Saturday, July 26, 2008

Having Faith Enough to State the Obvious

Reader's Note: Click play below if you'd like a little background music while you read.

I did it. I blame myself. I've been feeling the slowly increasing tension of a rubber band about to snap. Yes, I let myself get caught up in this year's election. I let myself try to sort out the information overload in order to make a good decision. In order to do my civic duty. In order to make a difference. In order to have the right to complain if I don't get my way. Or something.

Humans started our world domination when one of our little jellied ancestors got tired of beig a complete victim to the random whims of his world. "Gosh darnit!" He said. "I'm gonna fix some things around here and live a better life!" And with that we started exerting influence in our little worlds, a long march of perpetual struggle that has gotten us where we are today.

Which is a pretty cool place ... But we all know it's not quite right. I agree with Bill Gates, who recently said the following at the WEF in Davos:
I am an optimist. But I am an impatient optimist. The world is getting better, but it’s not getting better fast enough, and it's not getting better for everyone.
Just going about my daily business, not an hour goes by that I'm not confronted with with something that need fixing. If I had a zillion-man army, the Cup of Christ, and Deep Thought I'm quite sure I'd still never get around to fixing it all. That rubber-band feeling is what happens when I forget this fact. I try to figure out how to fix everything and I get stretched.

Take the election, for example. I believe in people's ability to fix things that they care about. I believe in decentralization of the authority and means necessary to do so. As such, I have to conclude that politicians and government are no better than necessary evils for those cases when one man can't fix it alone. If they must exist, though, they should be made to do it right. Unfortunately, to do something about it, one must get elected. To get elected, pols necessarily must give up those goals. They must promise everything to everyone ... and then water it down enough not to scare away a single voter ... and then hope nobody holds them accoutable for the 90% that they never actually follow through with.

"One of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them. To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem."
--Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Clearly, our two current candidates share the same distrust of people. In their mission to avoid scaring anyone away, they try not to say anything at all. These guys go around saying nothing. Their surrogates then follow behind twisting and turning the facts to fit their current audience. "Oh, he talks about leaving NAFTA, but that would never REALLY happen" wink wink.

Their actions belie their belief that people just can't handle the truth, and this explains why each candidate is in a mad dash toward the milk-toast center. The truth is, they're nearly interchangable. I'm still waiting for the day McCain announces Joe as his running mate or Secretary of State. Our irri-tainment channels have propigated a rumor that Obama might mimic this by picking a GOP Veep.

I challenge these guys to actually take a stand on a few issues and trust the people enough to actually say what they mean. I have faith enough in people to let them choose my leader ... assuming they're informed. Cut out the doublespeak and I have full confidence they'd make the right choice for us all.

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