Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Processed Elections

When the election process is a meat grinder, democracy becomes liver sausage!

I will now attempt to explain something of how the election process in the Third Galaxy functioned in pratice. It may sound confusing and, even more probable, you will think I am kidding you. However, assuming that one can rely on the Absolute Truth, what I relate here is correct.

On the national plane, there were only two political parties of any significance in the Unified State of Arrogance: the Damnrats and the Repugnants. Why this was so is difficult to explain. In the end, however, this two party system proved to be more solidly entrenched than even the Ground Law itself!

Elections were held even after the Lady of Liberty and Light's mutation into Arrogance. In fact, "Assuring Free Elections!" was one of the given reasons for declaring the "Lasting State of Emergency" -- that, and "Protecting the Ground Law!". It's hard to have elections that are not soporific without at least two choices -- and these two parties, entwined in their love-hate embrace, were loyal and staunch defenders of the Arrogant Way of Life and the Arrogant Dream.

To understand something of how these two parties came to dominate the political scene in the first place, one needs to know something of what happened after the Civil War. In brief, this terrible conflict allowed a few to amass enormous fortunes. These fortunes allowed corporations to influence political decisions so that they could enrich themselves even more with little or no regard for natural resources or the putative rights of workers. Most important though, in the decade before the end of the century in which the Civil War took place, the corporations acquired some thing they desired, if possible, even more than profits -- status as "persons"!

Judicial person hood turned the corporations into what were essentially immortal beings. True, they could not vote -- but that mattered little. With their wealth, they could determine who could get elected and those whom they selected to be elected were thereafter more beholden to their corporate masters than those who had actually put their pinkies on the touch screens of the voting machines. In fact, the voters were mainly thought of as "sheeple" to be herded into the polling boxes once every four years. You could think of the process as a sort of sheep dip to keep the common public from becoming infected with strange ideas like wanting a "real democracy" with grassroots and voting machines with paper trails.

But how did it come to pass that money alone determined the "selectability" of a candidate for political office? In brief, mass media -- especially television. At the time of the rise of the Arrogant Nation, the average citizen spent on the average a quarter of their waking life in front of the glowing screens. Finally, they came to be incapable of comprehending a message that could not be contained in a five-, max thirty-second sound bite.

To pay for an ad on television cost a lot of money. As a general rule, the only people with that kind of cash were corporations, in particular the Megacorps -- and those to whom they choose to give it to. Of course, the picture was a bit more detailed than this -- but, in broad stokes, you couldn't get coverage without a lot of financial backing from somewhere. The exception of course was if you could get to be a guest on the show of one of the Bobble Head Pundits. However, these highly paid media whores, with annual salaries in the millions, were first beholden to their masters, the Bankers of Illusion, and they kept the message "clean" even if they had to browbeat, scream at their guests, or simply cut off their microphones.

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