"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." ~ Richard Feynman
Election 2004: Giant Douchebag vs. Turd Sandwich
As a long-time fan of the outrageously over-the-top, crudely animated satirical cartoon series "South Park" on cable's Comedy Central, I happily tuned in last Wednesday night for the premiere episode of the show's newest season. The show's co-creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, can usually be counted upon for a satirical send-up of The News Item(s) of the Week, and they did not disappoint on Wednesday night. As I expected, they gave us their own unique take on the upcoming presidential election and the outright silliness and hypocrisy of American democracy in general. (For a hilarious spoof of global politics with Thunderbirds-style marionette puppets, be sure to catch Parker and Stone's latest film, Team America: World Police.)
Anyone familiar with "South Park" knows that the show revolves around a group of potty-mouthed schoolkids growing up in a small town in Colorado, who in spite of their vulgar language often demonstrate that they're far more intelligent and insightful than the show's adult characters. In the latest episode, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) storms the local school's pep rally (during which the main characters--Stan, Kyle and Cartman--remain resolutely nonplussed while all the other kids whip themselves into an emotional frenzy) and pour red paint on the school's mascot . . . a cow (the face of which seems permanently fixed in an expression of befuddled fear . . . sort of like how George W. Bush looked when reading "My Pet Goat" to schoolchildren on 9-11). After the PETA folks raise a big stink for what they consider to be the shameless exploitation of cows, the school principal decides to change the mascot and allow the students to vote on what the new one would be, because, after all, that is the American way.
The always delightfully troublesome Cartman decides to wage a campaign for a "Turd Sandwich" to become the new school mascot. One of the other kids then tries to top Cartman by promoting a "Giant Douchebag." What initially starts off as a goof among the kids quickly deteriorates into a knock-down, drag-out electoral struggle between the two proposed mascots, and as soon as you see Cartman's gigantic campaign billboard for "Turd Sandwhich '04" done in the very same font style as a "Bush-Cheney '04" billboard, you get the gist: Turd Sandwich running against Giant Douchebag for South Park school mascot is a direct analogy to the current presidential campaign.
And that, my friends, is probably the most truthful assessment of this ridiculous election anyone has ever offered on television to date.
That is your choice for president of the United States, the most powerful governmental office not only in this nation, but in the entire world. An office that commands not only an annual budget of over $2 trillion forcibly confiscated from the very population whose life, liberty and property it is supposed to "protect," but also commands the deadliest arsenal of the most technologically advanced weapons of mass destruction the world has ever seen, not to mention a vast army over a million strong that will go bomb and kill whomever the president tells them to go bomb and kill.
Neither alternative is very pleasant, is it? On the one hand, turds aren't exactly tasty (unless you're one of those mentally ill people who have that weird psychological disorder that actually compels them to eat feces), and eating crap can bring on some pretty nasty diseases. On the other hand, having a Giant Douchebag forced up your crotch isn't exactly a delight (especially if you're not even female, and from what I hear from the womenfolk, they don't exactly consider it a good time). Hmmm . . . which to choose?
Have the turd sandwich shoved down my throat, or have the giant douchebag shoved up my crotch? Turd sandwich, giant douchebag . . . turd sandwich, giant douchebag . . . turd sandwich, giant douche bag . . . man, that's a tough one. Decisions, decisions . . . .
In "South Park," one of the kids is so disgusted by the choices and the whole sordid spectacle of the campaigns that he decides to just not vote at all. His parents and everyone around him are shocked by his refusal to participate. The silly little guy just doesn't seem to understand that voting is the 'ideal' for which so many young soldiers died in our country's perpetual cycle of foreign wars that started some time back in the late Nineteenth Century: the right to stand in line to wait for God-knows-how-long to cast a piece of paper on which you have marked your choice of master into a wooden box. As a result of his "ignorance," he is literally spat upon, tied up, placed on a donkey and made to leave town, banished forever.
I would like to suggest to all the undecided voters out there (whom I call "The Honest Ones") who are so thoroughly disgusted by the choice between Turd Sandwich and Giant Douchebag to cast their vote in the only meaningful way that would truly "count" . . . by either voting for a "minor party" candidate, or even better yet, by simply not voting at all.
Think about it: what would the Powers That Be do with themselves if half or more of the total ballots cast were marked for various minor party candidates, with no clear winner? Or better yet, what if every single eligible voter in the country simply did not show up at the polls? Or if at the most only a very small handful'say just a few thousand or so in the entire country'showed up? Just imagine all those befuddled senior citizens standing around at the polling places, munching on cookies to pass the time, listening to the crickets chirp.
What would the government do without knowing what is the "will of the people"? I suggest that it's more than likely that they would use various methods to either force, coerce or trick you into going to the polls, impose stiff penalties for those who refused to vote, ban all minor parties and thus reveal once and for all that the insipid idea that 'democracy' is what keeps us 'free' is a bald-faced lie. (The folks at Diebold are already way ahead of the curve on this one . . . what a way to take the initiative, guys!!!) It would finally reveal the exact opposite to be true: that to vote for any candidate is to give your consent to a system of legalized plunder and murder. If you don't vote, the thugs of the State most certainly will go on murdering and plundering anyway (as far too many people have been effectively conditioned into thinking that the United States government is staffed only by the 'good guys,' while anyone who dissents from them is automatically considered a 'bad guy' or a 'traitor'). But you can at least refuse to validate State thuggery by withholding your vote. Refusing to vote won't be a catalyst for any dramatic 'social change,' but at least you'll be able to live with yourself.
As you read this, you may be asking yourself what I intend to do on Election Day. Well, actually, um . . . I'm going to vote. I know, I know . . . I'm a hypocrite in light of my above statements. My plan, however, is to vote for a minor party candidate for president, and to vote only for those offices in which to my mind a sufficiently libertarian-minded minor party candidate is running. Any office lacking such an available candidate will remain unpunched on my ballot . . . which basically means that there will be about two holes punched in the whole thing.
And that, my friends, will be my last and final trip to the polls for the rest of my life. I'm giving one last great big middle finger to the system for my "last hurrah" as a voter by registering what is in effect a protest--purely for my own self-satisfaction--and then I'm done for good. No more voting for me . . . and I didn't even need a twelve-step program! (Though I am seriously considering the idea of starting a "Voters Anonymous" support group.)
So I urge you to remember this on Election Day: a vote is a wonderful thing to waste.