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Return to Modest Proposal #2

In which we address:

If there's one thing everyone can agree has been detrimental to the "good of the country" in the last year, it's George Bush's microscopic margin of victory in the 2000 Presidential election. After all, nothing is more painful and unbearable than not being sure who the next President will be; and not only did opinion polls fail to settle this question in June, but the recount controversy kept it going an unacceptable month after TV networks should have thrown up a chart and let us sleep in peace. The delay and suspense caused by such a deadlocked race have undoubtedly done irreparable harm to our nation.

It's clear that for next time, we need to make whatever changes are necessary to ensure that we have an overwhelming victor by 10pm EST. Many methods for accomplishing this have been proposed, including hereditary succession, coin flips, and eating poor people to simplify arguments over taxation. But we think the least controversial method ought to be getting out the vote. After all, more people means more votes, and more votes means more margin of victory, right? Eh, maybe that's not strictly accurate, but we have to get on with this essay, for the good of the country.

However, this simple solution has proven hard to put into practice. Even with efforts by such intelligent, well-informed, serious groups as MTV, the Aryan Nations, and Wal-Mart, voter turnout has remained dismal. Even those little "I VOTED!" stickers don't seem to be luring the citizens in! Apathy is a difficult force to overcome.

And apathy has set in somewhere else, equally dear to our nation's heart: the military. It's been a long time since the glory days of the Cold War and the anti-Communist crusades. Desert Storm did help soothe the itchy trigger fingers of some G.I.'s, but shooting and bombing sand just don't cut it compared to power struggles in third world countries and threats of nuclear holocaust. Aggravating our frustration is the fact that as our activity has gone down, the coolness of our destructive technology has gone up. For crying out loud, we could fire a missile from New York and hit the third button down on an African despot's shirt! We could send a plane into Paris, completely undetected, and leave a pile of perfumed rubble within hours! And what have we actually done with these brilliant advances in science? We've let our equipment rust and bragged about how peaceful we are. It's amazing that we could choose to be so boring.

We want to mobilize our military; we want to get out the vote. Our trademark double solution should now be clear. It's time to deploy our troops right here at home, with loaded weapons, tanks, and full air squads. After all, nothing kills apathy like the fear of being killed! Can you picture a votger with an AK-47 pressed against his temple, lazily neglecting to fully punch through his chad? Neither can we!

No longer will any citizen--no matter how uninterested or uneducated--withhold his voice from the national dialogue. Our democracy values everyone's opinion, and if they're not inclined to give it, that means we're obliged to seize it. The elusive will of the people, currently distorted by a self-selecting voter pool, will be clearly and suddenly revealed by a population that can no longer abstain and survive. And so our final decision will not just be a reflection of those unemployed, retired, and silly people who felt like taking time off on a Tuesday. It will consider the worker too busy to follow politics; the immigrant who can't read the news; the man-child who is entirely ignorant; and the college student who just doesn't care. The leader we appoint will have been chosen by all these people, or at least will be able to claim that he is. No lingering doubts will remain about whether our country's true aggregate interests are represented.

And of course, our solution will bring the fun and guns back into the military. If Vietnam has proven anything, it's that American soldiers love spreading fear and horror among civilian communities. And if that was fun with foreign civilians, just imagine how much they'll enjoy doing it to their own compatriots!

But, you might ask, is this solution feasiable? Granted, it would be a boon to the twin ideals of democracy and military might; but we don't have nearly enough troops to march everyone to the polls. In fact, we only have about 400,000 troops for 300 million Americans. How can we force our whole population to vote with such a relatively small armed force?

Our reply is that we don't need to rule everyone by direct force--we can do so through fear. Random executions can be used to spread the atmosphere of paranoia and helplessness that we need to make our democracy work. All it takes is one family publicly seized and executed, and the entire village will turn out to the polls like never before. It's amazing how efficient leadership can be when it's backed with the threat of instant death.

In fact, assisting the voting process need not be the only way in which we increase the military's role in politics. Imagine how much more smoothly everything would run under a kindly general's iron fist. Partisan bickering, gridlock, pork, and filibusters will make way for complete and utter unanimity and efficiency. If we do a good enough job expanding the military's role, not only will everyone vote quickly and willingly, but the vote count will proceed with stunning finality and rapidity; and whoever is elected will continue the trend of speed, efficacy, and utter submission to the armed forces. Sure, maybe we'll suffer some side effects: the end of due process, periodic coups and bloody civil wars, perhaps having icky terms like "police state" and "totalitarianism" associated with our country. But as far as due process goes, in the end almost anybody can handle things better than the courts, can't they? And as bad as things have gotten for fascist, authoritarian regimes throughout the world, you know what they've never had to worry about? Chad.