Date: December, snowy, and bathed in the glow of a computer monitor. Still trying to find a replacement for democracy that doesn't involve fascists. Or social media.
Democracy: It’s Easier Than Flossing
For some time there was a theory that flossing regularly could somehow help deter heart attacks. That theory has been disproven and rightfully so. Anything having to do with flossing is inherently evil, largely because no one I know, except dentists, the children of dentists, oral hygienists and psycho-killers, has ever been for a dental checkup and heard from said oral care specialist “your flossing habits are excellent!” We always get the drill of guilt for not having flossed either sufficiently or at all. And then a weather front of shame rolls in.
How does flossing in any, way, shape or form relate to my valiant search for something to replace democracy yet does not involve secret police, fascism, communism, or a form thereof? It’s a stretch, I admit, but I had a lot of coffee and sugar this morning so I think I can make this work.
Practice Makes Imperfect
Like so many things in life, the more you do something, usually the easier it gets. For example, kissing, thieving, knitting a wool hat, or hammering a nail. Same goes for flossing.
Your first attempt usually involves a valiant and often violent struggle with the roll of dental floss, or if you use one of those new fangled flossing implements, repeatedly stabbing your inner cheek walls or upper palette to the point where the pain-induced tear that runs down your eye winds up in your mouth, mere seconds after you’ve rattled off a series of profanities best suited for a confession box. (See National Lampoon’s That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick)
But after a while, you get it, you know how to do it, and it becomes almost second nature if you practice a bit. Sure, you might not be perfect, but you know what to do come floss-time. Same goes — or should go — for democracy.
Show Up, Choose, Leave
The democratic process is pretty simple, and depending on where you live and under what conditions, you usually have to practice the skill (and art) of choosing a candidate (or defacing the ballot) maybe every couple of years. So you do get some practice.
Not unlike the flossing described above, you do have to suffer a bit before you get to vote. There are course the interminable election campaigns, which are not unlike the fear one experiences prior to going to the dentist’s, or better yet, these campaigns may be more akin to actually being in the dentist’s chair just before the gum-wrecking, tooth-extracting, needle-inserting, pain-enhancing physician and assistant enter the room to tell you several thousand dollars of expensive and painful fixes are required, and to take out a loan to cover the costs.
Election campaigns are horrendous, wasteful, vainglorious affairs but, like flossing, they are part of the procedure and you can become numb to them with enough exposure. That could be bad if you experience blood loss living through either the flossing or the election campaign. But at the same time, its not all that hard to do your democratic duty. It takes 3 simple steps: Show up, choose, and then leave.
But Am I Qualified?
This begs the question — if, in a democracy, anyone eligible can vote, are they really qualified to vote? Many have suggested the same holds true for making and rearing a child. Too many are eligible and too few are qualified, yet we let that happen all the time (until that kind Mr. Trump spikes our drinking water with birth control pills). But I digress.
We test people who want to drive a car to see if they are competent — and again, too many are eligible and too few are qualified, even if they didn’t sleep with and/or bribe the driving instructor. Yet, 22-chromosed morons and idiots show up to take their driver’s test, choose some answers, spin around a parking lot and leave with a permit for motorized mayhem in their sweaty, greasy, unwashed, little hands.
Should we have means testing to determine who is qualified to vote? Who would decide this? (Answer: me, and me alone) How would this even be enforced? (Answer: lots of robots and a ton of domestic spying). If we tested for intelligence, would it be based on math? science? or a canonical knowledge of Star Wars and Bugs Bunny? (Answer: I’m leaning towards Bugs Bunny)
So much to contemplate, yet it’s so perilously close to dinner. And food wins every time over deep, rational thought.
With a warm heart and a glaring bald spot,
Mephistopheles “Bringer Noxious Emissions” Druker