Thursday, May 27, 2010

Aligning the Facts with the Fax

I hate shitting on anyone’s dream. I really do, but sometimes I just have to say it and be done with it.  I had a friend years ago named Pat, who was insane about electronics and building insane projects in his living room from scratch.  Amazing stuff.  He would spend days, even weeks, building LASERS, Tesla Coils, you name it.  Once he asked me to check out his new “green LASER” project he had spent a week building.  It wasn’t done, but he was close.  When I saw it, I asked him “so, uh, what are you going to do with it?”  It was total silence for a full minute.  Try that.  Sit silent for one full minute.  Awkward, huh?  Yep.  Then he calmly said “f*** it.” and he never finished it.  I felt bad about that for a long time.  I poured water on the fire of his imagination.  Oh well.  Now I look back and the water has become beer.

So, a friend of mine was all pumped about volunteering for some campaign thing and going around irritating, oops, I mean “getting the word out” about his candidate.  When he tried to test his selling abilities on me, he learned it was a huge mistake.  Not only do I hate sales pitches, ANY sales pitches, I hate politics even worse.

Mind you, I don’t disrespect “democracy” and the ideals of “freedom”.  It’s just that we really, technically, legally, do not have either in this country.  What we have is “relative” democracy and freedom.  (sidenote: I handily won an ad hoc classroom debate back in college about this very subject, a-hem…).

Let’s digress upon the facts, shall we?  Let’s…

  1. American citizens do not directly vote anyone into the Executive office.  We perform the function of “public voting”, which is used to guide and inform the Electoral College as to how to cast THEIR vote, which is the ONLY vote that counts.
  2. Four times in American history, the Electoral College has cast their vote in contradiction to the public vote.  Each time it was said to be due to them knowing better what we wanted than we really wanted.
  3. No presidential election in American history has been decided by less than 100 votes.
  4. I have yet to find evidence of a single politician in history executing their promises faithfully once in office.  Some of the promise, sure.  All of them? Never.  Not even once.
  5. Elections are almost always won as a result of influence exherted upon the public by way of mass media bombardment.  Mass media costs money.  Money comes from PAC contributions.  Most PAC contributions come from lobbyists’ clientelle.  Most clientelle are big businesses and powerful “special interest” groups.  Most citizens are none of these.  If YOU were the politician, who would you listen to?

George Carlin made an interesting and excellent point that by NOT voting, you earned yourself the right to complain about the sucky world of politics.  By casting a vote, you become part of the reason the system remains sucky, and therefore have no right to complain.  It’s a weird twisted logic, that I actually like.  So, after almost 30 years of voting, I think I’m done.  And, statistically speaking, it won’t matter anyway because no election has ever been decided on a single public vote.  Ever.

This time, however, I didn’t try to talk this guy out of voting or even his desire to “make a difference”, whatever that means.  I just helped him to realize he wasn’t ever going to change my mind without a gun pointed at my face.  This same logic works on Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness guys by the way.  Great entertainment on an otherwise boring weekend.

I know that voters out there will do a fine job of making sure our system remains as it always has remained.  Just take a look at Portsmouth, VA mayor James Holley.  I rest my case.  Good luck, and God bless!

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