Having trouble figuring out which U.S. presidential candidate to root for? The USA Today "candidate match game" is an interesting way to resolve your candidate conundrum. Through a series of 11 questions, the game shows you the top three candidates for the next presidential election that best match your ideas and values. As you answer each question, colored bars change size to show which candidates match your position on key issues ranging from health care to the environment to the war in Iraq. At the end of the 11-question series, you're given the opportunity to weigh each category on how important it is to you compared to the others. This might be the most interesting part: adding substantial weight to certain categories significantly changed some of my top contenders. Unfortunately, none of the top three the game referred me to are even remotely considered true contenders in this tight race. Does this mean I'm vastly different from the average American voter/"caucus-goer"? Or does it mean that taking online polls isn't a great way to find answers to extremely important dilemmas?
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Television might be the worst thing to happen to civilized society. Too many Americans rely on it for their political opinions, and taking political stances based on superficial exposure is a dangerous thing. Take a look at pictures of the presidential candidates, and you'll see there's not an ugly, disfigured freak amongst them (although one of them is awfully elf-like... or leprechaun-like?). Not that it would necessarily be a good thing if an ugly, disfigured freak (like the hunchback in 300) were to lead our country, but it might be a good thing: it could show the world that we aren't nation comprised only of self-absorbed, gas-guzzling, overweight, narcissistic, plastic-surgery-obsessed nation-rebuilders (no offense meant to those of us that are any of the aforementioned.) It would also show that we're more concerned with what candidates do and say rather than how they say it. My point is that people, in this country and others, rely far too much on what they see on TV for their information, political and otherwise. They tend not to read and do investigative research when making important decisions like who they'll vote on to be president, and that's unfortunate. They're likely to take what they see on TV at face value, especially if it's a pretty face saying some pretty things. McInformation is too ubiquitous in our culture and thus too easy to digest. If Abraham Lincoln were to run for president today, he'd need an awful lot of makeup -- kinda like one of the last guys who ran for president.