Dialing for Democracy

Hey, remember those innocent bygone days of the 2008 election? The candidate with the ears whom I’d barely heard of beat out Hillary and went onto win a second term? McCain sunk his own ship by joining forces with that dingbat who could see Russia from her porch?

God we were naive.

Anyhooo, the feeding frenzy of ’08 inspired me to write a humorous feature for the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor, where I worked at the time. Reading it now, in the light of the shit show our country is in the middle of, I had to laugh or else I would cry (and possibly never stop until all the votes are counted tomorrow night).

I hope you get a little chuckle too…

Dialing for Democracy

My thumb has lost all feeling so I decide to switch hands and continue calling in my vote. I know there are people out there with way more spare time, as well as multiple phones, but I’ve got to get in my two cents worth. Maybe it won’t even matter, but I hit disconnect each time with a little swell of pride.

The year is 2032 and it’s that time again. Time to choose the president of this great nation the only way we Americans know how. Phone in voting, of course. When the powers-that-be realized how much command shows like “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars” had over the masses, our electoral system evolved accordingly.

dialingmadness

Six months ago the latest pool of candidates was formed following auditions from Vegas to D.C. We’re still enjoying tape of the worst rejects between weekly eliminations. There was the congressman from Montana whose moving speech and rendition of “I Am, I Said” were interrupted by his longtime mistress and 12-year-old love child. Well-placed cameras later caught the heavyset woman and the politician’s wife going at it in the parking lot. Yes, he had presidential potential but now the congressman was part of the gag reel with the rest of them.

Thanks to the Buffet law of 2016, candidates could no longer spend millions in advertising in order to woo American audiences. No, they simply had to rely on their charm, singing and/or dancing talents, photogenic quality of their immediate family, and of course, the fickle taste of viewers. A quirky black sheep or closeted skeleton was hardly a detriment to a presidential hopeful; nay, it just added texture and color to the televised competition when a redneck cousin popped out of the woodwork.

Legislation now allowed billions of dollars in advertising to be diverted, not to mention the forests of trees that were saved when political junk mail was outlawed. The surplus money went mostly to education — also provided entirely by television and Internet — and making sure each citizen had enough monitors and modems per household to receive their God-given right to the information highway. With the majority of the workforce operating from home, it really was a win-win situation. In fact, as soon as time’s up for calling in our final votes I’ll be back at the computer fielding angry I-M’s from India. My mom says it used to be the other way around but I find it hard to believe I would call someone in Punjab to discuss my credit card balance.

My eyes drift back to the set as the busty emcee of “The Amazing Race: Presidential Edition” points to the clock in Times Square. Voting is almost over and with today’s technology we’ll know in mere minutes who will be running the most powerful country in the world.

I think it’s going to be close. Dakota Fanning definitely won over the hearts of America with her childhood filmography montage and proposed line of biodegradable hand-held computers. But Ashton Kutcher has age, experience and let’s face it — he blew away the competition during the last round of “I Can Name That Third World Country in Two Syllables.” Even if he didn’t win, his audition tape punking Senator Chelsea Clinton would go down in history.

The election clock ticked off the final second and Jay-Z’s classic mix of “Hail to the Chief” blasted from the speakers. I reached for the remote and fell on my face.

As shag carpet tickled my nose I sneezed and came fully awake. Ah jeez. What a nightmare. To think I fell asleep watching the last of the nasty 2008 campaign ads, and almost woke to a country run by Ashton Kutcher. Although, Bruce Willis would have made a great Secretary of Defense. Yippee kai yay…

PS: I really wrote this EIGHT YEARS AGO with tongue in cheek and didn’t change a word. Kind of chilling. Now go vote, for the love of all that’s holy!!

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