality and platform of Wake up San Francisco as a means to push his leftist, big government-driven agenda down the throats of San Franciscans.

Uncle Jesse takes a loosey goosey approach to politics. C’mon – he spent his youth chasing chicks and playing in the Beach Boys back-up band, so he was hardly enraged by the Iran Contra scandal! He is passionate about certain topics but does not have a highly evolved political sphere of consciousness.

Jesse has gay friends – he wants them to be recognised just like he and Becky are. He also thinks that people should manage their money correctly and not rely on government welfare. He is passionate about these topics and several others, but finds it difficult to find a candidate or party which totally speaks to him. He often makes up his decision at the polling booth or based on a candidate “he thinks he can trust”.

Joey  is a single issue voter: public education. Since the conclusion of the program and the evaporation of his radio and television career, Joey has returned to his roots as a classroom teacher and is heavily involved in the teachers union and carving out better funding for inner city schools. He commutes to Oakland each day from his basement abode in Russian Hill.

In a somewhat surprising twist since the show’s conclusion, family friend Kimmy Gibler became highly politically aware during college. She was elected student body president of UC Berkeley and now works as a staffer for Sen (D) Dianne Feinstein, but feels she is at times too moderate.

Danny Tanner, Jesse Katsopoulis and Joey Gladstone

Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor


Growing up in the working class enclaves of Detroit, Michigan, Tim’s politics are grounded in reality. He saw his parents, their friends and their friends’ friends do it tough from time to time, instilling in him a sense of social justice which saw him gravitate toward the Democratic party early in life. For Tim’s burgeoning political awareness, Watergate came at a particularly influential moment.

All this changed in the late ’70s. Tim became disillusioned with the Democratic party and the Carter administration had him wanting more. “We should aspire to succeed,” thought the young Tim, who by this time was on the television fast-track, with a young, smart girlfriend he intended to make his wife and a life of creature comforts and middle class suburban-dom knocking at his door. “I want my car port, I want my kids to go to good schools and I shouldn’t feel ashamed about that,” thought Tim.

Tim voted Reagan in 1980, and since then has swapped his votes between moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats: Reagan in ’84; Bush in ’88; Clinton in ’92; not getting to the booth in ‘96 (due to a sandbelting accident which left Al Borland in emergency); Bush in 2000; Kerry in 2004; and Obama in 2008.

When he goes to the polls in 2012, Tim will consider what he sees as chronic economic mismanagement and a misguided health care policy by the Democrats since 2008 against worrying signs that the extreme right wing is taking over the Republican party’s middle ground. He may look to an independent candidate, should Rick Perry get the nomination, or would likely vote Republican if Mitt Romney is the party’s selected candidate.

Tim and his neighbour Wilson discuss politics over the fence in this backyard frequently – Wilson tries in vain to convince Tim of Ron Paul’s feasibility as a presidential candidate and the validity of the libertarian movement. Uuuuruhh? 

Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor