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JWR 3.52 - Bulls on Parade


I have to say, I’m a little disappointed in my generation.  What happened to the disillusionment we felt in the not too distant past?  Why is everyone voting?  Why is everyone so annoyingly vocal about not only voting, but also for whom they’re voting?  I’m glad people who have Bush/Cheney or Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers get their cars keyed.  And it’s not by people like me.  It’s by the people for the other people.  Crazy.  I feel like I’m the only one not voting, and while I don’t particularly enjoy being lonely, in this case, I think it’s quite all right.


In this election, it’s not so much the candidates that annoy me; it’s…well, it's all of you.  It’s not enough to simply state your iron-clad allegiance for one candidate or the other in a pin or a lawn sign or a—gasp!—vote, but you have to continue by berating the other candidate AND by making quasi-threats about the people you walk past who wear a pin for the other candidate.  “I should go give him a piece of my mind.”  How goddamn quickly we forget the concept of freedom of speech when we’re not in agreement with someone else.


People keep asking me for whom I’ll vote.  Neither.  Then they ask whom I like more, and I tell them I don’t play that shit.  I won’t vote for the “lesser of two evils.”  I won’t vote for the more competent of the incompetent.  I know we can do better.


Nader?  Um, no.  A vote for Nader is a vote for Kerry simply because if there was no Nader, that person voting would most likely vote for Kerry.  I saw Nader on a CNBC talk show, the poor bastard, while Bush and Kerry are “debating” on all the networks, Nader gets a 10-minute segment on a cable news network no one watches.  And to make matters worse, the interviewer had the nerve to ask him: “Between just Bush and Kerry, who would you vote for?”  Nader, being the ultra bright guy he is, says: “Kerry, but they’re both bad.”  Yeah, he’s a serious candidate for president.


Those debates should just be renamed masturbates because all the candidates do is get behind their podiums and jerk themselves off by spouting off their stances on canned issues and taking pot shots at the other guy.  Shouldn’t there actually be some debate?  Where’s the lively back and forth?  The guy that put together the first televised presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy was furious that his ideas about what it should have been like were changed and made into essentially the same crap we watch today, but now we have a cute color-coded lighting system for the timed responses.


What about a write-in?  No.  They don’t even look at the write-ins.  I imagine if Bush got twelve percent of the vote and Kerry got twelve percent of the vote and Nader got two percent of the vote, they’d be forced to look at the write-ins, but people lack vision.  Isn’t that why we need to boil down our options for president to two fucking white guys?


You’re not electing a president when you cast your vote among the volunteer retirees at the Moose Lodge.  Your vote is counted and reported to your representative in the House who will cast his or her—hopefully his—vote for president supposedly based on the majority decision from their state.  But they don’t have to.  Obviously, something is amiss if the popular vote isn’t legally enough to determine the president.  You’d think if that were the case, then perhaps we’d have a more foolproof system to vote.  You know you don’t even need to show your ID when you go vote in Wisconsin?  You just tell them your name.  Is there any wonder we’re hearing all this about voter fraud?


We’re acting like the process of voting is such a sacred privilege.  I think what happened in Florida four years ago is a grand testament that the voting process is flawed flawed flawed.  Anything administrated by the elderly who can’t gain employment as a greeter at Wal-Mart is bound to be steeped in chaos and sublime fuckery.  You assume that there are procedures and people ready to apply those procedures not only when things are going smoothly, but also when something goes wrong.  During to Cold War, the secret code to launch nuclear weapons was 00000000.  And we’re not talking about government-run proceedings here.  These are volunteers; the least capable people on earth.  These guys could fuck up a cup of coffee. 


Prepare to have multiple recounts this time because no matter who wins in each of the swing states, the other guy will cry, “Foul!”


One little thing we forget is that the presidency is not the only thing on the ballot.  Can you name two more things that are going to be on your ballot, or more appropriately, can you make an intelligent decision about the other issues and positions that will be on the ballot? 


You will hear, get out and vote.  Vote or die.  Vote.  You will also hear, even if you don’t know what the issues are, vote.  Isn’t this simply ignorant?  Why don’t I just go to vote and choose the opposite of what I think is the right choice?  Wouldn’t that be a bad idea?  How about if I chose to pick the guy with the funnier name, or this guy whose name can be changed around to spell “Satan burger?”  Telling people to get out and vote despite not knowing issues is a bad idea.  Just like I think voting a straight ticket with no thought is a bad idea.  I hear people who vote a straight ticket don’t vote for the individual people when they do that, they vote for the party’s philosophy.  Like Chris Rock says, Democrats are a party with no ideas, and Republicans are a party of bad ideas.


I got three phone calls on Saturday reminding me to vote as well as a visitor at my door.  I got three phone calls Sunday: one from Arnold Schwarzenegger, and another from Bart-Fucking-Starr.  What the fuck is going on?  Apparently, this year’s election is the most important one in the history of elections.  Hey, guess what?  It’s not.  I’d say it’s about as important as the election before it, and the one before that and the one before that. 


I’m not voting, but you certainly should if you want to.  I don’t have a responsibility to vote, I have the freedom to vote, as well as the freedom not to vote.  I simply don’t think that it will make much of a difference whether it’s Bush or Kerry who wins.  Here’s how I know.  In ’92, when Clinton was elected over Bush Sr., I was kind of concerned about what might happen.  We had just had 12 years of Republicans in power and now a Democrat, a draft-dodging Democrat, was elected President.  But everything was cool.  In ’96 I voted.  Then in 2000, Bush won over Gore and I was a little concerned again because I thought we had just come off eight years of Democrat leadership, and what will happen?  9-11 wasn’t Bush’s fault, it would have happened with Gore in the White House as well.  So now, once again, we have another election; and I’d prefer to keep Bush, but only because change is harder than no change.


I don’t like Kerry because he not only seems like a disingenuous dick-face, but because he looks like a basset hound.  And basset hounds are not good leaders.  Those jowls may be good for hiding doggie treats, but I don’t want to see that during the State of the Union address (like I watch that). 


I don’t like Bush because he pronounces “nuclear” incorrectly.  It’s not like if you say it wrong, you are forever unable to say it properly.  He says it, “new-que-lur” instead of “new-clee-uhr.”   I can say it both ways, why can’t he?  Fucking hick.  “Kiptin, we have found the nuclear wessels in A-la-mee-dah.”


But the president isn’t the big thing because when you elect your president, you’re really electing his cabinet, and the cabinet has the swag.  I think presidential candidates should be forced to tell you who’s going to be in their cabinets.  You wouldn’t elect a guy if he didn’t have a vice president picked out.  Why would you not demand to know whose going to be telling the president what to do? 


I have a political dream team.  I have my ideal president and vice president that I would vote for no matter who was running for what position.  I wouldn’t care what party they ran under.  Do you know who your perfect presidential and vice presidential candidates would be?  Mine would be Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld.  Yes, no bullshit.  I’d vote if they were running.  But they’re not running.  We have a guy half the country hates and another guy…half the country hates.


Can’t we do better?


The people truly capable of doing a good job as leader of this country are intelligent enough to stay out of politics.  Do they know that Kennedy was killed not because he told the people things they wanted to hear; rather because he started to make those things they wanted to hear a reality? 


We’re really good at doing a half-assed job in this country.  We freed the slaves, but did nothing to help them after that.  We ended segregation but what little progress we’ve seemed to make in the forty years since simply because everybody’s still so pissed.  We had a booming automobile industry, but failed to realize that a name alone isn’t quality.  We toppled the Iraqi dictatorship but don’t have the public heart to stay and make sure the next government will be just.  We have no patience for anything.  We’re an immediate gratification-only society.


If I told you that you could be president but everything you decided would be disliked by at best thirty percent of everyone in the country and almost the entire rest of the globe, your every word would be recorded and used against you as the opportunity arouse without fail, you would be parodied unflatteringly by every skit show in the land, and your family would also be spared nothing in these areas, would this be a career path down which you would like to embark?


The only good thing about Election Day is that the next one is four years away, and the whining and rallying and phone calls won’t start for about three and a half.


I hope elections continue to get more and more urgently important to everyone who cares and the political attacks get more vicious.  I hope instead of debates, we have presidential fistfights.  I hope we have riots at the polls like in South America.  I hope things get so bad that finally, we’ll be able to take a step back and see the problem isn’t the guy in the Oval Office, rather it’s the guys who run insurance companies and drug companies and OPEC and the energy companies.  Guys that dig and dig and dig into our pockets deeper and deeper and deeper each year for the gas in my car and the electricity in my house and the drugs in my veins and the insurance policy in my manila folder.  I don’t care how many people ask why an aspirin costs twelve dollars at a hospital; I care if they do something about it.  Capitalism is a great thing if it’s you that’s got the money.


Whoever wins, I hope it’s the guy you don’t want to win.  Bulls on parade.




Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes

Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal

I walk the corner to the rubble that used to be a library

Line up to the mind cemetery now

What we don't know keeps the contracts alive and movin'

They don't gotta burn the books they just remove 'em

While arms warehouses fill as quick as the cells

Rally ‘round the family, pockets full of shells”



The End


Copyright © 2005 John Lemut