Friday, August 18, 2006

The echo chamber of politics

So I wonder where his mind is.  Some anonybody commented that my last OutGoing Message [OGM] sounded "slutty".  So I wonder -- what does a heat wave do for him?  Maybe he stays cool and dry because he's an android, but not me.  Hot weather makes me wet and sticky.  It's a fact.  My pores are healthy and active, thank you very much.

In further analysis, this person was kind enough to tell me how my constituents would feel, and informed me that my OGM would lose more votes than it would gain.

So I ran that scenario through my head.  I said to myself, "Suppose I were the kind of city councilor who would run my OGMs through a Vote Counting Censor.  I happen to know that citizens hardly ever call me on city business, but for the four or five people per year who do, I would tailor my personal expression for these total strangers.  Even though I have a lot of fun making up these messages and getting feedback from my friends, instead I'll get stiff and square and humorless because total strangers expect that of their politicians."

Gotta take a crack-up break here.  Ew-w-w, (shudder), HAHAHA, that is SO not me.  And it's a very sad statement about what people expect of their politicians.  But back to the scenario.

Let's say I decide to be a stiff, square, humorless politician, because that's what people expect.  So I squeeze some juiciness out of my personality, and I cut off some quirky edges, and I (gag me) start wearing suits, or at least start wearing underwear.

You like that picture?  Blah, I say.  Oh, but it wasn't YOU or ME we were worried about, was it?  No, on the contrary, we need to be concerned about unknown strangers who might or might not call me, who might or might not vote in the next election, who might or might not get sweaty during heat waves, too.

So I become a stranger to myself in an attempt to appeal to faceless strangers.  The callers would have to be faceless strangers because anyone who knows me really knows me, faults and quirks included.  I either appeal to a person or not, and my little OGMs are not going to change that.

When a person contorts into something strange and unfamiliar to oneself, how do you think that feels?  What kind of strain does that put on one's psyche?  What does it do to their level of tension?

And here's the most important consideration for you as a faceless stranger to politicians who try this: what do you think it does to their voting record?

I'll tell you what went through my mind during this thought experiment.  "I changed into something else to get votes.  It feels shitty, but that's politics.  But now my perspective is changed.  I'm a better person -- spotless, straight and narrow, and I never say 'shitty' out loud.  I get votes because I'm a better person.  And the world needs better people.  So I'm going to pass laws to make everyone a better person."

The inner self says, "Amputating and twisting my parts was painful, but I did it for the people.  It's only fair that the people have to do it now, too."

That's how you end up with a whole country full of politicians and people with psychic amputations and twisted parts, with emotional contortions and chronic tension.

How about we lighten up and laugh a little at harmless eccentricities of politicians (and everybody else, for that matter).  And be very, very careful about giving your vote to a politician who is trying too hard to get it.  That politician's effort will exact a very dear price from you.

Meanwhile, I'll record my eccentric OGMs, and eccentric commenters can tally the vote-getting/losing potential of each OGM, and we'll both get our jollies.  After all this fuss, however, some callers might never even get a chance to hear my steamy OutGoingMessages.  During the hottest, sultriest days of the year, in my uncooled, breezeless, sweltering apartment, I lie motionless on my couch in an attempt to generate least heat.  In this pose, my hand happens to hover near the phone, and when it starts to ring, I pick it up instead of letting it go to message.

Won't miss a beat of scandal, though:  I'll do it in the nude.

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