Ben Chipman and the death of his indie-cred
A Satire by Sam Pelletier
Local activist and lawmaker Ben Chipman told reporters today that his indie credibility with Portland voters passed away peacefully late last night. After a hard fought battle with electoral success and major party affiliation, the abstract concept of purity slipped away.
The legislator also addressed his decision, as the abstract concept’s next of kin, to forgo medical options that could have kept his grassroots image alive — at least up until his de facto election to the Maine State Senate this November.
“After discussing it at length with my supporters, we came to the conclusion that this was the best course of action. We wanted to remember my credibility as we all knew it, not languishing motionless inside the left wing of the war-mongering, corporatist Democratic Party, hooked up via needles and tubes to a public endorsement from Justin Alfond,” adding, “That’s just no way for a public persona to live.”
The underdog reputation had been with the State Representative since he began organizing well over a decade ago. In that time, he was known as a tireless street-level advocate for the Queen City’s homeless community and a legitimate standard bearer for progressive values.
It stood with him from his time as a Green Independent, to his numerous elections to the Statehouse as an actual independent.
(Presumably because putting the word “independent” in the official title of a qualifying party is mind-bendingly asinine and a huge dick move to anyone who’s ever had to ask a voter about their party affiliation.)
As the primary race for Alfond’s seat heated up, it became clear that the life of a progressive activist’s reputation is as fragile as it is hauntingly beautiful.
“It really changes how my messaging will look going forward.” said Ben Chipman, staring wistfully over Casco Bay as dusk surrendered to the night.
“It used to be that coming into politics from humble origins and having a consistent record of progressive stances meant something in this town. It used to be that supporting things like environmental protections, ranked choice voting, Bernie Sanders, and legalizing marijuana meant that people would refrain from going on your Facebook page and calling you a vile corporate stooge.”
The above quote was an obvious reference to his primary opponent Diane Russell, who gained national attention this May for her amendment adopted at the Maine Democratic Convention. The amendment would compel super delegates to abide by the will of state voters beginning 2020.
This success was muddied, however, by her second and less widely known amendment, mandating that every Maine Democrat sacrifice their firstborn child on a satanic altar to Monsanto lobbyists.
The loss of his revolutionary clout also stirred up worries about Chipman’s fundraising endeavors.
“In the past I would always make sure to follow the law, but if I did something that appeared at first glance to be an indulgence or exploiting a loophole, most people would just look the other way. I’m worried that if that happens in the future, alternative newspaper editors will buy Facebook likes for an article accusing me of running a slush fund.”
The most daunting reality facing the 40-year-old community organizer after the passing of his indie street cred was how to go about negative campaigning in the future.
“I really lucked out on the mudslinging factor in the Primary race. The worse situation a candidate can be in is having to do it yourself. My opponent actually had to put her name on disparaging campaign mailers. Worse still, her record of nationally recognized accomplishments prompted some out-of-town weirdo with a copy machine to send out a creepy note about me that everyone just assumed was from her campaign.
“It’s not that I didn’t need a myriad of attacks against my opponent to be made. It’s just that a bunch of people who supported me also have BDN blogs. I got to go out and say, not untruthfully either, that my campaign was a positive one. Meanwhile, you couldn’t turn on a computer or pick up a newspaper the week before the primary without reading about how my opponent was dishonest, power hungry, mean spirited, self-serving, and probably in the Bilderberg group. I may never have that kind of advantage again. ”
As the interview wrapped up, Ben Chipman once again addressed his decision to let his indie street-cred pass away peacefully.
“I just didn’t want it to die like that kid Sam Pelletier’s reputation as a decent comedy writer. That last article he put it the West End News was total garbage. I’m a compassionate, positive guy, but homie clearly wrote that thing while huffing paint thinner out of an empty can of Keystone Light.”