You can call it life imitating art, art imitating life, or the side effects of two beef burritos and a half dozen Otter Pops, but the time has come to inject a little pop culture lifeblood into the stagnating veins of our national political lives.
It's a process that has been underway for fifty years now, ever since Kennedy faced down Nixon in that televised "pretty boy" debate back in 1960. It got a big boost with Ronald "Mr. Hollywood" Reagan in the 80's and an extra toot in '92 when Slick Willie showed up on Arsenio. MTV, those bold crusaders for freedom and justice the world over, continues to "Rock the Vote" on a yearly basis, and these days we've got Jesse and the Governator. But I'm afraid it's just not enough. We've edged towards the cliff for years, now it's time to jump off headfirst.
It's time to embrace reality and accept the fact that the inevitable next step in our national evolution is the full integration of popular culture into our political process. We must take a nod from the contemporary Einstein's behind reality television and do our best to produce political candidates that can perform where it really counts: in the pages of Entertainment Weekly.
We'll start with a total rehaul of our political debates. Gone will be the intimate gatherings in archaic town halls, where fifty people sit quietly while two grayhairs bicker about topics nobody cares about. How can we be the wave of the future if we continue traditions founded by people that used to wear powdered wigs? Why should we bind ourselves to Knicker Dogmas? If we want people to really feel involved, we need to pack them into a 100,000 seat football stadium where they can get loud, baby!
Imagine the impact of an aspiring candidate when he makes his point not with a shake of a finger, but through a 200,000 watt PA! And he won't be making it about some delicate point on Social Security--after all, everyone knows that's not even going to be a problem for at least another twenty years--no, he'll be pounding his fist in favor of current issues, like nationalized digital cable! All to a clip of AC/DC's immortal "Thunderstruck"!
"Do yourself a favor, my fellow Americans! Dump the Dish!"
"THUN-DER! NA-NA-NA-NA, NA-NA-NAAA-NA!"
And another thing If we want a real debate, we have to allow full heckling rights to attendees. Golf and Tennis have languished for years as second-rate "gentlemen's" sports for this very reason, but our political forums will be nothing but number one, baby. If Michael Jordan has to tune out 20,000 to hit a free-throw, George W. Bush should have to articulate an answer while the crowd chants "WEE-NER! WEE-NER!"
But here's where our reality boys really come through: we'll cut through all the jibber-jabber and settle this Survivor-style. Each political debate will feature a mandatory Greco-Roman Wrestling Round. No more old men in blue suits and red ties, no more bluehairs in pantsuits, it's full-contact ultimate fighting in red white and blue unitards! Let our candidates show us how passionately they believe in their platforms!
"My opponent wants nationalized health care? Well Big Bob says NO!"
"You can stick your Orwellian dystopia where the sun don't shine!"
But lest we start turning out a House of Representatives that looks like ESPN's Met-RX "World's Strongest Man" line-up, we'll shake things up with a good old-fashioned swimsuit competition. Americans have known for years how important it is to look good when you hit the beach. So how could we in our right minds allow anything less than the hottest guys and gals to represent us on the world stage?
"The UN now recognizes the representative from Finland "
"Ja, veer vit de American woman. She ees hot!"
Do you really think we'll have any trouble shaping world policy if we start sending Brad and Angelina to the world forum? After all, these people have been our first wave for decades already. Foreigners have been watching their films for years, sometimes even before we get to. Who are they going to trust? Kim Jong Il or Kim Basinger? Who would you trust?
Once the debates conclude, TV viewers will call in and vote for their favorite candidates in each party, bypassing the need for those staid party conventions altogether. After all, why do we want to risk a repeat of the '68 riots if we don't really have to? From there, party officials will race to release Director's Cut Special Edition DVD sets of the debates complete with full-length Audio Commentaries and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the candidates in their make-up chairs. Early return polls will be replaced by DVD sales estimates in predicting voter turnout. New events will eliminate political pretenders on a week-by-week basis until we've got ourselves a full lineup of winners in early November.
Naturally, there will be a few hedonistic stick-in-the-mud Neo-Luddites out there that will bemoan the abandonment of hallowed tradition. Well, nuts to them. Everybody knows that today's politicians are puppets anyway. None of them even write their own speeches, and they just hire advisors to tell them what to do about boring issues we don't even care about anyway. So if that's the case anyway, if don't even have a choice in the matter, then why not put someone out there that can look good while they've got Jacque Chirac in a literal political sleeper hold?
Thirteen years ago the United States of America awoke from a deep sleep and got wise to the international game. They finally started letting NBA players compete in the Olympics. From there, we started kicking trash just the way we were born to do, until the foreign players started taking steroids so they could beat us again. Before it's too late, before we're tossed out like a bunch of has-been's that can only look back on the good old days, we need to put together a Dream Team of our own.
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! "Do you believe in miracles? BOO-YAA!"
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