L. Neil Smith's
Number 196, October 28, 2002


Show-Me "Horrible Spectacle"
by Mark Lamoree

Special to TLE

Some spectacles are so horrible as to compel one's attention. Traffic accidents involving a great deal of blood, and astoundingly obese people jogging in gonad-revealing spandex are examples. So is the Talent-Carnahan race. Consider the main players in all their glory: Jean Carnahan, a woman placed in office after Missourians elected her dead husband. Jim Talent, a man with all the presence of Jiminy the Cricket, and the principles of a time-share condo salesman. Every commercial break here in Kansas City is plagued by ads in which the candidates snipe at each other and hurl accusations of hypocrisy and malfeasance. The spectacle is made more entertaining because each is exactly as contemptible as their opponent says.

It is a cliche to point out that elections presenting a "choice" this unappealing do not bode well for democracy. Cliches are, however, frequently accurate. One wonders, upon seeing these two at work, if this is really the best we can do. Are these the people we want to represent us in government?

That is, of course, the rub. They do not represent us. They represent themselves, and the parasitic class that survives by expanding their hegemony over every facet of life and every corner of your pocketbook. And they continue to get elected. One can protest by voting Libertarian (as I will do this year, as every year), despite the fact that they have the same chance of victory as...one wishes to say a dead man, but dead people win elections in the Show-me state. One can also choose not to vote, and sacrifice the chance to exercise one's chance to say "no" to the legions of bureaucrats.

We need another option. The end result of suffrage must not be a chance to choose between self-righteous nannies that will raise your taxes and sanctimonious twits who will raise your taxes. Therefore, I offer a simple proposition: every ballot in a nation-wide congressional election should have an option marked "none of the above." It must be a real option, and a meaningful vote. A majority of NOTA votes would require that the election be re-held with new contestants. Incumbents do not get to remain in office while the election is re-held.

I foresee several objections to this idea: the first, and most sensible, is that legislation would be committed in the absence of full representation. Fine. No legislation will be passed without a full congress. This will lead to another objection: that no legislation will be passed at all. Some see this a negative, although I fail to see why. It seems to me that we have enough laws; how many must be pass before we are done fashioning a new republic. Allowing congress people to legislate just encourages such anti-social behavior.

This is, of course, a radical and unworkable idea. Still, if the republic is going to continue, something must be done. Limitations on the power of government have one major flaw: they must be administered by government. This is like asking a dingo to kindly refrain from eating babies left in the Outback. So we are left with the problem-the shit must stop if the noble experiment is not to fail, but no one seems to have any workable notions about how to stop it. I'm open to ideas.


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