This may seem a little bitter and meandering, but bear with me

If you live in America, you don’t live in a Democracy.

I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but America is not a Democracy.  Technically, it never really has been a Democracy, we’re better described as a Representative Republic.  If this were a true Democracy, we’d all spend a lot more time voting on how the country is run.  Rather, we vote every two to six years to elect people who, we hope, share our world-view and, again we hope, will actively set out to implement it.

We’re also not a Christian nation, no matter what you hear people say.

I’m not Christian so I’m far less concerned about this one since there never really was a promise that we would be a Christian nation.  Frankly, as far as I’m concerned the further organized religion stays from politics, the happier I am.  There are, however, plenty of people who are extremely disgruntled when they wake up in the morning and realize that not only has Jesus not come to save them from the heathens, but that the heathens seem to have free run of the madhouse.  We’ll push religion to the back burner for the time being.  Religious arguments are great ways to start flame wars, but I’m not interested in that right now; I have real-world problems to discuss.

So, hold those things in the back of your head for right now while I throw a seemingly unrelated issue into the mix.  Trust me on this one.  Ultimately this mixture will turn into something rational.

If you were a supervillain, what would your goal be and, more importantly, why?  Every supervillain needs an origin story and a dastardly plan.  The best supervillains are the ones with a plan that’s pretty evil but something people can actually relate to.  Think Magneto.  Kill the humans because they’re a threat to the mutants.  His endgame, freedom for the mutants, is admirable.  His mechanism, killing all the humans, is less so.  Although, I did spend a great deal of time in traffic today so I think fewer people might not be a bad thing.

Final seemingly unrelated topic to add here.

At its heart, Henchmen is a simple book about people fed up with politicians and the various ways in which both sides of the political spectrum regularly screw over everyone.  Its sequel (which I need to work on tonight), covers more of the religious spectrum.  Sure, it’s an adventure story.  There are gun fights and naked women and gods and some stuff gets blowed up real good, but at the heart of the story is a group of people who have decided to take the fixing of the country into their own hands by finding a way to kill every member of Congress.

Like I said, every supervillain needs a goal.  That goal should be pretty evil, but ultimately relatable.

So, before anyone starts raising their hands and saying, “Ooh.  Ooh.  Ooh.  Mr. Government!  Eric Lahti, um, wants to kill everyone in Congress!” let me assure that I don’t.  Nor do I advocate political killings.  Or really killing in general.

But I do have an idea.  A wondrous, terrifying idea.

There’s an old joke that goes, How can you tell an honest politician?  Honest politicians stay bought.

So, right there you can tell we’re not a Democracy.  If we were a Democracy, we wouldn’t have as much need for politicians.  Let alone politicians with as much power as ours.  Our politicians make the rules that we have to adhere to while they themselves seem to play by a different set of rules.  As Jonathon Hickman (bonus kudos for anyone who can identify him) once wrote, “Laws are created by those who consider themselves above them.”

The really cool thing about politicians, though, is the fact that they really only worship the money that lets them get the power they crave.  Money wins elections, elections give power, power is great.  Most politicians ride into office on a wave of donations from corporations and the extremely wealthy.  By donating all that money, those people expect a return on their investment.  This means laws that favor the corporations and the extremely wealthy.  By the way, the things those guys want and what the rest of us want are usually antithetical.

Politics is a big money game, and most of us will never be able to fork up the kind of cash the big telecom players can come up with.  As a result, fighting for Net Neutrality, from our end, is going to be extremely difficult.  All we can really hope to do is kick up a big enough fuss that someone pats us on the head and tells us it’s really in our own best interest that network providers should be able to grant faster speed to companies that can pay more money.

This begs a question, how can the average person get enough money together to bribe a major politician?  Sorry, donate to a reelection campaign of a major politician.  They don’t take bribes, they get campaign donations.

Well, I think Kickstarter provides us with a valid model.  Take their basic theory and translate it to something political.  People will be able to put up a problem, provide an example of how bribing a politician will help fix the problem.  Sorry, again, damn: Provide money for the reelection fund a of a politician.  We can then set a base amount that will be needed to get the legislation pushed through.  If you, as a user, agree with the problem and the solution, you can kick in some bucks.  If enough people kick in some money, a large group of people might actually be able to buy a politician.

“What about PACs?” you ask.  Well, with my version of Kickstarter for Democracy, you don’t have to subscribe to all the things each PAC stands for.  You can still focus on that single issue that’s burning you up inside.

This, my friends, is my evil plan.  We can save the Republic by exploiting the very greed that’s busily tearing it down.  The end result, more of a political voice for everyone, is admirable.  The mechanism, exploiting the natural greed of our politicians, is far less admirable, but will probably work quite nicely.

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2 thoughts on “This may seem a little bitter and meandering, but bear with me

  1. I’m not sure what Kickstarter’s terms are, but if this works, I’m in….. unless. Well, there are some ideas I would not support. I don’t want someone raising campaign funds to for a politician who aims to take away rights, for example. I guess I’ll have to trust the marketplace of ideas….. which brings up another thought. How do you prevent the rich from doing the same thing?

  2. This would have to be some custom site. I doubt Kickstarter would want to get involved with bribing politicians, even peripherally, and whoever decided to set this thing up would probably wind up with a horse’s head in their bed one morning. Beyond the technical problems you’d have all kinds of other problems, too. You’d have to hire a lobbyist to handle the cash, get people actually interested in the political process, deal with no end of liars and crooks, and even then there would be no guarantees you could actually pull it off. It would be nice to see people having a bit more of a say in the political process, though, rather than just trusting the people we elected to do the right thing.

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