Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Breakfast Club

It’s the day after election day in the craziest and most undesirable presidential election any of us have ever seen. Since Just a Smidge is not a political column, the only endorsement you’ll find here is for the Nacho Party. We love nachos here, and this is nacho political endorsement. I’m not here today to discuss the candidates or the new president, even if you wanted to, which you really don’t. You just want a drink. Go get one and come back. I’ll wait...


Even if I wanted to discuss how deeply ridiculous and troubling the quality of this presidential race was - which I don’t - that would be the wrong thing to worry about in this process. We should really be focusing on how ridiculous our election system is.

Don’t even get me started on the electoral college. Seriously, I can’t start. I don’t know what it is or why it is whatever it is. I was apparently absent during that day/week/month of middle school or junior high or high school or college when I was supposed to be taught how this whole thing works.

What I do know about it is that if you live in a state that doesn’t agree with your political views, it totally invalidates your vote.

Imagine this scenario. Ten people are trying to choose a movie to watch. You vote for Movie A, but you are sitting on a couch with four other people and three of them chose Movie B. The other couch had four people choose Movie A and only one chose movie B. Your Movie A won the popular vote six to four, but since your couch can only hold five people, and the other couch can hold eight, you all have to play Jenga instead of watching a movie. That’s how the electoral college works.

But never mind that. Just put that out of your head because there’s nothing we can do about the electoral college. Majority voting is unthinkable, and besides, counting every single vote, preventing people from voting twice, and preventing non-citizens or people who aren’t registered to vote from voting in this day and age is completely unrealistic.

We simply don’t have the technology. It’s not like we all have unique numbers assigned to us at birth that could be tracked in some sort of electronic database or something. That’s just crazy talk. Hang on, let me use my phone to track the exact location of my UPS package real quick...

OK, I’m back. That only took four seconds. What were we talking about? Oh, yeah. We don’t have the technology to get rid of the electoral college. Let’s focus instead on the fact that we have a multiple political party system where only two of the parties ever get to debate for your vote. Sure, Washington D.C. likes to placate you with some preliminary debates with a stage full of candidates, but come closer to election time the “presidential debates” only feature two out of the six candidates.

If they let all six candidates debate, you the voter might screw up the nice two-party system they love so much. It would be a whole lot harder to funnel all those tax dollars into their brother-in-law’s pockets if a bunch of Libertarian or Peace and Freedom party losers were hanging around D.C. watching what’s going on.

Since the two-party system is the only way to keep all the money and power in the hands of the little club that knows what’s best for you, the lowly voter, it’s best if they don’t let you get too out of control with a lot of choices.

Think of it in terms of breakfast cereal, since it’s harder to do this example with nachos.

You can only have one breakfast cereal for the next four years, but since this is a free country, you get to choose. There are at least six cereals to choose from. One out of six is pretty good odds. You should be able to find one you like.

OK, let’s get to taste-testing.

Great. Here are your two choices.

Wait, what about the six?

We decided you didn’t need to sample the other four.

But I wanted to try all six.

No. Two is enough for a taste test.

But you didn’t even let me choose which two I get to taste.

These two are our best sellers. Just taste these two.

But I want to taste all six.

We don’t have the time or the money for all that tasting.

That’s ridiculous. Just give them to me and I’ll taste them all.

No can do. Just taste these two here and choose one.

What if I don’t like either of them?

No problem. You can always choose any one of the six.

But I have no idea what they taste like!

Look at the boxes.

How do I know what’s inside?

We labeled them for you.

That’s ridiculous. I can’t choose without tasting them.

You have to pick.

This is ridiculous.

It’s time.

Well, crap. I guess I’ll take this one.

Sorry, you’re on the wrong couch.

That’s the U.S. election process, folks. Until we vote them ALL out, nothing changes. Enjoy your crap-tastic flax nuggets with extra yellow dye number five.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2016 Marc Schmatjen

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