I was shocked at myself when I came to the conclusion last night that the best course of action in this year's presidential election is a vote for Bush. I've been tossing around different scenarios surrounding this election and what part a responsible, progressive citizen can play in it. Voting (at least at the presidential level) has always seemed like more of a symbolic action than anything else. In a way, it's a bit like a token of civil activity the same way that church on Easter Sunday and Christmas is a token for many half-hearted Christians. Voting seems a lot like an excuse for people who have no interest in government, politics, and world affairs and who exercise no other act of adding real value to their communities to get out and feel good about their role as contributors to society. There are of course many people who vote who don't fit that classification, but I always get the impression around election time that people like to wear their "I voted" stickers and parade around basking in their participatory democracy because they just want to be part of the spectacle.

This year, the choice seems clear to me, and that's strange because the choice has always been so muddled to me before. The funny thing is, the idea of voting for Bush came to me in, of all ways, a thought about reality television. Chud.com asked the question "What's good about reality television?" or something to that extent and the first thing that came to mind for me was that reality television is necessary in order to lower the standard of entertainment so much that people realize the shambles their culture is in. We need programming as bad as most reality tv is so that the already-intellectually impoverished medium of television can hit bottom, and I do think there's a bottom. Ultimately, it's a slow steady and seemingly endless decline into the rank depths of reality tv that is going to turn people around and get them up off the sofa or at least get them to ask for something else to watch. Like a junkie bottoming out, television is going to get so bad, so unwatchable, and so redundant that it won't interest people anymore and they will be forced to flee to media where entertainment has something more to offer. It took a decade of excess and a glut of giant, boring corporate music and movies to grow a viable underground film and music industry, and the same thing will happen with tv.

In fact, the same thing happens just about everywhere... even in nature, eventually the dead, decayed material becomes useful again and gives life to something new. With Bush, he's done a fair job of proving that he's a bad public speaker, that he relies too heavily on counsel, and that he's no better than any other politician when it comes to making and breaking promises. But, he hasn't been given enough time to really cause a mess that will force people to see what it looks like at rock bottom. He hasn't angered ENOUGH people yet, so he needs more time. There's that old saying about giving someone enough rope-- well I think Bush needs a few more years worth of rope to show that not only he but what he represents is not not who and what we want running the country.

So in 2004, the answer is, VOTE BUSH. Actually, the answer is VOTE NADER since a vote for Nader will help elect Bush but will show that you have some sort of conscience. Maybe Bush can mire the presidency in a new low and people can finally start to see that something needs to change.