The Election Follies

Now that Members of Congress no longer have legislative responsibilities, they have become very creative in how they pursue reelection.  Some play it straight in the sense that they pretend to be serious about eliminating immigration, deporting anyone in the US whose family has been here less than three generations, and gutting K-12 curricula to guarantee the targeted 100% high school graduation rates.

Other Members act like standup comedians, rock stars, and retired sports legends.  Their goal is to be highly entertaining, attract loyal fans, and convince sponsors to invest in their promotional productions.  Few people believe what they advocate, but many people enjoy the farce.  It quickly has become a pastime, like watching Roadrunner or Scooby-Doo cartoons.

To the extent that they report on this at all, the media refer to it as the Election Follies.  Everyone pokes fun at Members’ charades and pretense.  The American public perceives Members to be charlatans and, more simply, jerks.  The population aspiring to be politicians and Members has rapidly diminished.  Not many people want to be seen as village idiots.

In contrast, interest in the real work of government has soared.  Professional schools, for example in public policy, are seeing numbers of applicants rapidly grow.  Young people do not want to play the game of politics.  They want to gain the requisite knowledge and skills to really contribute to society.  They have no interest in the Election Follies as it seems to be a vestige of old-time corruption and chicanery.

It has become increasingly difficult to get qualified candidates to run for Congress.  The incumbents hold onto their seats in the House and Senate.  The average age of Members is increasing by one year per year.  The average age now exceeds 80 and is headed to 90.  Wheelchairs are coming to predominate the House and Senate chambers.  Great attention is devoted to nonsense, for example, the ability of the former Senate Majority Leader to whistle God Bless America. 

In parallel the professional ranks of Federal and State government are becoming increasingly well-educated and motivated to make a difference.  Congress has readily agreed to be a sideshow of incompetents and imposters.  The executive and judicial branches of government have completely displaced the legislative branch due to their complete unwillingness to pursue anything legislative. 

This dilemma has led to a new Continental Congress to reset the balance among the three branches of government.  The Congress convened in Philadelphia in Carpenters’ Hall, the site of the 1774 First Continental Congress.  The delegates quickly agreed on the roots of the problem. 

Elections have been increasingly determined by money, which must be raised privately.  If private campaign contributions were banned, Members’ time would not be dominated by fund raising.  Lobbyists would lose the leverage they gain via campaign contributions.  Legislation would be driven by considerations of the public good, not corporate coffers.

Public financing of elections has quickly become a popular cause on both sides of the aisle.  The eventual Public Financing Act immediately has another effect.  All candidates have the same campaign budgets.  Consequently, media blitzes disappear.  All candidates get their allotted media times.  More attention is paid to articulating political positions rather than spewing misinformation and disinformation.  Over time, candidates are coming to once again being judged on legislative abilities.  Normalcy seems to be slowly returning.

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