The Glorious Future Of Politics
Twenty-seven years of living, working, and traveling extensively across the USA taught me one ineradicable lesson: it’s impossible to parody the USA.
No matter how absurd, unfortunate, disturbing, or profoundly unhealthy something may be, provided someone somewhere can make money from it then it will become reality. I once wrote a young adult novel for the amusement of my then-teenage daughter in which I invented the donutburger. Two years later I saw an ad for one in the window of a second-tier US fast food outlet. And as anyone who is even vaguely aware of US evangelical preachers knows, even the most outrageous parody pales in comparison with the real thing.
The fact is, the USA is a place where parody is transformed into reality in order to generate revenue.
It is thus most humbly I proffer the future of US politics here in this article, shortly to become an accepted and beloved reality across the United States of America.
As we all know, the essence of representative democracy is that the most entertaining performer gets the most votes. As ordinary people know nothing and understand nothing and quickly get bored by difficult topics, success in any system of representative democracy comes from being able to attract and retain the short attention spans of great masses of ordinary people who just want effortless amusement, ideally presented by a “relatable” personality. Throw in some spectacle and success is assured.
This is why the USA elected an illiterate mindless buffoon back in 2016 with predictably wonderful consequences and why the UK elected a third-rate children’s party clown in 2019, again with predictably wonderful consequences. Both were successful at attracting the attention of ordinary people through their amusing lies and relatable personalities and so the mass media gave them nearly all the coverage in order to generate more juicy revenues. It’s a win-win all around, aside from the tiny insignificant fact that this wonderful system always leads to enormous amounts of national self-harm.
But who cares about that when the upside is so entertaining?
We know that people crave entertainment all the time, but we also know that people crave predictability. That’s why 99% of entertainments are highly formulaic. Viewers can watch essentially the same show over and over and over again, with each individual episode containing just enough superficial difference that those watching can persuade themselves it’s not really exactly the same as every other episode they’ve seen to date. This week’s episode has a new guest cast member! There’s a slightly different joke being told! One of the regular cast is wearing (gasp!) a new shirt this week! But underneath it all: the same old formula providing the comfort of familiarity.
The major reason that so many people were upset by the scenes in Washington DC on 6th January 2022 was because they weren’t yet accustomed to the new formula. Formulae are comforting because they show us exactly what we’ve seen before and thus expect to see endlessly henceforth. So what we need now is simply to embed this new formula into people’s hearts. And it’s with this obvious insight that I offer you the next great reality TV show: Storm The Nation!
Instead of boring old-style primaries where the two dominant political Parties line up boring old-style candidates talking about boring topics, we present a show full of eyeball-grabbing action. Each candidate is given six weeks to tour the country giving incendiary speeches in order to attract a sufficient number of mindless devoted fans. Then they’re given a target: perhaps a Federal building, perhaps a State governor’s mansion. Each candidate must then incite his/her followers to storm the building and seize control, ideally by taking hostages so that demands can be made and concessions extracted from the hapless security services who will naturally be completely clueless and easily defeated.
Each week viewers will see one of the candidates facing up to their task, and votes will be cast based on the most entertaining results. The winner will go on to participate in the Presidential election as the chosen candidate for their particular Party.
The best part about this idea is that while it can begin in the USA and be somewhat honed in that market, it can easily be exported around the world to any country that thinks representative democracy is a good idea.
After a long period of careful consideration (around 30 seconds, maybe less) the mass media will get on the bandwagon thanks to the fantastic revenue opportunities it presents. The media giants both traditional and social will embrace this new and important contribution to democracy and help spread it into every household and onto every device. People will be able to gawp and vote for their preferred entertainer wherever they are, whatever they are doing, at whatever time of night and day they happen to swipe right.
This is true democracy in action!
A tiny number of people may try to protest that governance ought to be more than a contest between clowns and buffoons, but that just goes to show how out-of-touch and elitist such people are. The essence of representative democracy is that no matter how stupid and ignorant a person may be, no matter how incoherent their reasoning, their vote counts! And clearly therefore the more we pander to such people, the more democratic we’re being!
Now I know a few readers will be shaking their heads and thinking, “nobody would be crazy enough to go for it.”
And yet history shows the precise opposite. The USA really did elect a mindless infantile vermin as President in 2016 and the British really did vote for Brexit back in 2016 and confirm that act of national suicide in late 2019 by voting for a grinning imbecile. And the media organizations both traditional and social supported these outcomes by repeating and amplifying every lie told without comment or correction because it was all so good for their revenue streams.
So the fact is, we’re already 90% of the way there. All that’s missing is to formalize matters and generate huge additional revenues by doing so.
What’s not to love? It’s so democratic!
Remember: you read it here first.
Storming The Nation, coming very soon to the screen you’re looking at now.