Cancel the Elections

On 4 November 2008, voters in the late, lamented United States of America are scheduled to go to the polls and vote for the candidate of their boss’s choice. The Amoeba says, “Cancel it. Cancel the election. Close the polls, unhang the chads, pull the plugs and batteries on the voting machines. Declare all elected positions in the legislative and executive branches of Federal, State, and local governments vacant, and call for a Dictator to take over.

“Because We the People have demonstrated, once and for all, that the Great Experiment has failed. We the People are incapable of self-government.”

It’s sad to be overturning such a long-standing tradition. Every four years since 1792 (George Washington’s first term was for three years), there has been a regularly-scheduled Presidential election, and We the People have gone to the polls …

Well, actually not. It wasn’t until 1920 that all voters in all states got the de jure right to vote for President on Election Day – and the de facto right wasn’t delivered in some places until the late 1960s.

In the earliest elections, Presidential electors were chosen by state legislatures. We the People got to vote in the legislators, but after that, it was up to them.

There was a reason for this. Thomas Jefferson, and many of the other Founding Fathers of these Untied States, were not, myths notwithstanding, supporters of “one man [sic], one vote” democracy. Instead, they greatly feared it. They feared it because of the fate of the “one man, one vote” Athenian democracy, in the 5th century BCE. It fell, in large part because too many of the voters voted without, for whatever reason, understanding for what they were voting, and the city-state fell victim to demagogues and their popular but disastrous opinions.

In Jefferson’s philosophy of “virtue”, only white men of property could be, by virtue of their personal and financial security, sufficiently disinterested to vote for leaders on the basis of their qualifications and their ability to serve “the greater good”, and not just on the basis of narrow self-interest or (worse) on the uncritical acceptance of demagoguery.

Today, We the people have “one person, one vote”. And We (through Our representatives in Congress, whose ears we have been burning) have just voted down our last, best chance to save Our government and economy from returning to the days of the Great Depression. The days that our parents and grandparents vowed to forever prevent, sending their sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, into school and work “to be better than us, to do better than we did, so that these days never come again.”

Those sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, are too busy listening to demagogues cast blame to consider what the emergency requires. Their representatives, after surviving eight years of arguably the most corrupt Administration in United States history, dare not do “the right thing” lest it be, politically speaking, the last thing they ever do.

We need a Dictator, to set us on the right path before it’s too late. If it isn’t already.

But who?

No, not Warren Buffett. Though I daresay, with his stated goal of using his and Bill Gates’s Foundation (what’s left of it after yesterday’s Dow Jones Industrial Average collapse) to force governments to “do the right thing”, he’d be more than willing to take on the job. And please, please, don’t let on to Dick Cheney that the position is open.

I venture to suggest we call on Osama.

No, not Obama. Osama. Yeah. That Osama.

Consider his qualifications. This man, in 2001, sent a couple of airplanes against a couple of buildings. Takes more than a teaspoonful of brains to dream up and organize such a mission.

And We the People have responded to it by destroying ourselves. Our moral compass, Our global reputation, Our financial system, Our very ability to self-govern.

Is that the mark of an effective leader, or what?

Besides. To the victor go the spoils. As any good capitalist should know.

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2008 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. A) The fact that he hates us should be some indication he’d turn down the job.

    B) It doesn’t take incredible brains to pull off something like that. It takes much more determination than anything else. Unfortunately, that’s a trait he seems to share with the current administration, which means things wouldn’t look much different.

    C) Neither the markets nor the government have failed. If you want a true model of a failing economy, look to Zimbabwe. We are NOT on track to becoming like them, and frankly, we never will be. Our monetary system is tied to other nations, and they have already begun to make investments that will keep their own afloat. They know what it means for our economy to fail, and will do everything necessary to prevent that. Zimbabwe was never able to claim that.

    D) I would make the argument that this is possibly the BEST thing that’s happened in a while, and I’d definitely argue that this crisis has been building since before I was born. This will teach people (including the government) to live within its means. At first, there will be a great divide between the wealthy and the poor. In time, that gap will close. But as people have less money to spend, you will see an incredible amount of technology develop, because instead of buying things cheaply, they have to buy them efficiently. The energy crisis will probably be solved, because people will look for the wisest use of energy, rather than exploit the expensive existing system. And in the end, we’ll enter a period of relative utopia where we’re able to enjoy the benefits of all the cheap technology that’s been invented. It won’t be easy (and that is one hell of an understatement), but it is going to happen. And the less grumbling and more effort that is put into it will transition through the cycle faster.

    E) Frankly, canceling the elections would be as shortsighted as every single event that led to this crisis. It screams for an immediate solution to a long-term problem. It’s more of the “gimme” syndrome, where everyone has trouble putting gas in their tank THIS paycheck, so it must be a national emergency. And that’s my argument for above. The sooner people get over themselves, the sooner this thing will end.

  2. Perhaps he (Osama) wouldn’t take the job, IG. Just maybe, he’s not even around to decide whether to take it. But I’ll bet that, after seven years of the War on Terror, with a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with bombings in Yemen, and the lid just barely being held down in Iraq, and with the mountain of debt and moral stain from all this bringing the Western world to the brink of calamity if not collapse, he and his colleagues/successors are laughing their heads off, and giving themselves high fives in celebration of a job well done.

    I’m afraid I can’t agree with your assessment of his intelligence, or of the magnitude of his accomplishment in setting up and directing the Al Qaeda network. It was commonplace in the rest of the world to label Hitler an idiot. Whatever else he was, he was not an idiot. Idiots do not mobilize entire nations.

    I just heard a news report on Zimbabwean hyperinflation. And was reminded of the many similar episodes in recent (including recent European) history. Recent Russian hyperinflation led to the ascendancy of the semi-dictator Vladimir Putin – with the real McCoy, Zhirinovsky, waiting in the wings (paging Stresemann and Hitler, the “beneficiaries” of German hyperinflation in 1923).

    I should hope that We the People will behave in the manner that you suggest. But there are too many historical precedents that suggest, instead, that We will instead lurch towards a Strong Leader (which the nomination of Osama as Dictator lampoons). There are those historians who would put Franklin Roosevelt in the same category as Hitler and Stalin and Mussolini (the dictatorial Supermen of the 1930s). We got lucky that time, because Roosevelt remained dedicated to republican principles, and his dedication was channeled by the examples of his contemporaries.

    We might not be so lucky again.

  3. Wow, OC that is a very powerful (and brave) post imho. And comment.

    I cannot offer a comment to agree or challenge, as I do not know enough about it, but I agree that Osama was (is) no idiot and that they currently must feel they are the “victors” in this war. Certainly the WEst is being brought to it’s knees financially, emotionally, totally. The people are fed up of the expense both financially and in lives.

    I agree also that we cannot self govern and I do not mean “we” the West or the USA but I mean “we the human race”. I don’t think a dictator is the answer. As Quill will bear me out – my standpoint is always a faith standpoint.
    Mankind’s ONLY hope (imho) is God’s Kingdom.

    Whatever our views and beliefs, this is a fantastic post. One of your best.

  4. OC, by no means did I mean that he’s an idiot. Nor Hitler. But the more charisma, the less you MUST rely upon intelligence. And probably vice versa. That’s not to say both can’t be present. In many cases, they are. But if you can build a dirty bomb out of smoke detectors, you don’t need nearly as many people to carry out your plans. And if you can convince an entire nation to pick up clubs and knock their neighbor upside the head, intelligence is just an added bonus.

    Now, the major reason I’m not lumping Osama in with the greatest minds of the current day is because any number of books and movies had a plot that was at least very close to 9/11, BEFORE 9/11. And I’ve been to the movies. I don’t think screenwriters are *that* intelligent. 😉

  5. I’d suggest Alfred E. Neuman, but it appears he’s already firmly planted in the White House.

  6. Cath, thank you. I don’t know about “brave”, though; you’ve heard about the silent one, who is thought a fool …

    Well, IG, I’ve heard (you have too) that ObL messed up his calculations on the load-bearing capacity of the Towers …

    Melli, Mr. Lewis is probably too busy screaming (and he’s good at that, crede expertum) at his portfolio managers.

    Might could be, kitty. Though Mr. Neuman’s copyright owners likely prevented it. He was already having image problems, his magazine having sold him out, and he couldn’t afford to lose any more credibility.

    Way back at the beginning of the Iraq noisemaking, a team of folk assessed Dubya’s intelligence. It wasn’t so bad. But he was deemed unable to sustain thoughts all the way to their logical conclusions. Demagogues of all stripes seem to have this problem.

    TLP, that was positively Swift of you! Be proud.

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