MAD DOG: Oops!...I Forgot to Vote Again
It's a sad day when 25 percent of our eighteen to twenty-four year olds can't name both presidential candidates. Unfortunately that day has arrived and it's called Election Day. This not-so-startling news came from MTV, the world's foremost source of music videos, dry ice smoke, and Mentos commercials, so you know it's true.
The survey also found that 70 percent of the respondents had no idea who the vice-presidential candidates were, one-third thought they might get around to voting, and the vast majority wanted to know how to write in Daisy Fuentes' name. Or maybe that was how to spell it. Trust me, if the Federal Elections Commission would allow write-in votes as hearts with initials inside she'd be president faster than you can forget the name Dick Cheney.
This could be the result of apathy. Or disillusionment. Or just plain laziness. It must be something since you'd think any election where young people have the chance to walk around announcing that they're all for Bush and Dick and not get sent to their room without dinner would bring them out in droves. But it wasn't the case. Obviously the candidates didn't reach out to young voters, which isn't surprising since they already had a full schedule of sucking up to baby boomers, lying to senior citizens, and holding out their palms so big corporations could pile on lots of money with absolutely no strings attached and no hope of ever receiving any special favors. Right.
If the candidates want the younger vote they need to work for it. They should get performers like Britney Spears and Limp Bizkit to play at their rallies instead of the same old, lame old rockers wheeled out of the Almost Dead Rock Stars Convalescent Home And Half-Hearted Drug Rehab Center. Think about it. After each gaffe Bush could have played "Oops!...I Did It Again." And whenever Gore started bragging about something else he didn't invent but once dreamed he had, he could play Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealing." Honesty in campaigning would do wonders to bring out the youth vote.
So might better education. As it stands, forty percent of under-30 voters say they get their political information from late night TV talk show monologues. It's scary to think that Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno are giving the future leaders of America their civics lessons. Of course, they're already getting grammar lessons from Eminem and Tupac Shakur, the Strunk and White of rap -- My bad! I mean the Edwin Newman of rap -- so it may be too late. On the other hand, if "my bad" can make it into the Random House Webster's New College Dictionary then maybe those playas are pretty fly after all.
Perhaps it would help if we took a tip from the British and had shorter campaign schedules, a limit on the amount of money the candidates can spend, and make schoolboys wear shorts, white shirts, and silly caps to school. The last one wouldn't help the election turnout, I'm just dying to find out if it would cause a generation of American boys to aspire to be Monty Python, Dame Edith Evans, and Eddie Izzard. Of course when that career path doesn't pan out -- and it won't, since there are only so many cross-dressing comedians PBS can support -- they'd turn to more serious ventures, like going to college where they can learn from scholars like Michael Jackson.
It's true, Michael Jackson is lecturing at Oxford University (motto: "The only school named after a shirt") on the subject of child welfare. This is a lot like having Jeffrey Dahmer give a cooking class, or O.J. Simpson talk about how to buy a proper fitting pair of gloves. Actually, O.J. did lecture at Oxford a few years ago, but that was only because he was in the area. It seems there are some damned nice golf courses near the school and you never know where the real killer might be playing.
In America we prefer to get our education another way -- we watch "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" and brag because we didn't need a lifeline to answer the question: "What color is an orange?" It's hard to consider any show educational when it doesn't know enough to put a question mark at the end of its own title. And while you're bound to learn something from it, one thing you'll never learn is how Regis got the job in the first place. Or any job in TV for that matter.
How can the youth of America hope to vote -- or grow up to be president for that matter -- if they don't get a good education? Luckily for the future of our country it's not a prerequisite anymore. In the second presidential debate Gore confused Serbia with Yugoslavia and Bush said he wanted to withdraw troops from Haiti when we no longer have them there. These aren't tough things to remember. If they want something tough why don't they try to explain why Iran has half a time zone.
It's true. The International Herald Tribune (motto: "A little bit of news for a lot of money") printed an article recently about countries changing from daylight savings time. In it they said that when Iran shifted to winter time they would be 3-1/2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. In other words, when it's noon in England it's 3:30 PM in Iran. The half hour isn't the puzzling part. What's so odd is I always assumed Iran was behind the times, not ahead of them.
The answer to getting our youth out to vote is to interest them in the political process. Throw the candidates in a mosh pit and see who body surfs to the stage first. Have a Celebrity Death Match between the candidates. In fact, they could have made it a tag team so we could watch Tipper and Barbara Bush trying to claw each other's eyes out. Better yet, nominate Daisy Fuentes. That would bring the voters out. After all, it's much less intimidating to be able to put a check next to her name than to have to worry about making a heart with her initials inside it.