Friday, January 29, 2010

It's 2018. Do You Know Where Your Democracy Is?

Last week, the Supreme Court awarded an inanimate object—business—the rights of a human being. The upshot is that this entity now has the ability to exert unlimited influence on elections. Taken to its logical extreme, last Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling could reduce the US to a corporate-run business state. 

Only the appearance of a democracy will remain. PR and image are still important, regardless of the truth. Or perhaps because of it.

The scene is 2018. The setting is the office of Tom Politician, incumbent senator. He has just received a visitor, a henchman from the Deity Group known as Jack Business.

TP: Jack.

JB: Tom.

TP: What can I do for you?

JB: You know what you can do for me, Tom.

Tom winces a bit, pauses.

TP: The public was on me. I had to throw ‘em a bone.

JB: Is that the best you can do?

TP: They were watching me. I had to do something.

JB: This is a very disturbing trend, Tom.

TP: It was just one vote.

JB: That’s not why we back you.

TP: I had no choice!

Jack says nothing, and circles Tom’s office slowly. He lets the silence weigh on Tom.

JB: You always have a choice.

Tom sighs, runs his hand through his hair.

JB: We require absolute compliance. And now we feel like we didn’t get what we needed from you. And that makes us angry.

TP: I've removed labor statutes. I've dissolved regulatory agencies. Consumer protections don’t exist anymore. I've derailed greenhouse gases legislation and sidetracked clean energy initiatives. I’ve done everything you asked. Jesus Christ! You guys can sell poison and call it chocolate milk and no one can do a damn thing about it! What the hell do you want?

JB: You have done a good job for us, Tom. And that’s why we’re so disappointed.

TP: I can’t vote the way you want one-hundred percent of the time. I’m being watched.

JB: By who?

TP: The public!

JB: They’re nothing to worry about. You know that.

TP: You don’t understand. They know what’s going on.

JB: This isn’t a debate, Tom. Vote the way we tell you to or you’ll have a very well-funded opponent next election.

TP: You don’t get it, Jack. This isn’t 2010 anymore. The VR games, the five-hundred channels of 3D permeable video don’t mean anything to them. They know what happened, and they're angry. You forget that I hear them. Uncensored.

JB: This is a bad time to get a conscience Tom.

TP: Look, don’t listen to me. But I’m telling you—something’s going on. They’ve figured you out.

JB: Soft control would only last so long. We knew that. It’s evolution. It’s inevitable. And we’re prepared. Our social engineers are preparing new controls now.

TP: So everything’s fine, eh?

JB: The question you need to ask is what side you want to be on. Controlling or controlled?

TP: Every empire has its rise and fall.

JB: Been reading the history books again?

TP: Maybe you should take a look at one sometime. What goes up, must come down.

JB: I’m glad you understand that, Tom. We’ll be in touch.

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