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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

COLUMN: What’s Next?

Four more years of Bush, mmmm yummy. All right, so we picked a president, it was close, but the dirty deed is done. So now what? The media has used this lovely event to absorb our attention for the past year or so, and now it’s over. I mean, even for me; it’s given me topics for my past three out of four columns (the other was about the Red Sox). So I think I’ll squeeze one more out of it, because it only happens once every four years and now that it’s over I’d like to reflect a little. Let me start with a few things that I’ve learned.

I learned that our voting system has the complexity of jump rope. Allow me to take you through my voting experience. My grandmother and I went to our local voting station and got in line. Once I got up to the lovely senior citizen sitting at the book and she very nicely asked me my name and address. I gave it to her and she gave me a ballot. Now let’s stop here. No ID, no nothing, just a name.

Come on, this is crazy! I could say I’m anyone. If all you need is a name and an address, then I can vote for anyone in the damn phonebook. I mean, pick a name, walk in and vote. It’s that simple. Let’s venture further: I step into the booth with my ballot, and what do I use to make my decision? A pull lever to punch the hole? Nope. A special marker that can’t be duplicated? Not really. What was left for me in the booth to make my very important decision? Isn’t it obvious? None other then the choice of true democracy, the Papermate pen.

Beautiful, isn’t it? I used a Papermate pen to vote; however I’m sure that it was one of those special anti-tampering Papermates that ensures quality in voting. I mean what’s next, Crayola? Or maybe we should just bring our own. I want to use orange highlighter but I don’t know why. Anyway the moral of the story is that the way we vote is a joke, period. End of story. What else did I learn? I learned a little more about those zany exit poles. According to one poll I read, it had Kerry with 318 electoral votes. Um, yeah, about that. Seems like it was just a little off. Seeing as we get four more years of Bush, I would say the entire exit poll process might be a little flawed. But just a little bit.

I also learned that because Puff Daddy wanted kids to “Vote or Die” it still couldn’t get the 18-25 year olds to the polls. Hell, it couldn’t even get Paris Hilton to the polls and she was part of the campaign. I have my theories about why. I vote and I could have cared less about Diddy and Paris. Paris Hilton alone was reason to make me stray from the polling place, but despite the multi-million dollar porn star I managed to get there.

We also had record turnouts, meaning that this was one of the more important elections America has ever seen. So, in closing I just want to sum up what I learned during the 2004 presidential election: Anyone who has a name, an address, a Papermate, and doesn’t listen to Puff, or answers an exit poll…. that person elects the president. We can send a man to the moon, connect millions of people via the Internet, and create nuclear bombs…but a uniform voting system? Let’s not get carried away.

Jay Upton is a Mass Media columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].