With Election Day less than a week away, one of the closest races in political history will come to a close and the nation's new president will be revealed.
But how do we come to choose the best candidate? While many claim to base their decisions on their extensive research of the issues at stake and the candidates' stances on each, the more realistic answer might be what has been said about elections since the beginning of time.
It's all a popularity contest. To determine who will lead our country to greatness in the next four years, we must ask ourselves, "Which candidate is the coolest?"
We've all heard the stories: George W. Bush did a little nose candy back in the day and partied like a rock star, while Al Gore invented the Internet, spawning an entire cyber-civilization that serves as a safe haven for millions of pedophiles and Star Trek junkies.
Gore is an Aries, one of those ambitious and forceful, yet naive idealists born under the sign of the ram. On the other hand, Bush is a Cancer. Those born under the crab have luck with money and a good sense of humor, are home-oriented and patriotic, but also brash.
But strip away all the hype and what we're left with is two real human beings, both of which can rock a political convention. So who's the coolest? In order to determine who is the most popular, you have to turn to the populace.
"I think Al Gore is the coolest. He seems more in touch with the people," said Brendan Haywood, star center for the UNC basketball team. "Bush, he's basically just living off his father's hype."
Ben Dunlap, manager of Go! Studios, said, "I think it's my duty to say Gore. He's pretty cool, and he's the only one who's acceptable."
Dunlap added that neither candidate was perfect, however. "Gore could certainly stand to be a little cooler," he said.
Many echo Dunlap's sentiment, seeing both candidates as insufficiently cool.
Journalism Professor Chuck Stone had much to say on the extreme lack of coolness of both major-party candidates.
"Neither candidate is cool," Stone said. "The most appropriate adjective would be `dull.' As Samuel Foote said in Boswell's `Life of Johnson,' `He is not only dull himself, but the cause of dullness in others.'
"As for cool, the last cool president we had was John F. Kennedy. Now, there was a cool dude. I knew Jack Kennedy, and Al Gore is no Jack Kennedy. As for George Bush, bless his brilliantly mediocre self, he still lies `mewling and puking' in the arms of his political nurse, Cheney," Stone said.
Tee Pruitt, president of the Carolina Athletic Association, echoed Stone's sentiments. "Kennedy was the coolest," said Pruitt. "He was a ladies' man, you know?"
As for Haywood, he thought our current president has been by far the coolest. "(Bill Clinton) made a lot of mistakes, and he dealt with them. It showed that he was human."
Dunlap, when asked who he thought was the coolest president, dug a bit deeper into our history, citing one of our founding fathers as the nation's cat's meow.
"The coolest president our nation has ever had was Thomas Jefferson, overall. But I'm not sure if we can really qualify him as cool, what with the wig and all."
It is important to remember, however, that voters have choices other than Bush and Gore come Election Day. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan are also trying to convince America that they can be down. Both get instant cool points for having a little bit of indie credibility.
Nader's press secretary was unavailable for comment, possibly owing to the fact that North Carolina is among only three states that decided Nader doesn't deserve even a write-in spot on the ballot. Now that's uncool.
But Brian Doherty, press secretary for underdog Pat Buchanan, had a few things he believed voters should keep in mind.
"I can guarantee you that if Pat Buchanan were elected president, he wouldn't be on the cover of Esquire magazine with his legs akimbo, nor would he be on the cover of Rolling Stone with protruding cargo pants," he said.
The Reform Party's Fonzie is also a regular stud, working out three times a week, he said.
What's most cool about Buchanan? "He has a 14-year-old cat named Gipper," Doherty added.
So keep all this in mind when you head out to the polls on Tuesday.
And as for securing the future of our glorious nation, "Gipper in 2004!"
The Arts & Entertainment Editor
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