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News Link • Voting and Elections

To vote or to waste vote?

In  a 2004 episode of Comedy Central's animated series South Park, an election was held to determine whether the new mascot for the town's elementary school would be a "giant douche" or a "turd sandwich."  Confronted with these two equally unpalatable choices, one child, Stan Marsh, refused to vote at all, which resulted in his ostracization and subsequent banishment from the town.

Although this satirical vulgarity was intended as a commentary on the two candidates running for president of the United States during that time-John Kerry and George W. Bush-as I looked back at the myriad of political candidates throughout American history, it became clear that, regardless of the political office being sought, American voters have indeed often been required to choose between a "douche" and a "turd." 

So I began to ask myself why only the most despicable and unsavory people seem to obtain political office, particularly in a nation where the blessings of freedom of speech and press should produce an educated and informed electorate.

One obvious explanation is the inanity and inefficiency of the two-party system.  This system, by its very nature, creates a constant cycle where one party holds power, and the other party desires it.  The result is perpetual political gridlock as the party seeking power incessantly labors to make the party holding power appear weak and ineffective.

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