Thus far, this site has made an effort to entirely ignore the interminable popularity contest that is the 2008 Presidential Election. Part of this is out of deference to our thousands (millions?) of international readers who have little interest in democracy. Part of this is because we lack the cognitive capacity to fully comprehend what we see on TV. But mostly, it’s because the ratio of election-related websites to voters is already about 4:1.
That being said, I feel compelled to take a few minutes to rant about a contemptible individual who has been made the sovereign ruler of the American political machine, The Undecided Voter. You will recognize him (yes, her as well) as the faceless audience toward which every debate, ad, poll, and focus group is directed.
The Undecided Voter spends most of his life toiling in obscurity. Then, on September of an election year, he is dragged out of his nondescript little hole and set upon a pedestal to be pandered to and courted by teeming masses of pundits, strategists, supporters, and – of course – the candidates themselves. The future leaders of our nation fall over each other as they find new ways to appease and entice this guy, while spending millions of dollars to ensure our fickle friend gets out and votes and votes the way he should.
As it were, I am of the opposite opinion. In fact, I would go so far as to propose that these people be stripped of their voting rights and instructed to stay home on November 4th. Here’s why. John McCain announced his candidacy on March 25, 2007. Barack Obama announced his on February 10, 2007. Since then we have been inundated from every imaginable source with facts, opinions, articles, photos, books, and interviews featuring these two candidates. In fact, I find it difficult to remember what my life was like before this whole thing started.
What’s more, it is also difficult to remember two candidates being as diametrically opposed as these two. Apart from the obvious differences of age, race, experience, and attractiveness of wife/running mate, almost every plank of their respective platforms is irreconcilable with their opponent’s. In appearance and ideology they are polar opposites. Similarly, it is hard to imagine the existence of any relevant information pertaining to John or Barack that is not already known. Terrorist and racist friends? Check. Potentially a Muslim? Check. Connections to slum Lords? Check. Cozy with lobbyists? Check. Hot but unqualified running mate? Check.
This is why I refuse to believe that there are functional people of voting age still walking around scratching their heads saying, “Gee I just don’t know who I like better.” HOW COULD THEY NOT KNOW??!! You could fill a Vietnamese prison with the things we know about these candidates, yet none of it has swayed these voters? And if they have not been swayed by now, what could possibly transpire in the next three weeks that will make things more clear? They’re like the person at Coldstone who samples every flavor and still cannot decide what they want. None of the flavors are perfect. I know you wish they had some crazy, sprinkle-infused concoction that you dreamed about once, but they don’t. They have only the ones you see here. You know all you need to know about them. NOW JUST MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!
Those who are unable to do so are at best attention-starved exhibitionists and at worst slack-jawed simpletons who have no place in the political process. Surely they should not be pandered to! To be a rational adult requires the ability to process information and formulate a decision from the available options (imperfect though they may be). John Q Undecided Voter is incapable of this. So please, Barack, John, Wolf, Anderson, and all the rest of you, stop dragging this civic nuisance into Town Hall meetings and strapping him to machines that tell us how he feels. In the end, he’s just going to flip a coin; so give him a quarter and stop wasting everyone’s time.