Stop Democracy Before It’s Too Late: A NEW New Deal

Posted: August 8, 2010 in Culture, Politics
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Unless you live in a bubble, you can’t help but be aware of what happened this week.

That’s right, for the first time ever and in defiance of all the odds, an article written by me had over four hundred hits and

Oh, right.

Deep breath. (Not everything’s about me. Not everything’s about me. Not everything’s about me.)

So. The other thing that happened.

 I debated writing a piece actually on the vengeful destruction of Prop 8 at the hands of the forces of truth and light but, for a number of reasons[i], I decided not to. After all, the Walrus is about setting trends, not following them. I couldn’t just let the issue pass though; it’s kind of one of those big deal historical moments that you get laughed at a decade later for being asleep during. You know, like when we did this very same thing as a whole nation up here in the North[ii], where we care less about who’s nailing who as long as they’re staying warm.  

Anyway.

The point is, I had to say something. So I said to myself, “Self, what’s the angle here? What can we possibly say that will use this news to shed light on some crucial but oft neglected facet of humanity’s humanity? What nugget of sheer and insane genius can we ejaculate vigorously on the chin of the zeitgeist?”

My Self, not used to being addressed in the third person, was initially spooked and sought to hide from the burning inquisitorial lights of the Sanity Police. But then, when it realized that we were all alone in here, my Self started whispering and then it started chortling and then, as it reached the climax of its exhortation, I joined it in a maniacal cackle worthy of getting its own Bond villain.

It’s so simple.

The angle is you. Fuckers, one and all.

At some point someone lied to you. It was probably one or both of your parents. You know, the architects of such myths as Santa Claus, racial and gender equality and the hundred year life span? This lie though, was a real whopper. Someone told you that your opinion mattered, that a single person could change the world by ticking a box on a slip of paper, that you could shape the course of a nation.

Some of you came to realize that this, like so many of the things you were told as a child, is ridiculous. So you stopped taking part. In fact, more of you come to this realization each and every year and it is heartening to read that voter attendance is plummeting as fast as a pair of panties on prom night. Unfortunately, this has caused an embarrassing mishap throughout much of the West. You see, while you were, quite rightly (they call me mellow yellow) wandering away from your civic responsibilities…er…hardships, a weird fluke of mathematics has occurred and a shrinking yet paradoxically strengthening minority has actually managed to effect some change using the electoral system, of all things, as a tool.

I know, it’s weird.

The thing is, while you were quite right to assume that voting was a waste of time because:

a) Nothing ever changes.

b) You’re being forced to choose between the lesser of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­________[iii]evils and you’re smarter than that.

Or

c) You can’t read.

it is entirely possible that you not voting has resulted in the complete hostile takeover of the democratic system by nefarious forces such as the company you work for or the Sexual Harassment Panda.

See, it turns out that the dozen or so people still showing up at the polls have had such enormous success at getting their own way that they’ve gone a little power mad over the whole thing.

Let’s take Prop 8 as a completely random example.

Someone thought it’d be a grand idea to test the notion that an individual human right can be determined by the principle of majority rule. Apparently there are people out there who are so not okay with lesbian porn and they decided to make an issue of whether people who are into lesbian porn should be allowed to marry each other, even though that determination would in no way shape or form affect the course of their lives in any way. Or something. It’s a weird issue.

Anyway. Only one person who thinks like you bothered to show up for the vote and there were like, eight of the lesbian porn haters, so the measure got passed. Bummer.

Luckily, the people who liked lesbian porn and wanted to get married to each other anyway, even though the government had told them that they were less good than the people who hated lesbian porn, got together and sued the government, arguing that the law was illegal. And they won!

Not surprisingly, the people who had voted for the measure got a little upset and have been wailing about the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. But what’s strange and not a little bothersome is the attitude of outright certainty being projected by the voters. They keep saying things like; “Well, it was only one judge, we’ll still get our way, because we voted for this,” or, “the Supreme Court will uphold our opinion on this one because we voted for this,” or, “and even if they don’t, we can force Congress to change the constitution because we voted for this.”

Apparently they really believe that lie your parents told you, huh?

Thing is, they might not be entirely wrong[iv]. History has shown that governments tend to act in ways that voters want them to. They apparently like being in power and are afraid that, if they don’t act in accordance with the wishes of this weird little “majority” that still votes, they won’t get to be anymore. This is probably why we haven’t seen a buttload of cultural progress in the last couple of decades; it’s hard to move forward when those who govern us merely react to the winds of muted public opinion. We’re not giving them any direction; is it any wonder we’ve gotten lost?

Clearly, democracy is broken and is in danger of doing great harm to everyone.

So it’s time to replace it with something else. Luckily I’ve come up with something else. Goo Goo G’joob.

THE GOVERNANCE LOTTERY

First thing we’re going to have to do is get rid of the entire existing government. This will probably require a spot of violence so, if you live in a country that has gun control laws, you’re going to have to vote at least once to overturn those. After that’s taken care of, here’s a simple list of steps that will replace the current broken system with one that’s at least a little more interesting.

1-Revoke all party charters. It’s impossible to have good clean federal governance with pre-existing battle lines drawn in the sand. All parties do is tell voters which individuals most closely represent their belief system and, since we’re not letting people vote anymore, they don’t need to know what  you might be getting up to.

2-Implement national lottery-Everyone gets a turn! Of course, we’re going to be going off of census data to pull names, so really, not everyone will get a turn, especially the homeless, but it’ll be close enough.

3-Eliminate special interest groups. Nothing clouds a good session of parliament or congress like the whining of outside influencers. Since we’re not going to have any input into how this new government actually conducts business, we won’t be able to ask them to pass a law banning lobbyists. We’ll have to post armed guards outside all of our government buildings and just shoot trespassers on sight. We might get a few tourists, but eventually people will take the hint.

4-Keep your government working hard. It’s fun to bitch and moan about what a government is doing; that’s why newspapers were invented. But still, you’ll probably want to make sure your new representatives aren’t plunging the country into crippling debt like the old ones did. Simple solution? Anyone who “wins” a seat in the lottery has their assets liquidated and added to the national treasury. If things go well they’ll turn a profit; if the country collapses they’ll wind up homeless and, per step 2, be immune to being drafted into service again.

5-Eliminate the media. They’re just fuckers. Also, it’s hard to do the job of governing a country if you’re shit terrified that people will recognize you on the street and want to hit you a lot, so it’s probably better if no one ever gets the chance. Everything right down to high school newspapers, just burn them to the ground and salt the earth.

6- Take hostages. Families of lottery winners should be placed under armed guard in the finest of accommodations but be sequestered from their very important spouses/siblings/parents/children. Wouldn’t want them to get hurt if things start going badly, right?

7- Name a leader. Let’s face it, these people will probably be schmucks, so it’s best to have one person in charge of all of them, who’s never subject to replacement. After all, consistency is the key for any growing society. You have to keep on message. We’ll figure out a title for the big kahuna later.

That’s about it. This system gives you a style of governance guaranteed to produce profits, be immune to corruption and preclude from gaining power any person who would actually want to wield it. In short, perfection.

Now, I’m planning on actually testing this baby out in the next election. I’m a pretty persuasive guy, and, “Vote Walrus,” has an awesome ring to it, so I think I’ve got a shot. But if you’re the kind of person who has some sort problem with your destiny being removed entirely from your hands and replaced with pure chance, here’s what I suggest you do.

Run, don’t walk, RUN, to your nearest party headquarters. All of them. Get copies of their election platforms and actually read them. What’s that you say? There’s no election coming to a theatre near you? You know what? Run anyway. You’re probably really far behind. Find out what’s going on, who’s got plans to take away your video games (liberals) or your sex toys (conservatives) pick a candidate and, when the time comes, VOTE. Vote your heart out. Even if you’re the type of You that I loathe politically, you should probably vote anyway. I hear that the best societies are the ones anchored firmly in the middle of the political poles, so we should probably allow for some reasonable opposition.

But keep in mind, sometimes your vote isn’t going to count for shit. Sometimes what you want will be so unreasonable that, even if you win, someone higher up will laugh at you and say, “Overruled.” If that happens, I wouldn’t worry too much.

 After all, it could be your type of porn on the chopping block next.

Majority can be a fickle bitch.


[i] I don’t live in California, I’m not gay, I don’t want to be gay and married, everyone on earth with access to a keyboard, including my neighbour’s cat, has already written about it, etc.

[ii] Really? It was a while ago. Like, a really long time. I’m pretty sure the precedent we used was T-Rex & Stegosaurus v. Raging Bigots of the Cretaceous Era.

[iii] Insert however many major parties participate in elections in your country.

[iv] About the end results of voting, not about lesbian porn. People who hate lesbian porn are not okay.

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Comments
  1. bob says:

    No comments eh? That’ll teach you to work so hard producing an amusing and worth-while post.

    And that’ll also teach to spot a trend.

    • Stefanie says:

      So I was trying to get more information on this election and I saw this, and said whoo hoo finally someone will tell me where I stand. Since you like wasting your time I would say go ahead. But you will find out that if you don’t “strongly” agree with mostly everything, you will considered a Liberal by default. Even if you agree. Way to go CIBC. or wait. Was that CBC? Maybe this is why corporations aren’t supposed to fund poilitcal parties just saying. Well I took this quiz, and since no one cares to hear my carefully thought out opinions, I decided to post them here. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/votecompass/

      Funny enough you can’t post comments on CBC’s website. Who cares though, because no one is going to vote anyways.
      Which means – people who do vote – your vote counts for more.

      Personally I think Harper’s doing an OK job of running the government. Let him do his job and stop bitching. It’s like cheering for a hockey team. Ok – so they lost a few games (what was with that smear campaign eh?) but overall they are winning. Maybe they’d win more if the other team wasn’t dragging them by their jerseys all over the ice (Hockey metaphor eh)

      Dear CBC: I don’t fit into your box. Tell me what to do? You seem to know everything. Oh, wait, your tactic is to confuse the average voter with so much information they say to hell with it. Well I’m not playing your game. I’m cheering for my team.

      I don’t think all Canadian Troops should be pulled out of Afghanistan. I don’t think that AFG is a threat (talking to people who are there, both US/Can) anymore, but I do think its great practice for them to be out there – working in a real place, and working with the US Troops. It establishes comradery. There are other places that need troops too, like Japan, and other disaster zones. I think our military should be like “UN” ambassadors, who don’t fight on a side, but go in when there is disaster/chaos and help. But then again, that’s the “hippie” in me. I would never join, so I really can’t say.

      We don’t need to increase military presence in the Arctic. Let the American’s worry about their presence in Alaska. Who would come after us there? Plus, our troops should be more focused on training and being deployable because then they can move if there was ever a threat. Increase means that there are some there. I don’t know how many there are/what they do. Maybe you should tell me. My “don’t know” made me a Liberal on this page by the way.

      I don’t know if we should spend less/more money on the military because I don’t know what we are spending now and what we are doing with it. I put whatever the middle answer was and they pegged me as Liberal. Maybe I would say yes if I knew what they spent it on.

      We have an economic problem and the government put lots of things in place to help. They allowed the home renovation credit, the education upgrade credit, tool money for graduating trades people (which my husband missed because he graduated earlier, but it was still there, and we’re not sitting over here bitching). They put employment retention programs in place which helped people do resumes and learn about interview skills. I don’t know if “they” made it “better” but there was help available for people who needed it.

      I don’t agree with this statement “the deficit needs to be reduced even if it leads to fewer public services” because I think that there is money in the government to pay off the deficit and to pay for our public services. Find it. (That’s a conservative viewpoint, “Find the money that is there”. Liberals say “take from the rich to pay for services”) – but I put no opinion, because I didn’t like the way it was worded. So I was considered Liberal. Go figure.

      This statement is so vague it makes my head hurt. How are we seeking closer relations? What does “closer relations” mean? That could mean “Let the US have some of Alberta’s oil” or it could mean “Let Canadians buy American land without so much tax” or it could mean “Let’s fund our doctors to be educated here and help them move to the States”

      I do think that the environmental damage is huge in the oil sands. My husband was up there and talked to heads of these companies who said that they had environmental protective technology ten years ago and are just using it now. But they are using it now. So, we live we learn. People don’t have to be so dramatic about it.

      Canada shouldn’t adopt a carbon tax. Corporations should pay a carbon tax. Canadians should pay a junk food tax.

      Corporations should be finding ways to make their companies more environmentally friendly. Canadians should be rewarded by shopping at environmentally friendly places.

      Private health care is already here. People pay for operations out of pocket all the time. If you can afford it, you get into a private clinic. If you don’t want to pay for it, you go to the hospital like everyone else. People who pay for it are taking time/lines away from the hospitals because there are less people who are in them now. This will create more jobs, and make our own educated doctors want to stay in Canada. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get treated if you go to the hospital. They don’t want to take away a tear, they want to allow another one to thrive.

      The government should give daycare money to parents. It’s their choice how to live their lives. Yes, some are irresponsible, but what about stay at home moms who choose to give their child home education? They deserve funding too.

      It’s easy to qualify for EI if you deserve it. There are programs in place to appeal.

      Speaking our language should be a requirement for living in Canada. It doesn’t say, go to our churches or markets – just have that life skill that will move you forward. It’s for these people’s benefit anyways.

      I don’t know how many immigrants Canada admits – I don’t know how they are chosen, and how well they do once they get here. That’s the key. How well do immigrants fare once they come here? Do they help the economy or are we supporting them? That’s what I want research on.

      People religious or not should have the same rights as everyone else. Just have the same rules: Don’t touch anyone but yourself.

      Violent young offenders should be sentenced as adults.

      The long run registry should be used differently.

      Possession? Don’t we seriously have bigger issues? DUI’s should be jail time. Sexual Assault shouldn’t be 2 years. And people who beat their spouses and pets should be deported to one of the icebergs.

      The government shouldn’t have any say in abortion or not. What is this? People have rights. I’m not saying they should fund it/not. I’m saying that these clinics should be regulated and must have counseling so that person can make the best decision for them at that time. That is a religious decision and as far as I was aware, the church and state are separate. Maybe churches should spend their own money in public education? Just saying.

      Marriage is something that the church has created not the state. That’s the history of marriage. So, in the same line of thought, if people aren’t religious they shouldn’t be able to marry each other. It’s one or the other. Either let everyone take a stab at it, or let just the people who belong to churches do it and have everyone else call it something else. Personally, I don’t think homosexuality is a choice, but marriage is. Everyone deserves the right to be as happily married as I am. Or as happily divorced as my parents. I don’t think you can say “marriage is between and man and a woman” and have the government control that. The government didn’t create marriage.

      I think terminally ill people should be able to end their lives. It’s God that judges you, not your government. But there should be checks and balances and counseling so that a family member doesn’t convince someone to do it.

      The Senate shouldn’t be abolished. It should be used properly. Originally the senate was made up of educated people to add a voice not tainted by government. They should live in different provinces to see the issues that are going on, and not be biased.

      Why do political parties receive funding in the first place? Maybe if they didn’t, they would have to ask their followers for money, and those people would be more invested, so they would vote? But at the same time, maybe they would ask corporations for money who would advertise and confuse people. Could you imagine? Apple for Liberals, PC for Conservatives. Whoever has better customer service/commercials wins. Nightmare.

      People who speak English and French should be a requirement for government anything. It’s an official language. Learn it. Love it.

      Quebec is a province so the government should treat it as such. Being a part of culture? What does the government have to say about that? How does government make culture? If the government is a part of any culture, it should stand by Canadian Culture and lean on its own Rail system to make travel for Canadians cheaper. Then we can actually experience culture.

      Quebec – you want to be a nation? Start paying for all the things nations do. Pay a tax to use our oil. Pay surcharges for all your employees who live in Hull and work in Ottawa. Make your own currency, pay for your own army, pay for your own health care. Oh. That’s right. The people in Quebec have stopped having kids. That’s going to be tough for you. Wait – why am I complaining about this? Go Quebec. With you NOT being a Country, it will probably be cheaper for Canadians to visit you anyways.

      YES! – Go away. As long as it doesn’t cost Canada anything.

      People should be responsible for their own lives. The pension is not a hand out. It’s a step up. People work hard and save their money? They can have the super awesome retirement home. People don’t work hard and save their money? They can have the Good retirement home.

      Wealthy people shouldn’t pay more tax. Wealthy corporations should.

      But they shouldn’t be taxed to a point that they don’t want to be a profitable business. It has to come from somewhere, and if they are taxed to high heaven, there will be no incentive to push forward, to meet quotas and to work. Simply put, the money that we already have should be used better.

      And stop giving Alberta’s money to Ontario/Quebec. The Maritimes I can understand, and most of their people work there.

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