My solution to the political problemNov 16, 2003 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in BooksThe Bottom Line A perfect solution to the problem of "lookism" in current politics
Last weekend as I sat back and watched "Rock the Vote", I figured I'd see the usual: candidates pandering to naive youngsters in an ugly display of lowest-common-denominator politics.
"Rock the Vote", for those who don't know, is a forum for young people - ranging from adolescents to those in their early '20s - to ask the presidential candidates for their thoughts on the issues that allegedly affect the young most.
And I have to say, I've always found the concept of "Rock the Vote" to be patronizing. I don't feel the need to rock the vote - wouldn't it be just as effective to gently nudge it back into place, or to insert a wooden wedge under its leg so that it stays balanced? Seriously, though, the concept implies that the young are not capable of entering the public arena in any kind of intelligent way, and that their needs and concerns are distinct from those of adults. In some cases this is true, other times it's not.
For example, the barrage of frivolous questions that were asked at this particular session of "Rock the Vote". They angered me, they wore me out, they finally made me think "there's no way these kids are asking these questions in earnest." There was the "Macs vs. PCs" question addressed to all the candidates. There was the hypothetical posed to John Kerry: "You're the manager of the Red Sox...what do you do?"
There was the girl who got up there and raved something along the lines of "if you could pick one of your fellow candidates to party with, which you would choose?" And there was the inevitable "have you ever smoked pot?", a question that, to me, has always seemed to be little more than a set-up for an ad hominem attack (and God knows we don't have enough of those in politics these days).
I could think of a million more interesting questions for the young in the audience to ask:
"What are your plans for minimum wage?" This would be pertinent to the jobs at which young people work, wouldn't it? Maybe not for this audience: they appeared to be a handpicked group of diverse, yet articulate young people who would much rather work at an internship at some office during the summer than in the service industry.
"What do you think should be done about health care? How would this affect our generation?"
"As more and more boomers go on Social Security, what will the economics of the future U.S. look like?"
"Thoughts on the Bretton Woods system and the ramifications of NAFTA?" I suspect Kucinich would be the only one with anything interesting to say on the topic, but who knows?
But perhaps worse than the frivolity of all the questions asked at "Rock the Vote" was the fact that all the candidates just went along with it. They'd laugh, or say "that's a very good question!" No, it's not a good question - but it would kill them to acknowledge that, wouldn't it?
So I've come to the conclusion that "Rock the Vote" is a symptom of the problem with politics at this time. Hopelessly mired in superficialities and appearances, politicians are unable to be open and honest with the public. They resort to self-aggrandization to avoid any substantive debate.
But fear not, I've come up with a solution. If this kind of politics is really what we want, why don't we take it to its logical extreme?
Paris Hilton for President.
This idea may sound outlandish at first, but let's look at the ways in which Paris Hilton (with her sister Nicky as vice-president) would make a perfect leader for our country.
We've all seen that attractiveness is of utmost importance in politics these days. Why is Kerry doing so badly on the campaign trail? It's not because of his refusal to address the issues, it's because he looks as if he's suffering from Marfan syndrome. In contrast, the Hilton sisters are photogenic and glamorous. A famous photograph circulating around the Internet demonstrates Paris's class and good taste, as well as her ability to gracefully get out of a car (this is a must for all those photo opportunities).
What would their policies be? Doesn't matter. We've seen over the last three years that having a cadre of good advisors can get you anywhere.
The alleged cronyism of the Bush administration finds its parallel in the sisters' relation to the Hilton family; this would make for a smooth transition from Bush to Hilton.
The beginning of the Hilton campaign will coincide with the December launching of Paris's new reality show on Fox, "The Simple Life". This will lead to name exposure, and her image will be seen across the country.
As the movies have repeatedly demonstrated, blondes have more fun. Now they can have more power, too. Vote Hilton/Hilton in 2004.
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