Saturday, January 28, 2017

This is What (Direct) Democracy Looks Like (Part One)

(If you're new here, this column consists of weekly letters written to my grandchildren, who exist, to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead, and my great-grandchildren, who aren't here yet.)

Dear (Eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

A significant aspect of the apparently never-ending kerfuffle over the Donald's surprising triumph, since the Hilliam won the popular vote, is/was the current revival of the apparently never-ending kerfuffle over whether or not we should close the electoral college and send the students packing.

Is/was? Yes, because while the electoral college is/was a major thing, for a minute, to those that refuse to accept that the Donald is now the POTUS, it's now a minor thing, but, still a thing. The thing of the week (which will probably be ancient history by the time this column moves out of the house) is crediting the Putin (Russians) with stealing the election for the Donald.

1.29.17 Yup, Russian interference has finished it's solo and is now sitting with the rest of the band. The current solo is being performed by the maestro himself. The Donald has added an avalanche of executive orders to his repertoire that he performs while simultaneously tweeting with his free hand. Trump derangement syndrome is loose on social media. The progressive industrial complex is fact checking and op-eding itself into a near incoherent frenzy.

[Aside:Two points. If the Putin Pooteen has the power to pick our POTUS, he's even more clever and diabolical than I thought. Imagine having the ability to tweak our presidential election in light of the fact that we have no national election system in place. The rules governing the popular vote, as well as those that determine which kids will be briefly enrolled in electoral college, are determined by the individual states.

Various and sundry denizens of the Gubmint Gummit have declared their intention to discover how the Pooteen and his malevolent minions managed to manipulate the election results. Personally, I'd like to know if the fact that the Donald decisively lost the popular vote but decisively won at electoral college was a fluke or part of the conspiracy.

Point two. Henceforth, the entity formerly known as the Gubmint will now be called the Gummit. The dastardly dictator formerly known as the Putin will now be called the Pooteen. I've decided I prefer the Gummit to the Gubmint because it rolls off the tongue easier, suggests that the Gummit gums things up, and will enable me to use the phrase dadgum Gummit, if I so choose. (I haven't heard back yet from the R&D department.) 

The Pooteen, in my semi-humble opinion, SOUNDS like an amoral, self-declared czar who thinks nothing of killing off his opponents or any innocent civilians that happen to get in the way.

{Aside to the aside: as regular readers know, or should/will if they remain regulars, I'm all about (among other things) restoring societal civility and protecting/respecting the power of words. I do this by employing my fiendishly clever strategery of avoiding overly harsh words by inventing and/or remodeling and/or substitution. For example, shtuff is much less harsh than shit but more powerful than stuff if you know who its parents are. Dadgum is several orders of magnitude less harsh than God d__n, a phrase so ugly I refuse to write it. (I keep it in a heavily fortified vault and reserve its use for only the most extreme situations.)}]

Dana, my imaginary gentlereader, threatened to resign if I didn't insert this link before moving on. It's a commentary on my aside, and the inordinate pleasure on my part derived from having an aside to my aside.   

And we're back. Thanks, Dana, for at least as long as the link continues to link to something (yet another reason to use links sparingly). The wisdom of giving the electoral college the final word on presidential elections is often attacked as not being democratic. However, as you've probably heard, due to our current demographic situation, without it the entire country would be at the mercy of the population of a handful of our largest cities.

Being well versed in history, the nature of man people, and aware of what was going on in other playgrounds on the planet, the dead white guys who created the rules for our playground went out of their way to come up with a system superior to the typical, crash-prone, direct democracy and we ended up with a relatively robust republic.

Which brings us to the subject of this column, Twitter.

[At this point Dana, Iggy (imaginary grandsticky), and Marie-Louise (my muse), all looked up, startled, from yet another game of Monopoly (it's become a thing) and gave me a look. As you were, sez I, all will soon be revealed.]

I'm talking about all forms of social media really, including the traditional ones, but I choose to focus on Twitter to simplify things.

The founders gave us a republic (representative democracy) to get around the obvious downsides of rule by mob. For example, 51% of us getting together and voting to kill the other 49%. Our republic consists of three power centers that are supposed to "check and balance" each other so that we would have to go to a lot of trouble, at least technically speaking, to commit genocide.

Pre-op stop. Poppa loves you.

It is at this point, Stickies and gentlereaders, that I must apologize and beg your forgiveness. I had a shiny new hip installed last Monday (1.23.17) and the pre-op stop above was as far as this column had progressed before I checked into the hospital. I write my shtuff fairly close to deadline.

Though I knew there would be a part two, it was my intention to write at least a couple of more closely related paragraphs while convalescing this past week. However, while I'm doing well overall, I've been more or less reduced to a semi-zombie with no ambition, less energy. My daily physical therapy and fussing over my swollen hip and leg is nearly all I'm capable of just now. Oh, I also spend time forcing myself to eat (that's a novel experience) and choke down my meds and supplements. The good news is I've watched a bunch of movies and documentaries. Reading (GASP! say it ain't so!) makes me sleepy.

It's taken me all week to write everything after pre-op stop. My energy levels are slowly returning and I hope to have part two done in time but fear not, there's a backup plan if things get ugly.

Have an OK day.