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In response to intense public pressure for election reform, this year, the US government has finally enacted its sweeping "Election Fairness Initiative" bill, in order to combat the overwhelming corruption that has always allowed candidates to win based on corporate financing, deliberate media bias, and other glaringly obvious conflicts of interest.
The bill's major sponsors, US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) , and Bill Gates (R-MIC), kindly explained their reasoning to HSP. "We've been busting our asses over campaign finance reform for years now, but the corporations that own all the major media just peed in our shoes every time", says Feingold. "And Wal Mart also killed my cat," added the much beleaguered senator.
"You see, since we knew the corporations and major media they own would never change, we decided to just take the media out of the loop by changing the electoral process itself." McCain continued. "We thought the first thing to do would be to simply take the candidates names off the ballot."
Feingold kindly elaborated. "Under our system, each candidate is given a "code name", and then described by a detailed but human readable summary of their positions on various issues. In an attempt to give as little reference to the candidates as possible, code names this year were randomly assigned from an archive of rock bands, which this year included the likes of American rock gods, "Aerosmith", alternative rock mainstays, "Nine Inch Nails", and Montreal's own, "Godspeed You Black Emperor!"."
"We wanted to make sure that voters had the opportunity to vote largely based on the issues that will directly affect their lives," said McCain. "This was, of course, impossible under the previous system where the media encouraged a pick-the-winner/horse race mentality, a climate where people voted based on name recognition and the hyped up notion of electability, and the issues were made to seem irrelevant. With our new system, voters did have a little trouble getting used to things, for example, not having a fucking clue who anyone's name was, but in the end, people seemed to do OK, especially because we got rid of that whole stupid primary election process where Americans were given the fallacious illusion of choice between alternatives."
"Alternatives my ass." Agreed Feingold. "It's like being given a choice between a right handed pencil and a left handed pencil. But now, since all the candidates from any party all got on the presidential ballot, we finally had a chance for reasonably fair, democratic elections. I mean come on, aside from freakishly liberal, naively idealistic Peacenik groups like Unions, Amnesty International, and the Harvard Students Against the Militarization of Space, who would have predicted that Dennis Kochanek would ever win? Seriously?"
In order to test the McCain-Feingold claim, we decided to get a little input from the public at how they thought the new election process worked. Boston area waitress Claire Burton had this to say. "I thought for sure I was voting for Kerry. I mean CNN always said all these great things about him. I don't remember exactly what they said, but I do remember it was good. When I saw that "Godspeed You Black Emperor!" had all these things that I agreed with, I figured for damned sure it was Kerry. Guess I was wrong. I had never even heard of that David Kucinich guy."
Houston resident Max Tucker, a successful investment banker and lifetime Republican wasn't so agreeable. "Who does this Dennis Knudsen guy think he is anyway? Associating himself with popular policies like universal health care, fair trade, and world peace. What an asshole. He really pulled one over on us voters this time."
"You want to know about what I think about our new President?" said Minneapolis personal trainer Mindy Minkowski. "Well, on election day, after they announced the winner, I found out that like myself, Mr. Kucinich wanted to pull our troops out of Iraq and end our destructive and costly foreign policy based on unjust preemptive war. This surprised me a great deal because all CNN and ABC had said was that he'd dropped out in January and that he eats babies. It turns out that Kucinich hadn't dropped out of the race, it was the media that had dropped out of Kucinich. Also he's a vegetarian."
"I actually voted for Nine Inch Nails just because I really like the band," added Maui surf champion Marcus Choi. "Of course I figured whoever it was would like never get elected because their foreign policy platform included "bomb the living shit out of everything". I'm not even sure who that one was, but it's all good now. I guess I like President Kooch. I pretty much agree with him on everything except the gay marriage stuff. Oh wait, no I forgot. I actually do agree with him on that. So yeah, that's everything. President Kooch, man, what a dude. You want a hit of this newly decriminalized weed, man?"
President Kucinich himself, soon to be a very busy man, nevertheless had a few comments for us. "Frankly I'm as surprised as anybody. I never thought we'd get past the status quo where the corporate media pre-selects candidates. But I guess now that I'm President, I'll first pull our troops out of Iraq and get the UN in. Then I'll get to work on universal health care, which should be no problem considering that fucking Thailand already has it. And let's see," continued the President. "There's that cabinet level Department of Peace I promised, the repeal of NAFTA, the WTO, and the Patriot Act. And oh, yeah, decriminalization of drugs, fighting for workers rights and human rights, protecting the environment, investing in alternative energy sources, and the dismantling of all the world's nuclear weapons. Anyway, I'm on that shit."
"I guess, after that, I'll kick back a bit, listen to some polka, and maybe smoke a reefer. I still can't believe all this. Jesus, after all this time, finally I'll be able to give Shirley McClane back her $30,000."
Feingold again helped to sum things up. "I know the media always called him things like "Dennis the Menace", explained how he was too short and too divorced to be president, but in the end, based on what he stands for, America chose Dennis Costanza, and frankly, in regard to the fundamental democratic electoral principles that we've always supposed to have had, I'm finally proud to be an American." HSP
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