Fred & speckled trout Election Reform Political participation

Election Reform

by Fred Garth

Politics. Just hearing the word makes me squeamish. Excuse me while I go puke. Seriously, I just have two questions. How is it that our senators and congresspersons get to vote to raise their own salaries? And secondly, why don’t I ever get jobs like that?

It’s ridiculous, it’s corrupt, and it’s just getting worse. I mean, is this where Jefferson, Franklin, and Hamilton thought their precious democratic experiment would lead? I don’t think so. Not that those guys were so pure. They were hard-core capitalists. They enslaved people. They abused alcohol and had extramarital affairs with their enslaved workers and also French women. So, you’re asking, how are they so different from our current crooked, unethical, and immoral politicians? Not much, I guess. But one way they set themselves apart is they worked for the good of the country rather than themselves. Sure, they were greedy in their personal pursuit of wealth, just like any red-blooded capitalist should be. But unlike our modern politicians, they practiced political ethics. Nowadays, politicians are just embarrassing. It’s downright sickening.

We all know that our elected stooges are merely puppets of drug companies, plaintiff lawyers, casinos, and the like. Where are the bowling alley or sheet rocker lobbyists? Nowhere. And so our politicians yak on about election reform, but that will happen when Atlanta wins the Super Bowl and the NBA championship in the same year. Just like raising their salaries, the fox is guarding the hen house, so kiss your fresh scrambled eggs goodbye.

Fortunately for the free world, I’ve solved the whole election reform problem.

First, all candidates must run for office using only free services like Facebook, Snapchat, email, TikTok, and in-person rallies. Second, they can’t spend any money on their campaign. Nada! A standardized website would show pictures of the candidates and their families, pets, houses, cars, and other personal items. They would all answer the same questions with the same word limit. Then we’d have a series of debates with that bizarre panel from America’s Got Talent as on-screen judges. Dave Chapelle would do post-debate interviews and roast the shit out of them. The viewers would then vote by phone until we got down to the final four. Finally, we’d elect a winner in the fairest and most logical way possible—a live, prime-time mud wrestling contest. Winner takes all.

Sorry about that diversion into goofiness. Politics just does that to me. So, instead of mud wrestling, we’d have a few debates, then we’d vote. That way, politicians must appeal to the individual, not corporate goons. Political Action Committees would be banned at the outset of this new era because candidates won’t need $50 million to run a campaign. We won’t have to endure their horrible commercials showing them shooting guns and posing with their perfect families, nor will we have to see their hair-sprayed mugs staring down at us from billboards when we’re stuck in traffic. Billboards are ugly enough without pictures of politicians on them.

Couple more things. We double their salaries so we can attract some real talent to our government. But, we limit them to two terms. That way, they can make enough money to take a hiatus from their real jobs and not be tempted by graft and corruption. Then, after eight years, they go back to being a big wig business person or a teacher or coach or whatever.

After we fix election reform, we attack the lobbyist/politician relationship because the lobbyists still need laws passed that will give their clients unfair tax cuts and line their pockets with our hard-earned tax dollars. Well, I have a solution for that, too. Are you surprised? I hope not. First, we make paid lobbying illegal. If a private citizen wants to yell at a politician about cleaning up the environment or letting pawnshops have tax-free status, then go for it. But they cannot be paid to influence politicians, and they cannot give any money or gifts to the official. But we’re all flawed humans, and we know that some devious people will break those rules. So we have a simple arbitration for those who get caught—the two of them fight to the death gladiator-style on ESPN. Just think of the ratings!

I think the fear of execution by a sharp, spiked metal ball might even make a politician honest. And then hell would freeze over, and we’d solve global warming, too. See, it’s not that hard.

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