Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sad, But Not Sad Enough

If I were to insinuate that women can get what they want by crying, people would consider me a shallow, sexist piece of bacteria who is just trying to be controversial to help sell newspapers.

And yet, here we have Hillary Clinton, who got misty eyed in public right before the New Hampshire primary. The media went nuts, and she somehow came from behind in the polls to eek out a win over Barack Obama.

But Mitt Romney has been noticeably teary-eyed for weeks now. He chokes up during stump speeches, interviews, even Toyotathon commercials. The newspapers have barely paid any attention, and he still trails in the polls behind McCain, Huckabee, Guiliani, and Chewbacca the Wookie.

What kind of lesson is this for our young people? Clearly, if a man cries, it's no big deal.

The average man bawls regularly. It's usually a function of some hormonal imbalance connected with the cycle of his favorite team's inexplicably awful draft choice.

But if a woman sheds her chilled composure for just a few seconds, it's some big deal. Suddenly, her tough, stoic persona develops depth and compassion, proving she can show just enough vulnerability to seem human.

These tiresome gender stereotypes are irritating, but what bothers me more is the fact that this is what passes for drama in our political landscape.

No wonder people aren't interested.

We need to start paying attention to third party candidates. We know how entertaining they are because we've watched them try to articulate their views in 45-second yelling matches often featured on cable “news” shows.

You don't have to limit yourself to the “major” parties. Here's a quick guide to the three alternative parties who have managed to prop up some Presidential candidates:

Green Independent Party: Traditionally identified with environmentalism, the Green Party also stands for social justice, fair trade, peace, fair access to health care, and a variety of other Anti-American ideals.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader has been the most viable third option in recent elections, but he is no longer an official candidate, possibly because he has died.

The Greens are now looking to hip-hop artist and freelance journalist Jared Ball, former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKenney, and a team of zombie research scientists desperately attempting to resurrect Nader.

Libertarian Party: Ardent advocates of “small government,” each of the dozen Libertarian candidates for President are less than three feet tall.

The official party platform calls for the capitol building to be torn down and re-built out of a used coffee can. With legislators and bureaucrats reduced to near microscopic size, any of their excessive intrusions on our personal freedom can be conquered with a simple course of antibiotics.

Constitution Party: If you favor a common-sense, literal interpretation of the Constitution that dates from 1823, and if you are a Christian who thinks everyone else should be a Christian, too, then this particular group of nut-jobs may be for you.

The letters in “Constitution Party” can be rearranged to spell “Pointy Trout Antics.”

Check out the official web sites of these alternative parties

Each of these three parties claims to be the third-largest political party in America. The only other thing they have in common is that they insist the two-party system isn't truly democratic because voters don't actually have much of a choice.

But until they start crying about it, nobody will care.

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