I'm really sick of politics. My sickness is deep. When people bring it up, it makes me have to burp with stomach gurgitation.

The debate is always intense in the run up to the presidential election. With the term of our sitting president punctuated by terrorism and war, it's not surprising to me that passion governs the debate. These are the interesting times the Chinese philosophers warned about hundreds of years ago.

This year more than others I'm finding my highly educated engineer friends willing to cast aside their critical minds in making up their minds to vote. The division seems to follow the lines of America as a whole. Half of my friends who have taken a side are ardently Republican. Half ardently Democratic.

This year the campaign marketing of both sides is what has captivated intelligent people. This is the politics of, "Yeah, but," and "No, but." Among my friends, the vote comes down to whether one feels the origin of the shrapnel in Kerry's ass is divine or accidental, versus whether W's having gone AWOL from the Guard was justified in light of his serious need to party. To them, these issues define our country's decision direction on domestic and foreign issues. Clearly, if Kerry is elected the metal in the ass contingent will dominate the gay marriage debate. If Bush is elected we can expect further leniency for those who go to church with hangovers.

"Yeah, but Kerry didn't actually shoot at the enemy."

"Yeah, but George wasn't actually ever in the war."

"Yeah, but Kerry got hit by his own grenade. He can't even throw, the pussy."

"Yeah, but Al Qaida's next act of terrorism is publishing a Mad Magazine knock-off with nothing but W quotes."


If one were to place microphones in Starbucks' lounges around America and the conversations tallied, the words, "I just don't like him," would be recorded tens of thousands of times per day.

That's what the spin doctors have reduced this election to. Rather, that's what we the people have allowed this election to become.

This is no different than it has ever been, by the way. Jefferson had an election battle. Lincoln did. The nation almost came to civil war over Washington. You think if Abraham Lincoln were running today against Bush he'd be elected? I suspect it would be close.

Today the local paper had an article about me. Front page. They quote a construction worker from St. Charles, Missouri. Kurt Trachte says, "I massively want Bush to lose, but I don't like Kerry."

I'm happy my own opinion transcends my being Californian or in a white-collar job. I too want massively that Bush and his people get jobs doing something less impactful. I don't believe gay marriage or stem-cell research is the reason to blow up Iraq or to move into Iran as they are now planning. A nationalized religion brings Pat Robertson, a man currently selling advertising time to Target stores, one step closer to being a radical cleric with his own army.

But the thought of a Kerry administration strikes some fear in me. The only thing more deadly than the war now going on would be waffling about how to end it. A return to only-decisions-by-consensus politics means gridlock to me. Gridlock in a time of war assures even more death. Frankly, I don't care if Kerry was shot at or not. I'm worried he's got so many patrons of varying agendas to satisfy, the sum of all commitments he must make will guarantee the failure of the decision making process. Then we'll never get out of Iraq.

So I had been desperate to find something upon which to base my vote-making decision. Now, I think I've found it.

Both Kerry and Bush have been seen on camera mountain biking. Bush actually went off-road, tried to take a small drop, got his front wheel tangled and endoed. Kerry stayed on the flat pavement and mugged for the cameras.

Spin doctors and pundits be damned--the decision, to a mountain biker, must be made on the basis of those facts.