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Column: The Eternal Election Comes To An Undignified End

This story was written by Sean Kittridge, Badger Herald


When I go to my local polling station to vote today, Im bringing a football with me. When I emerge from behind that curtain, my sense of democracy fulfilled, I am going to spike that football. Hard. I will not spike it because Im excited at the prospect of a new president, but because I want that little piece of sewn-together synthetic pigskin to feel the pain Ive dealt with for the last year. For too long Ive been tortured with attack ads, debates, staged public appearances and substance-free stump speeches. This was not a race, but a poorly scripted, primetime TV show. And judging by how the public made out after this endurance test of negativism and rhetoric, Id call that show Lost.

Remember Rudy Giuliani? Or how about John Edwards? The marathon for the presidency has runso long its hard to remember the starting players. There was a time when nobody thought Barack Obama could beat Hilary Clinton, and even fewer people thought John McCain was actually alive. Its easy to see why presidents appear to age physically at an incredible rate; I swear, this campaign lasted decades. Arguing that Obama lacks experience is foolish when hes pretended to be president for the last three months. Hes not a politician. Hes an actor. Or as a puckish McCain ad Ive seen a mere 100 times would say, hes a celebrity.

But it was unfair of McCain to label Obama like that. Ultimately, theyve both become celebrities. Theyve both toured the talk show circuit, basking in constant media spotlight. Obama bought a half hour of airtime to remind America how horrible the middle class has it, and McCain sent his VP to the Rockefeller Center to smile at jokes. Do McCain and Obama think the American public spends all its time watching TV? Apparently, as evidenced last night, they think we do.

Monday night, with their final moments of airtime before the levers start falling Tuesday, both candidates were on TV in an exclusive interview with, you guessed it, ESPNs Chris Berman. John Still Raising McCain and Barack The Boat, Baby Obama sat down with a man whose political credibility is only matched by his ability to narrate a Home Run Derby. This is demeaning to the job of commander in chief, and Congress should get together to pass a law banning any person with presidential aspirations from appearing on a show with a Hank Williams Jr. theme song. Im relatively confident his intro to Monday Night Football is pumped into cells at Guantanamo Bay.

At this point, it isnt even important who wins. It just needs to be a landslide. I want a good, clean election with a projected winner by 9 p.m., and Im looking at you, Fox News. I dont want stories of disenfranchised voters; I dont want talk about lawsuits or recounts. If this election takes any more time, it will qualify for Medicare benefits, assuming theyd exist under the new presidents health plan. If this job requires decisive action and 3 a.m. phone calls, theres no need to wait this long to vote. Cardinals manage to elect a new pope within weeks, and their choice needs to be unanimous. All-Star balloting takes a month or two, but it determines home field advantage in the World Series, and something thats a little more important than the head of the executive branch. The American public might watch too much Dancing With The Stars, but its not totally devoid of brain cells, and Im pretty sure weve been ready to check the right box for a while now.

It just feels like that third Lord of The Rings movie: As soon as the screen fades and you think youve finally hit the end, theres another scene full of small people with hairy feet. I want to see the credits roll on this election. In fact, Id like to see them fast-forwarded, like they do with movies on TV. No Jackie Chan-style outtakes, no extra scene with Ben Stiller in a fat suit, just a bunch of thank yous followd by blackness. This election needs a black ending, so make it happen. And dont make it close.

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