Thursday, May 4, 2017

Screw the Presidency...we need a Council of Elders!

Imagine being the head of a foreign power right now. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine this. Good. Imagine that you have a set of long standing trade and defense agreements with a country that has a political structure that can change course every four...and sometimes even two...years. Imagine that that country has shown an ability to veer from one sociopolitical extreme to another, depending on the whims of a largely uneducated and misinformed electorate who votes not for who is the most qualified and the most learned, but the most publicized and the most colorful.

How do you feel about this? Secure? Settled? Confident about your future?

Do you feel, perhaps, that your incredibly powerful strategic partner is one who is mercurial at best and is not to be depended on when push comes to shove? Does their recent propensity to elect brain dead demagogues leave you feeling like you should maybe find ways of distancing yourself from this wobbly partner in favor of partners who are more to be relied upon? Like China? Or Russia? Whatever your feelings about who they are and what they do, they are, at the very least, more consistent than your current partner...especially the newly-elected figurehead of your current partner (who seems to change his trajectory more than some people change their socks).

What to do...what to do...

In case you haven't noticed, presidential politics (and well...MOST politics on any level anymore) is not based upon a notion of Meritocracy...a notion that the most qualified, competent, and able are the ones who should direct the ship of's basically a popularity contest...and a contest, increasingly, where the most obnoxiously noisy tend to be the ones that get center stage...and in some cases they even get to have their tiny fingers in reach of that special shiny red button that could vaporize half the planet in less time than it takes to bake a frozen pot pie in the oven.

It occurred to me a little while after the election that there HAS to be a better mode of governance...though I couldn't think of one offhand...until I started looking backwards instead of forwards.

So I thought of an idealized tribal where you actually had people who displayed core competencies and experience and had many years and miles behind them at the helm. Call me crazy, but it seem like more a model of stability than anything we have now.

It seems that if you had, say, twelve people who...regardless of race/sex/creed/color/economic background/gender preference...were the acknowledged leaders in their various fields...who had displayed an unambiguous track record of actual success (not Trump's fake and/or subsidized success), a willingness to lead selflessly, and the ability to work in a wholeheartedly collaborative way for the good of the whole, and appoint them for life, giving them a reasonable monthly stipend and all the basics (to keep them focused on their mission and not on having to clean leaves out of their gutters or whatever), but NOT giving them the ability to use their position to unduly influence various individuals and events in their favor, that you MIGHT have the rude beginnings of a form of government that would actually SERVE the people...unlike what we have now.

Each member would be routinely evaluated on their performance by both their fellow elders, the aforementioned experts in their fields, and the populace in general to ascertain if the job they were doing was serving the greatest good. They would also be “screened” for any sort of past or current improprieties that would compromise said performance...and obviously screening for cronyism and nepotism as well. If they were found to be wanting, they would be deposed and replaced by the next in line...and if they were not found wanting, they could potentially be in their position until they fell over dead of old age. If it were done right, the things about our system that seem to attract nothing but various grades of sociopath could be eliminated and people like Donald Trump could go back to hosting insipid reality shows...or, more appropriately, fishing for used syringes at the bottom of a dumpster behind a poorly-run free clinic in a bad neighborhood.

And this would not just be the model to replace our current national travesty, but one that could be used all the way down to the town level (which is kind of the way it is in many parts...except for the screening for competence and nepotism and cronyism bit...those things could use some work...on all levels...everywhere).

I'm grasping at straws and ignoring vast swathes of human nature by playing with this idea and it's completely futile and I don't even know why I'm bothering to write this...but the national debacle has been dancing around in my mind a lot lately and I feel the need to muse on my way down the huge existential toilet that has become our immediate future.

You may say that I'm a dreamer...

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