Monday, August 16, 2010

Dysfunctions of government - voters (Part 2 of 4)


This time Bagman is ready and frowns at me when I come in with a sheepish look on my face.

BAGMAN: “Don’t tell me you’ve decided to change your mind about the blog.”

I hesitate. I was thinking of quitting it and going to something else but Sherri seemed interested. Then Nan said something that made me realize I had been looking at things with a one-track mind. Because Government is not about money, and maybe not really about efficiency. It’s about people’s desire to help in areas where no profit-minded organization is going to tread…health, welfare, education, defense. And that’s why I got into it in the first place – to help people.

I’m also realizing that my experience is really limited. I only know a little about American democracy and nothing about all the other democracies in the world.

BAGMAN: “You’re babbling, Mark. You are supposed to be talking about voters.”


BAGMAN: “Yeah! You were going to point out that very few people vote, particularly in local or state elections. And you were going to state that most people who do vote are people who are angry with the status quo…or just angry.”

But I’m no longer sure that is true.

BAGMAN: “Have you read the letters to the editor in the newspaper lately. They are always angry about something!”

But, now, I’m not sure I can make the logical connection that there’s a connection between letters to the editor and people who vote.

BAGMAN: “At least you still agree that almost all political campaigns are negative!”

Well, I guess. At least lately. At least around here.

BAGMAN: “People vote against someone, not for someone else! Where was the Tea Party when Bush was President. And then there are the people who actually campaign to get someone elected. They all have something they want from it – pork, jobs for themselves and their uncles, access to power. Hidden agendas!

I’m not sure that is as true as I thought it was last week. I know that when I started to write this, I was going to make the point that electing people by a majority of angry people who bother to vote lowers the standard and puts idiots in power…but…

BAGMAN: “Yes! Don’t waffle! It’s why idiots get elected and have to come in kicking down everything that’s been done and diverting money to their constituents.”

…But I don’t think that is really true! Now that I think more about it. When did I lose faith in humanity?

BAGMAN: “Do you want me to answer that?”

I’m looking around and wondering where Butler is. I need him to help me escape from the corner I’ve trapped myself in. He’s nowhere to be found. So I just snap back at Bagman – “No! Forget it! You’ve said too much as it is! People are basically good, basically altruistic, wishing to help the less fortunate. Now that I have thought more about this, I believe the majority of people want government to be uplifting and helpful.

BAGMAN: “But those aren’t the people that vote! You told me yourself last week!”

I was wrong. At least I think I was wrong. Bagman is confusing me now with my own words. I stomp out of the office determined not to write anymore about this topic and hoping that Bagman doesn’t press the POST button.

BAGMAN (pressing the POST button): “Muah ha ha ha!”


  1. I purposefully didn't comment on the first post thinking that is was going to be a 4 part cynical look at life, or maybe just a "grass is greener" train of thought. I think that if left to the corporate giants, the less fortunate would have even less because they do not contribute to an increase in shaeholder value.

  2. I think you were right. And in attempting to write it, I've learned a lot about myself --- that I am neither cynical nor greener grass...and in two short days I learned enough about myself that despite, Bagman and/or Butler I don't think there will be parts 3 or 4 and I'll just go back to living, breathing, photgraphing, and being happy.

  3. When you think too hard you make me think and then my brain hurts.

  4. I love your little battles! It's true what "Bagman" says elsewhere too. Politics is a tough topic and you handle it beautifully. More!

  5. At this point, my brain is hurting too.

  6. To me, people who write about politics are either very smart, very brave or very stupid. Now I have to have another category - very humourous!

  7. Who votes?
    Now there's a tough question that a whole lotta campain managers would like a reliable answer to!

    When I commented yesterday I thought of how my argument of the government's interests being non-commercial could be made to disappear. In the short term, the welfare of the people may be a money-loser, but in the long term, what do good health, education, infrastructure, and security bring us? A good economy! = money!

    I do believe, without any evidence, that it's mostly people with more extreme views who vote. People who feel they've got to get their vote in, or the opponents will get elected and the country will go to hell/turn communist/become a heartless corporation. But that's to ignore a huge voting center that wants to stay in the center and keep extremists of all kinds from taking over. So I don't know who votes. Tell us, please!

  8. Of course, if you had some fer-crying-out-loud story of gov gone wrong up close&personal, we'd love to hear it! All specific people and institutions bleeped out, 'natch.

  9. I'm a newcomer to this blog. (Discovered it through Sherri). Just to contribute...I vote every chance I get. It could so easily be taken away. For the record, I'm not angry, not extreme, and harbor a somewhat amused view of the cast of clowns in our government. I do feel, however, that as a country we'll be fine in spite of them. Keep up the good work, kind sir.

  10. I just ragged for 5 minutes and then lost the post comments..... I thinkg the government was listening.

  11. Many Americans have forgotten what others have said, that Freedom is not Free. I have a small perspective having graduated with a poli sci degree. I found that many who do not vote don't because they are simply apathetic. Many others come from families that did not vote and so it isn't in their vocabulary to do so. I enjoyed your commentary very much.