Na na na na na na na na Nickelection

By Sujay Kumar

Are you tired of missing episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants because you’re busy at school memorizing multiplication tables? Is it fair that there’s a prohibition on dodgeball in P.E. just because some people can’t take a Nerf ball to the head? For how much longer must you be persecuted because sometimes, in the middle of the night, you’re too scared to flush the toilet after going potty?

If you’re between the ages of two and eleven and feel passionately about any of these issues, then you better pay attention to the 2008 Nickelodeon Kids Pick the President election. Two million votes cast by kids like YOU have decided the next President of the United States!

Well, not exactly. Not to burst your bubble Nickelodeon, but the Kids Pick the President campaign has no – what’s the word I’m looking for – tangible influence on what happens November 4.

But anyway, you kids have put those after-school chicken nuggets and Pogs down for long enough to have your voice heard by choosing Barack Obama with a whopping 51 percent of the vote! Obama received 1,167,087 votes, out-dueling John McCain’s measly 1,129,945 votes.

Kids Pick the President hopes to get children thinking about politics. Since they’ll be living under the next president’s term for, in some cases, half of the time they’ve been alive, Nickelodeon wants kids to control their own futures.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

In a video news report breaking the news of Obama’s win, the anchorwoman says that on November 4 grown-ups will vote, and grownups will pay attention to the kid vote because Kids Pick the President has been right 4 out of the last 5 elections since the poll began in 1988.

In 2000, an election where the popular vote, the electoral vote, and many news network predictions went to Al Gore, the kids knew what was going down. They backed George W. with 55 percent of the vote.

But in 2004, 57 percent chose John Kerry, and we all know how that ended (for those of you who still get tucked into bed, Kerry lost).

But really, what does all this mean? Are the 37,142 votes that Obama edged John McCain out with just a preview of the polling excitement to come when the big kids come out to play on Election Day?

On the Nickelodeon message board, which is moderated by NICKFrog mind you, kids have passionate discussions (judging from the use of caps and exclamation points) about everything from Joe the Plumber to leaving our troops in Iraq. Political Pundits Pick Boy, Lil’ JJ, and Lily Collins, collectively known as The Election Connection Team, give keen political insights.

The main draw of the election headquarters is a section called “Meet the candidates!” Both potential presidents and vice presidents have full bios and a simple, point by point breakdown of their stances on different issues.

Did you know Joe Biden believes Afghanistan to be of vital importance in the war on terror, or that Sarah Palin supports teaching creationism right next to evolution in schools?

If you did, then big whoop. You’re probably not a kid.

But how much faith, if any, can we have in the Nick-election?

Is it possible for us to know whether a kid is voting for McCain because he stays up way past his bedtime every night reading election blogs and watching C-Span, or if he’s choosing Obama because he looks a lot like his grandpa?

Is there any way to verify that user ckfizzy08 is actually a kid who is pro-McCain and not some creepy old man filling out and mailing in a ballot, err, online voting for someone else?

The answer is no. But luckily, it doesn’t even matter.

In the end, it’s just one kid choosing the candidate who promises less tax on fruit snacks, a permanent ban on episodes starring Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, or a plan to save the economy.

So listen up kids. Today’s lesson is that democracy is not a pedophile in the park. Go out there and vote.

Sujay is a senior in biochemistry and you jerks can have my $600, but you will never take my FREEEEEEDDDDDOOOOOM!