The Sanjaya principle: Why Ron Paul can be our next president
By Jonathan David Morris
The 2008 presidential election is now less than 19 months away. As far as I'm concerned, that means now is the time to start planning how to destroy it.
Before now, I never would have written an article of this nature. Before now, I never would have imagined what I'm about to say could potentially have an impact. There is a reason third-option candidates never stand a chance in presidential elections, and that is because Americans not only like to vote for someone they roughly believe in -- they like to vote for someone they think can actually win.
But something different is happening at the moment. And that something different makes me believe something different can happen in next year's election.
The something different in question is a lanky, long-haired Indian kid named Sanjaya Malakar, who, despite his lack of charisma and talent, is somehow taking this year's American Idol by storm. More than just a passing fad, I believe Sanjaya's unlikely success means something. A hundred years from now, I predict historians will credit him as the reason a little known Republican congressman from Texas became our next U.S. president.
For those not familiar with Sanjaya's body of work, let me sum it up like this: Each week, American Idol trots out its contestants. And each week, every contestant sings better than the shaky 17-year-old Malakar. Somehow, phone-in voters keep voting to keep him on the show. Some people believe this is because he is popular with 12-year-old girls. But as we all know, 12-year-old girls have no souls.
The real reason Sanjaya has stuck around is because he has captured the adoration of a site called votefortheworst.com, which, itself, has captured the adoration of Howard Stern and millions of other people who wish to mess with American Idol. These people aren't voting for Sanjaya because they like him. They're voting for him because it's ironic -- because it turns the whole idea of a glitzy, commercialized singing competition on its head.
There is nothing glitzier or more commercialized in American culture than our presidential elections. For years, people like me have wanted to change this -- not because we care, but because it would give us great pleasure to ruin the fun for anyone who truly believes in them. I don't think Sanjaya Malakar will win American Idol, but his unlikely run gives me hope for what the American people can accomplish in 2008.
Millions of people will still vote for the interchangeable Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama next year, and millions of people will still vote for John McCain or whichever candidate the Republicans decide to trot out. But there is another Republican, a little known Texas congressman named Dr. Ron Paul, who represents the perfect chance for tired, bored, or fed-up Americans to turn this election completely on its head.
I don't want to discuss whether Ron Paul is what's "best" for America. I do believe it, but I'm not going to say it, since that's the kind of thing a Hillary Clinton supporter would say. Instead, I want to focus on this idea of voting "for the worst." There isn't a doubt in my mind that Ron Paul would be the establishment's worst nightmare.
First of all, there's the fact that you've never heard of him. This is a good thing. Unlike Obama or John Edwards, Ron Paul isn't a prepackaged candidate.
Secondly, not being prepackaged means his congressional record actually means something. You can literally tell what Ron Paul believes in just by looking at how he's voted.
Finally, his congressional record is impressive. Unlike most congressmen, Ron Paul goes to the trouble of reading legislation before voting for it. For this reason, he knows better than to vote for most of it. A true conservative, he typically votes to conserve our nation's money and resources. He has never voted himself a pay raise. And he is the only congressman who checks every one of his votes against the United States Constitution.
Again, I'm not going to sit here and tell you Ron Paul is what's "best" for America. As much as I believe it, I want this election to be about something more.
I'm tired of hearing what's "best" for America. Most of the candidates who say they're what's "best" are, in fact, the same people who keep screwing things up. I want 2008 to be the year Americans realize a third-option candidate can win the White House. I want it to be the year everyone who goes on and on with all their complaints finally puts up and shuts up when it comes to Election Day.
No more saying, "Politics are corrupt, but there's nothing we can do about it." With that attitude, you're right: There's nothing we can do. But if a lanky, long-haired Indian kid who can't sing can nonetheless succeed on "American Idol," then it only goes to show that attitude is everything -- especially when the people have the power to vote.
Between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, our next president will be coming in after 16 very bizarre years in America. I'm urging everyone I know to vote for Ron Paul. And I'm urging everyone I know to urge everyone they know to do the same. I wouldn't get behind a third-option candidate if I thought he couldn't win. But I think Ron Paul can win if we get behind him.
Why not make 2008 the year to finally voice our dissatisfaction? To finally prop up a candidate who respects the U.S. Constitution?
Forward this article if you agree with me that now is a good time for these things to happen.
Ron Paul would be the status quo's worst nightmare. But if we all got behind him, it would be an American dream.
Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.