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08/04/2004 Archived Entry: "Last night's attempt at satire"
The following attempt at satire came out of being bored for a few hours last night. Cheers, mac.
On November 2nd, I will be glued to my television screen, watching the most lavish Reality Program ever staged: the 2004 Presidential election. The show has everything Survivor offered - behind-the-scene deals, cut-throat ambition, treachery, drama queens, attempts to rig the rules, and a surprise ending that will break your heart whichever way it goes.
The preshow has not disappointed, with the lines of antagonism between contestant teams being deeply drawn. In one corner is Dick Cheney, whom many view as the de facto President to beat. Cheney faces possible criminal indictment for alleged illegal activities while he was CEO of Halliburton. But don't ask him about Halliburton unless, like Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, you want to be told to "F*ck off!" Meanwhile, in the other corner, Team Kerry frantically searches for open microphones that may have been planted by the opposition. No one forgets Kerry's overly-candid opinion of the Bush team, delivered into an inadvertently live mike: "These Guys Are the Most Crooked, Lying Group I've Ever Seen."
The spice -- Lynne Cheney and Theresa Heinz Kerry - are cheering from the side lines and occasionally stepping onto stage. The Conservative-culture warrior Lynne has been defending her husband's obscenity by saying, "He is such a good man, and more likely to say, 'Put a sock in it'." Meanwhile, the Mozambique born Ketchup-heiress Theresa has stirred the pot with her response to a New York Times reporter who queried her use of the word "Unamerican." Just minutes after her public plea for "a more civil tone to American politics," Theresa told the newsman to "Shove it!"
The air of chaos is understandable -- preshow rules are still being hammered out, on both the small and the large scale. In the attention-to-detail category, for example, I have it on good authority from one who attended the Democratic National Convention that the DNC imposed the rule "if you have a gathering of three or more people? every fourth person has to be Ben Affleck." But the loudest applause in the "Biblical-proportions" category has to go to Team Bush for seriously suggesting the election should be postponed in the event of terrorist activity aimed at, well, disrupting the election.
So far Team Kerry has not responded in Cheneyesque fashion with, "F*ck off, an election delayed is an election denied." Instead, everyone is focusing on possible voting fraud. Appeals for assistance to the United Nations seem to have faded, however, when Kofi Annan declined the request by thirteen Democratic congressmen to send UN monitors into every county in America during the voting process and any subsequent recount.
In a post-hanging chad world, 50% of Americans believe Al Gore is the duly elected President of the United States; the others think Bush won fair and square by a vote of 5 to 4 (in the Supreme Court). In this election, everyone's eyeing the next guy. In Michigan, for example, Team Bush is recruiting up to 1,000 people as poll watchers to make sure voters in Democratic precincts are actually registered to vote there. Democrats are recruiting volunteers to watch the watchers. And Kerry reportedly has lawyers in every state organized to pounce at the first sign of Florida-creep.
The whole world is watching. In a discussion of the war in the Sudan, for example, the Economist (May 15th) reported, "Since President George Bush is widely seen as the architect of peace, he is perhaps more popular in southern Sudan than anywhere else on earth. At the Rumbek sub-chief's election one young warrior called Tuapon leaps frenetically in the air, proudly waving a white Barbie-doll in a pink dress. 'This is a new wife for President Bush. May God grant him many fertile women with firm bodies and a election victory without problems in Florida'."
This election's flash point is shaping up to be e-voting, which
Salon Magazine and others call "an invitation to voter fraud." Why? "Not only is the country's leading touch-screen voting system so badly designed that votes can be easily changed, but its manufacturer is run by a die-hard GOP donor who vowed to deliver his state for Bush next year."
Perhaps the best commentary on the tempest in a toilet that is e-voting comes from a Diebold parody ad site, which I offer here with the same legal disclaimer as its creator: "These images are no way no how affiliated with Diebold Inc., and?are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Diebold's executives, shareholders or worker bees, no, not even in their dark malignant hearts, and did I mention that I hold the legal profession in the highest regard?"
Yep, this year's show is going to be boffo. My husband and I intend to make popcorn, stack up the chicken wings, uncork some wine and revel in a sentiment that can be fleeting - namely, "It's good to be Canadian, eh?"
MEANWHILE...I wish this email from our unofficial co-blogger Gordon P. on the upcoming election was satire...but it's not. Gordon writes, "Once again, Jeb Bush's office has issued a list of alleged 'felons' who will be 'purged' from Florida's voter registration --- and once again, the list overwhelmingly overrepresents Blacks (who tend to vote 'Democrat') and underepresents Hispanics (who tend to vote 'Republican') relative to the rates of felonies committed by each ethnic group in the state of Florida. Furthermore, once again the majority of Blacks on the list of names to be 'purged' from the rolls do =NOT= in fact appear to be felons. (In the 2000 election, fully _95%_ of the names listed to be purged were not felons!) For news items click here and here. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush refuses to allow an independent investigation of the Diebold voting machines to be used in the upcoming election, saying that he has 'every confidence' in his handpicked team of Election Officials..."