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ISSUE 118 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/5/2004

Election fever subsides

By Carl Schroeder
Staff Writer


Friday, November 5, 2004

Do you remember the good old days before the election, when our small college town could count on a near-constant buzz of political excitement?

MTVs "Rock the Vote" taking over half the Buntrock Commons parking lot on a Monday afternoon, for instance. Or the Heinz/Kerry sons and a bandwagon of B-list entertainers dropping by Carleton.

Perhaps you noticed third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader inadvertently hanging out in Boe Chapel last week.

Rumor has it that Leonardo DiCaprio, the self-proclaimed "King of the World," also made a jaunt through campus at some point, advocating environmental issues while sporting a stylish John Kerry T-shirt.

Yes, for a brief stretch during mid-autumn 2004, it was getting hard to turn over a rock in Northfield without finding Ashton Kutcher, Max Weinberg or some other random celebrity spouting political wisdom.

For awhile, half the fun came in predicting what might come next: Would it be Carrot Top, Raffi and Gerald Fords granddaughter in Viking Theater promoting George W. Bushs energy policy? Or maybe Orlando Bloom and Wayne Gretzky would be stopping by the Pause to tout the 2004 Libertarian platform?

Alas, with the election over, such parlor games have become passé. St. Olaf, along with the entire upper Midwestern United States, can no longer count on being inundated with visitors from Washington, D.C., and Hollywood, leaving a substantial void in the local political-entertainment scene.

Feeling blue? Perhaps youre suffering from what psychologists call DiCaprio Dependency Disorder (DDD), a catchall designation for the many types of emotional turmoil that can follow close encounters with teenybopper-hero movie stars.

If you think you might have DDD, then why not relive your junior high school glory days and treat yourself to a one-dollar Pause rental of one of Leos many fine films, including "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet," "Titanic" or "The Beach."

If you like, toss in Ashton Kutchers recent alternate-dimension romantic horror thriller "The Butterfly Effect" for good measure.

With any luck, seeing DiCaprio and Kutcher confined to the more familiar setting of your television set will help ease you back into your normal routine.

After this treatment, though, if youre still in a gloomy mood, its entirely possible that youve come down with something far more serious: Post-Election Swing State Withdrawal. If so, youre not alone. This affliction is common to politically active citizens of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Iowa and Minnesota.

Its symptoms include a craving for haphazardly organized, poorly publicized presidential campaign events, an irrational fear of not being asked to participate in an opinion poll for the next 36 to 42 months and a deflated sense of self-importance due to the no-longer indeterminate status of your states electoral votes.

Fortunately, there is a simple antidote to Swing State Withdrawal: continued political involvement.

Thats right, folks; even though the election is over, its still possible for you to stay connected with issues that are important, matter to you and make a difference in the world.

One way to do so is by attending a meeting of one of St. Olafs many campus political groups, including the College Republicans, College Democrats, Democracy Matters, Peace & Justice and Counterpoint.

Contrary to popular belief, these groups are continuing to operate despite the fact that Nov. 2 has come and gone.

Another way to stay politically involved is to apply for an open spot on the Nader 2008 Exploratory Committee.

So, whos excited about the next four years?


Staff writer Carl Schroeder is a senior from Minneapolis, Minn. He majors in music composition.


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