Sunday, November 02, 2008

I heard a joke the other day. Was it funny? No. But that’s not the point; it was the subject matter of the joke that really bothered me. Here’s the joke: Who loses if Barack Obama and Joe Biden are stranded on a desert island? The answer: America. Take a moment to not laugh at that.

The real problem with that joke is that it represents the kind of blind (or, most recently, obsessive) political party support that shows up unwelcome every four years. Would America really lose if those two were stranded on an island? I don’t know. I’m unaware of how the scoring works in this game. I don’t even know what game the joke is referring to, in which the entire country is a participant. Perhaps it’s Greco-Roman wrestling.

I remember when politics were cool. It was for about three months, from December 2007 to February 2008, when the primary elections were on everyone’s mind and there were about two dozen candidates running around so you couldn’t really get sick of any specific one. Each would pop up here and there for a quick message: Obama wants change, McCain has experience, and Ron Paul is wasting everyone’s time and money.

The race was exciting. There was nightly coverage of the hundred and twelve primary elections; all sorts of charts and graphs and statistics plastered across every newspaper and magazine in the country. It was like my TV screen was the back of a baseball card. Everything was all fun and games. We were still months, even years, away from the actual election so everything that happened was more for America’s entertainment than for America to actually use to form an educated opinion. Remember, though, that we are talking about average Americans here, so educated opinion can and should be regarded as an oxymoron.

Not that it’s really anyone’s fault. There is no way to form an intelligent, unbiased opinion about any of the candidates these days. It’s impossible. When every news source is biased and the candidates themselves are obviously lying about the majority of their claims, the only way to sort out heads from tails in this thing is to, well, flip a coin. Theoretically, the only way for there to be an unbiased news source would be for a reporter to descend from Mars in an exotic spacecraft. But there would likely still be bias, as he would favor whichever candidate pushes higher subsidies for Space Fruits and Space Grains.

Even I fell victim to believing politicians during the last few months. Here’s the story of my political opinions, presented in an easy-to-read bulleted, chronological list. You are very welcome. Seriously; my pleasure.

· Summer of 2007: I get all of my political news from the Internet, and thus I think Ron Paul is the man.

· December of 2007: I realize, much later than I should have, that the Internet is obviously the worst place to gather unbiased information. It dawns on me that comments by SigurRos6969 about Ron Paul’s brilliant economic strategies aren’t credible sources, evidenced by the variety of ways he spells “there.” I notice that most Ron Paul supporters are in high school or college. I remember that the vast majority of high school and college students are complete idiots, and my support for Ron Paul collapses shortly before his campaign does.

· January 2008 to June 2008: Just like most other people who won’t actually be eligible to vote in November, I hop aboard the Obama bandwagon. It’s cozy for a little while and I feel comfortable amongst others my age. We all know Obama is the best candidate, obviously. He’s the change Washington needs. He’s hope incarnate. He’s a phenomenal speaker, a prophet, a leader. He’s the messiah. Wait, what? Can you stop the bandwagon? I want to get off.

· July 2008 to Present: I finally come to realize, for reasons that will follow, that there is no reason to worry, or care, about who wins this election.

It seems that recently people have forgotten there’s still an incumbent President in the White House. And he’s still going to be there for almost three months after the election. His name is George W. Bush and everyone seems to hate him. I, too, was once on this bandwagon. The trajectory of Bush’s presidency mirrors that of Napoleon Dynamite: Everyone loved it for two years then all of a sudden people decided it’s not funny anymore. Just like everyone else under 30, I once thought it was cool to talk about his bad decisions, his gaffes, his general lack of intelligence. Then I realized that no one has any idea what they’re talking about and shut up. Most people who spend their days, nights, and weekends bashing Bush couldn’t name ten things he’s done. They probably couldn’t even name ten things they’ve done in the past year, besides bash Bush and work at Kinko’s.

Bush has been in office for almost half of my life. With the hatred he attracts and his record-low approval ratings, it would seem that my life went from carefree days of a fat wallet and smooth rollerblades under Clinton to current times of eating dirt and being verbally harassed by terrorists. How has my life changed since 2000? I now have armpit hair. That’s about it. My personality hasn’t changed, I haven’t really matured in any way, and my personal well-being and standard of living are every bit as stable as they were when Clinton was in office. Of course, plenty of people have been negatively affected by Bush’s decisions, but unless he has personally come to your house and clogged your toilet or siphoned your gas or used up all your monthly text messages, chances are you have nothing to complain about.

Sure, people have problems with his decisions on the war and his handling of various crises, but come on. What is all that complaining going to accomplish? Not much. Think of all the energy you used complaining. Energy expelled through your mouth and flailing arms as you stomped or marched in protest. Now who’s the one responsible for global warming?

Before I discuss the current candidates, I have a few problems with the way the election is run. First up: Polls are as useless and don’t even make sense, like most bass guitarists. Every night the news presents new polling data and every night it’s completely different. On Monday: “McCain up 10 points! Victory close enough to grasp!” On Wednesday: “Obama leading by 15! Let’s call it now!” They forgot to tell you that the first poll was conducted on 18 people and the second was done at Barack Obama’s mother’s house. There are infinite ways to interpret and analyze that useless data. “Woah, Latino Jews in west Florida favor McCain! Stop the presses, boys, we’ve got a winner!” The polling targets often get too specific for their own good. “Let’s see what former Milwaukee Brewers batting coaches think!” “Who do Filipino dogs wearing bandanas in novelty postcards favor?” “What about six year-olds? Obama is targeting the key six year-old demo! They’re gonna turn out in droves this year!”

It’s interesting that people only mention polls when they support their candidate. Actually it’s not that interesting, but not much is in this election. “You see Obama’s up ten points? McCain doesn’t have a shot!” But the next day McCain’s up ten. “What? Oh, polls don’t matter, man. Pointless.” Then they put on their black-rimmed glasses and return to their protest chanting. “Fox News is faux news! Fox News is faux news!”

Second, the attack ads. They’re incredibly uninteresting. These two are attacking each other about vague ideas and concepts, like experience and hope. How about specific events that people can relate to? Things real people can hate. Obama plays dirty basketball and has really big nipples. McCain forgot to leave to a tip at an Oklahoma Applebee’s in 1994. Obama owns Reba: The Complete Second Season. McCain sometimes forgets to flush. I don’t understand the big deal with experience in this campaign. What does the McCain camp expect Obama to do? Stroll into the Oval Office and realize that he doesn’t know what it takes to get a bill passed? He’ll have to track down his 9th grade Political Science textbook to figure it out? No cabinet members will offer their assistance because they’re too busy playing NBA2K8?

If we’re so concerned with experience, look at the Chicago Cubs. They’ve got plenty of experience, but when was the last time they won a World Series? On the other hand, experience is necessary in most situations. I wouldn’t let a homeless man examine my prostate, unless I really needed some money or that homeless man was Danny Glover. I’d let him do it.

Third, the entire concept of campaign signs doesn’t make sense. How effective can these possibly be? “You know, I used to think Obama was an unpatriotic, Muslim terrorist. But now that I see his campaign logo uses a blue font, I think he’s got my vote.” Then there’s the law prohibiting people from wearing campaign logos to voting sites on Election Day. If anyone’s opinion is swayed by a t-shirt while they wait in line to vote, they don’t deserve to vote. They don’t even deserve to stand in lines. For someone’s opinion to be swayed at that point, they must have gone to the voting site undecided, which means they either just woke up from a coma or got lost on the way to a 2:30pm dinner at Golden Corral.

Fourth, the debates. There were three of them, in which the same two guys said the same things in response to the same questions. Actually, I’m just assuming that because I didn’t watch them because I (correctly) assumed they would be incredibly boring and pointless. Instead of debates and constant speeches, here’s how elections should be operated: Each U.S. citizen receives one piece of paper in their mailbox one week before Election Day. On that sheet of paper is a bulleted list of each candidate’s position on ten key issues, from the War to abortion to taxes, and maybe even a fun one like their favorite ice cream flavor. That’s it. No speeches, no debates, nothing. Because those don’t matter. But couldn’t the candidates lie about their positions? Absolutely; as they should. They do in their speeches and ads anyway, so why not? Say you approve of gay marriage even if you protested one last Tuesday. Who cares? They need the votes. Tell us your father is a Komodo Dragon. I’d probably vote for that guy.

I wish the debates weren’t as planned. The candidates obviously have their answers prepared ahead of time by a team of speech writers and campaign managers. What I want is a real, spontaneous debate; meaning that at least half the answers would be, “Uhh…” and an awkward silence for thirty seconds, like when you don’t know the answer at school. And the real sides of those two would come out; not the fake polite sides. There would be cussing and shouting; fingers pointed and, hopefully, legs broken. They would insult each other’s children and claim to have had intercourse with each other’s mother. It would be much more entertaining that way. Actually, why not just put them on Springer? Each debate needs a moderator, and Jerry Springer has been doing that every day for over a decade. Let them throw some chairs at each other, rip off each other’s shirts, and expose their genitals. Then bring in the transvestites. It’ll be fun.

The whole concept of a debate doesn’t really make any sense. They argue, but it’s not like one participant is going to say, “Wow. You know what? I was wrong. Completely wrong. This guy knows what he’s talking about way more than I do. I am a moron.” Nothing comes from the arguments. It’s like last week when I argued with a boa constrictor for hours about how large lizards aren’t tasty. He refused to agree, so I walked away from the argument, located my machete, and cut off his head. I just dropped it. That’s what the candidates should do. The TV networks would probably be annoyed when the debates end in a handshake after forty-five seconds.

Everyone running for office all have one thing in common. They love the middle class. Well everyone who has ever lost the Presidency has supported the middle class. Coincidence? Possibly. Why not try something new? I’d like to see a candidate despise the middle class. Announce in a thirty-second commercial to air during According to Jim, “If you make under $30,000 a year, I will fight for you. If you make over $250,000 a year, I will do everything I can for you. But if you’re between the two, you better watch your step. Because when I’m in office, it’s to the gulag with you!”

Since we’re on the topic, here are a few more things related to the election that have been bothering me. What’s up with kids suddenly thinking they’re intelligent? They watch the news for the first time in their lives and suddenly they think they’re political experts. They read one newspaper article and talk incessantly about it for the next three weeks. The main outlet for this is Facebook. Seriously, kids, any time you mention your political affiliations on Facebook you just look like an idiot. There is a 100% chance you don’t know what you’re talking about, whether it’s a membership in the Nobama 08 group or a “…is selling my blood and kidneys to raise money for Obama!” status. Most people who do this won’t even be able to vote. That’s like if the AARP magazine published a monthly column on beer pong and text messaging. Be aware of the demographic you fall into, and please limit your FB talk accordingly. What if the candidates talked about Facebook? It would be out of line and you would be offended. “Shut up, McCain. Maybe I think your bumper stickers are stupid.” Kids who can’t vote who care about the election (meaning most kids over 13) are really wasting their time. You might as well get invested in the race for the governorship of Puerto Rico; you also will have no effect on that election. Why not concern yourself with issues that you can impact? Like begging your mom for more trendy skirts or protesting the increased prices at your favorite hookah bar.

Speaking of young people pointlessly getting involved in politics, why are there Young Democrat and Young Republican clubs at school? Only a fraction of seniors will be able to vote. That’s like having an Extreme Sports Club at a school for the blind. What could possibly go on at those meetings? “Well I support abortions, do you support abortions?” “Yes, I support abortions, do you support abortions?” “I, too, support abortions.” “See you next week!”

The Young Democrats have a poster up that warns of Big Brother watching over us and if we have a problem with it we should attend a meeting. That sounds productive. What could come from that meeting? A letter to the White House?

Dear White House,

Shame on you! The Patriot Act is Big Brother! That’s contradicting the…well, one of the Amendments! It’s probably somewhere in that Bill of Rights! Scott was supposed to look up which one but he left his book in his locker. But it’s a human rights offense! It’s near genocide! It’s almost as bad as when Facebook changed layouts! Stop the Patriot Act now!

Arrgh,

The Young Democrats

Another thing that’s stupid? Anti-Obama chain emails. I’m very familiar with these; my mother forwards them to me on a regular basis. Of course they’re filled with lies and of course people are stupid enough to believe them. Remember, this is the same country that has purchased a million copies of Buckcherry’s album. But if you’re going to make up things about a candidate, why not go all-out? Accusing him of being a Muslim? Irrationally hating someone based on his or her religion is old news; we’ve been at that for thousands of years. How about accusing Obama of being a sorcerer? Say he had a hand in throwing the 2003 World Series. He slaughters ducks for fun. He operates a bed and breakfast that offers discounted rates for rapists. Any of these would do; I just want to see a little creativity in those emails.

Enough about people who won’t be affecting the election at all. Let’s get into the candidates. Actually, let’s get into the candidates for Vice President, whom the media apparently thinks are running for President considering the coverage they give them. First off, Sarah Palin is a name I hope I never hear again in my entire life. I would estimate I’ve heard her name fifteen times a day since she was chosen by McCain. The only name I want to hear fifteen times a day is my own, and I want it coming from a stripper’s mouth. Obnoxious liberals think Sarah Palin is the only human alive dumber than George W. Bush, but you have to realize that she was swept up into the race in a span of about a week. Anyone would look like an idiot with that little time to prepare for constant scrutiny by the entire country. What if she only had a month to train for Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest? She could probably only get six or seven dogs. Apparently Sarah Palin is a popular choice as a Halloween costume this year. You might as well just tape a sign to your head that says, “I (A) am not creative, (B) think I’m hip and smart, and (C) get my Halloween costume ideas from USA Today.”

Joe Biden is the plainest man I have ever seen. I’ve eaten grains of rice more interesting than Joe Biden. I was at the grocery store three days ago and I said, “Why won’t this box of plain bran flakes scan?” and the clerk said, “Because that isn’t cereal. That’s Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.” Joe Biden can barely hold my interest longer than an issue of US News and World Report. He has the rare ability to make Coldplay sound interesting, if you listen to them immediately after a Biden speech. He’s as generic as they come; the Kroger brand Old White Politician. If Obama and Biden win, the only way people will remember Biden in a hundred years will be if, on inauguration day, he changes his name to Jiggly Tits Joe. Otherwise he will be forgotten; a mere brushstroke on the grand tapestry of Plain White Guys Serving as American Vice Presidents.

John McCain seems like the guy who works with your dad that you meet at some company family outing and he pulls you aside to tell you a creepy joke about condoms. I can’t really criticize him for anything else, since every time I’ve come across a political article about him in a magazine or newspaper in the last few months I’ve skipped it because it looked boring. From what I’ve seen on the tube, though, McCain is a lot funnier than Obama.

Obama is supposed to be the coolest of cool. But realize that he’s cool for a politician. Would I want to hang out with Barack Obama? Play a little RB2 or throw down on the ping pong table? No, I wouldn’t. Because I don’t want to get lectured at for a half hour on hope and responsibility. From what I’ve seen that’s all he does, and if I wanted to be yelled at about responsibility I’d go back to Virginia and talk to my daughter’s mother. People need to stop obsessing and realize that Obama is a normal person. Three years ago he didn’t even know he’d be in this campaign, let alone be considered the savior of humanity. Not that I have anything against him; I just mean, come on, people. You act like he has some book of country-saving secrets he’ll crack open January 20th and suddenly everything will be fixed. If that book existed the current Bush administration, as well as McCain’s campaign, would be on a whirlwind global hunt for it. And then this wouldn’t be a presidential race, it would be the next National Treasure movie.

So it comes down to this: I don’t really see any reason to like either candidate. But there are reasons to dislike them. Here’s why I don’t want Obama to win. First of all, when I type Barack Obama/Joe Biden into Microsoft Word, 75% of those names get a Red Squiggly. On the other hand, John McCain/Sarah Palin sees a 0% Red Squiggly rating. Do I want to put up with at least four years of Red Squigglies? No, not really. I also want Obama to lose just to annoy liberals. There’s nothing more obnoxious than someone who sits at Starbucks all day working on their horrible screenplay on their Macbook and talks nonstop about how Obama is literally the savior of humanity. This is how I picture all Democrats, and I wish terrible things upon them. The worst thing they could imagine is an Obama loss. Or the next Animal Collective CD getting cancelled. Hopefully both happen on the same day.

Why should McCain lose? So I never hear about Sarah Palin ever again. That’s pretty much the only reason I have. I know people frequently cite things like his policies and stances on issues and Senate record, but I really don’t care. It’s not like he, or Obama, will actually do anything in office. I admit that I’ve lost faith in politics over the last several years, but nothing Bush did ever affected me, and unless McCain makes Xbox Live illegal or puts a huge tax on Publix-brand yogurts, nothing he could do will either.

A political election is really just choosing who’s going to spend your money. The candidates are all about the taxes. They both say they’re going to lower them and are both lying to you, so it doesn’t really matter. The problem with the whole taxes issue is that the candidates forget about that whole national debt thing. The U.S. is currently over ten trillion in the red, and according to something I saw on the news, both candidates’ proposals will only increase it. Since the debt obviously doesn’t matter, here’s my plan: The federal and state governments eliminate all taxes: income, sales, property, whatever. No taxes on anything. But we set a date, one hundred years from now, when this will all end. The country keeps operating at its current level by getting fat loans from other countries, but without taxes of any sort. Everyone experiences wild prosperity and fun, while the national debt grows at an insane rate. Then, in 2108, the U.S. defaults on its loans and ceases to exist. That’s it; the country just ends. We have one hundred years of crazy fun, and then call it quits. Whomever the U.S. owes the most money to (likely China) will receive the largest share of American land. Each country we owe will take a proportional slice of the country, to be used as colonies or prisons or opium farms. I think that’s a solid plan.

With money on everyone’s minds lately, I also don’t agree with the assessment of the current state of the economy. Obama is quick to call it the worst times since the Great Depression. Is that true? There’s not really a way to tell, considering how radically different the country has become over the last century. You know how I know it’s different? Because hardly anyone takes dumps in the street anymore. People are too quick to label events as major crises. Since Vietnam there hasn’t been an event that united an entire generation. Our grandparents had the Depression and World War II, our parents had Vietnam, and we have, what, Pokemon? People want that event to happen and anytime something slightly serious happens they jump to label it as being larger than it is. I mean, yeah, if you have a lot of money in stocks you’re probably not feeling so hot these days. But I don’t have money in stocks, I have it in a hollowed-out book in my room. Most young people have nothing to complain about concerning the downturn. Honestly, the only way it has affected my life is that Riverside pizzas now cost six dollars.

It’s the same thing with people thinking this is a monumental, historic election. No it’s not; it’s a monumental occasion for your television station or magazine to get viewers and readers. Remember when it was the biggest election of our lives four years ago? It’s just like the Olympics: every four years it’s touted as being such a big deal so NBC and their sponsors can rack up fat cash, but after two weeks you realize you could watch people dive at the neighborhood pool and don’t care anymore. It’s not possible to have any sort of historic election anymore. The last one was probably FDR’s third term. Up until everyone bought a TV politics were the only thing to talk about and were a big deal, but nowadays for every political story people read they look at three humorous pictures of cats. That is why there will never be another historic election. Because people are more interested in Internet fads than politics. As they should be.

What really bother me are the people who are completely, blindly, mindlessly in love with their candidate. Sure, the presidential question is an odd one; but we can’t flip to the back of the book to find a definitive answer. (What an incredibly clever sentence.) They think the other guy is wrong about everything, from his ideas to his speech to the way he ties his shoes. And they believe their candidate is perfect to the extent of being able to fart on-key G sharps every time. And that’s just not true. Obama could barely hit a D the last time I saw him.

I hope people know that in our current society of hyper-scrutiny, by the time 2012 rolls around there’s a high probability that no matter who wins everyone will hate them. Some little mistake like sagging his pants Ja-Rule-style during the State of the Union Address will be blown up into a world-changing disaster, and soon enough whoever is President will be reduced to being just another in a series of jokes running the country. It’s one of the worst times to lead the country. There are a lot of problems out there. If I could vote, I wouldn’t, because there’s a 50/50 shot that I’d be responsible for a bad President. Actually, that’s not true. I might vote if you could vote in the DVD section at Fry’s or if they gave out a free taco or something. Well I can’t vote, so in four years when everyone is laughing at our country’s leader, I’ll face no responsibility. So to all you suckers who can vote, good luck, and enjoy waiting in line. This thing’s a coin toss, and hopefully it works out in your favor.

I know what you’re thinking. “What an incredible waste of time. It’s like you wrote a really long, unfocused persuasive essay in which you argue for people to do nothing.” Yeah, pretty much. This election has been going on for almost two years now and it will end in one night. That’s like starting today with daily in-depth research to prepare for a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors in 2010. “If everyone didn’t care like you, no one would vote!” Okay, cool. “Your whole point was that you’re sick of the election, but you seem to be willing to write plenty about it.” You’re right. This is the last I’ll ever talk about the election. From now on I will exclusively talk about the Twilight series.