This first week of NaNoWriMo has me caught in two technology conferences/summits in Westminster, Colorado. But that hasn’t stopped me from typing in the bloodshot eye hours of the night after acting too much like a grown up for anyone’s good health. If you want to read what I’ve slathered onto digital paper thus far and here on out, click here. You can watch me write it live as it happens…when it happens.
Today’s technology conference on Cognitive Impairment Technologies included a speaker that made me think about U.S. democracy. Thinking back, he only made a passing comment about the upcoming election. But ADHD will do strange things to you and have you making bizarre connections that weren’t really there.
Setting aside the fact that true democracy in any sense of the word does not exist in any state that claims to have it. Democracy is like a giant penis. Any one claiming to have one not only doesn’t, but they are not the type of person whom you’d like to prove wrong.
That said, I’ve come to realize, and historical evidence of election results and election turnout after anything but the very first election in any given democracy, that humans are too stupid and too lazy to adequately maneuver democracy. Voter turnout in nearly every “democracy” that is at least 10 years old is laughable. Once you shave off those that are not allowed to vote for whatever reason (commonly criminals, youth, those without “proper” identification, and those not deemed fit or not deemed as real humans), suddenly that laughable percentage of constituents that actually votes in any given election is downright ridiculous.
In the U.S., off year election turnout is commonly at or below 10% of eligible voters. Again, including constituents not eligible to vote, that number plummets further. Some claim voter fatigue. Considering eligible voters are only asked to spend one day every two years filling in a bubble sheet that takes less time than a second grade spelling test, this is total bunk.
Others suggest voters just hate the two top candidates. Well, this is true of me as well. That’s why I vote blank in elections where I hate the candidates. It’s an active protest. So, this is bunk as well.
Truth of the matter is, humans are lazy and stupid. Most who do manage to get lost and find themselves in front of a polling place, generally vote straight ticket or vote for the name that sounds familiar or vote for Micky Mouse. Again, this only shows that humans are stupid and lazy and idiotic since they are wasting their time in line to vote for a cartoon character. Whoopie!
Now, the libertarian solution to the problem of this skewed mock democracy is the take government’s hand out of the pockets of U.S. citizens. Let the people decide who to help and where to send philanthropic monies. It’s more efficient.
That last point may be true. However, the philanthropic empathy de Tocqueville wrote about oh so many years ago has since dried up. U.S. empathy is about as common as it is to find de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” in a U.S. citizen’s pocket. So this theory is flawed as it stands now as well.
The vast majority of libertarians have little to no intention of giving anything philanthropic unless you include their willingness to pontificate about politics (as I am ironically doing at this very moment).
So, what do we do?
I think I have a solution.
U.S. citizens don’t live in anything close to a democracy, but at the same time they cannot be trusted to act in ways necessary to maintain any semblance of human dignity for all. To fix this problem, citizens have to create a need for government to change.
Public education is not an altruistic service by governments. The service was started to create obedient and good citizens and to increase economic development. Not altruism. This is not bad, or good. It just is.
Democracy started the same way. Yes, something close to democracy existed in Greece, Rome and a few other random places over the course of history, but it exploded onto the scene during the Revolutions in Britain and France. It had nothing to do with human dignity or empathy for the average citizen. It had to do with those in power wanting to hold on to power during riotous upheaval that, in many cases, lead to heads of state losing their power and their heads.
What the U.S. needs is the swift kick in the backside that every government is had over history. Give government a reason to fear you, and things will change the way they need to. Problem is, the majority of U.S. citizens are satisfied enough with their Facebook and reality TV to be willing to do what’s necessary to put such fear in leaders. U.S. citizens get what they pay for.
Wow, that was an uplifting sermon…