Contributed by Josh Fryfogle
I’ve gotten the question, “Are you gonna run for an office?”
I mean, I am campaigning, so I get it.
“You could end up in a real position someday!”
Well, I am flattered, but, uh… Have you seen what we do to those we elect? Have you seen what we’ve done to families and friends near those people?
We treat our elected officials like fodder for a rumor mill. These people work for us! We are the worst bosses of all time, joining in on the melee. If it weren’t for our short attention spans and general apathy, it would be unbearably cruel to them.
It’s like the modern day Roman Colosseum… of the Mind!
We display their lives, show their weaknesses, curse them, blame them for failure - it’s a bloodbath.
Consider the contempt that might create amongst the elect towards the People - our public servants towards the public. Some unsuspecting but presumably sincere citizen takes on the task of public service, a triumphant winner of an election, cheered along by willing supporters.
Then, everything changes.
We send them off in fanfare, but should they fail, even in their private lives, we publicly shame them!
Nope, not a job I want. We, the Employers, need to do a better job at this self-governance thing.
But we want a hero! Someone to slay the dragons! Someone to lead us into battle!
A symbol of the best of us, a savior to the rest of us!
I imagine the Roman Gladiators must have felt a similar relationship with the people of their time. They were surely treated as gods among men. They probably were indulged in every vice and pleasure, made to feel honored wherever they went, relieved of worldly worries - it must have been great!
Until it was time to be killed in public.
Imagine the feelings they felt, knowing that the same adoring public would cheer at their death.
We see the same mentality among ancient South American cultures, where we’ve learned that they practiced human sacrifice. The ‘victims’ were seen as giving their lives for the community. Public service, if you will.
Now we are not nearly as cruel these days. We’ve toned it down a bit. We don’t kill our heroes to please the gods anymore. We are more civilized, and modern. We just disgrace them publicly, dragging their entire families down from the pedestals we placed them on. And their sacrifice is never sufficient, either. We have these public pedestals, and there will always be more who are willing to be placed there, thinking it will be different for them. And maybe it will. I mean, we’re modern, and sophisticated, right?
We do our bloodletting in other ways, while our leaders play a role that the human psyche is all too comfortable with. It’s human nature that we want our saviors to succeed or die trying. Those trusted few, who we send to battle, to return triumphant or not at all.
Of course this flies in the face of a supposedly self-governed People. This is completely inconsistent with the ideas and ideals that shaped our society. We have simply reverted to our base instincts. And while we are distracted with the spectacle of it all, our real concerns and interests are not served. Not at all. Instead, we get dramatic distractions - bread and circuses.
This campaign - the Vote Local campaign - is a real political campaign. But I hope it’s not like anything you are used to. My role as candidate is my artistic expression, not to insult those who we elect, but to bring attention to the fact that our nation, our country, was supposed to be different. We were supposed to rise above the brutality of the past. We were supposed to realize mankind’s higher functions. Instead, we have reverted to the base barbarism we arrogantly forget is our shared history. My role as ‘candidate’ in this campaign is purely symbolic, not only of our psychological need for a hero, but of the futility of the same.
I am not condemning the People. I am one of you. Your weakness is mine, too. That’s the point of my ‘candidate’ persona. What does it even mean, in a free society, to be elected? Does it mean expanded power or restricted? Does it mean public servant, or public master?
And if we have it backwards, how do we move forward?
Again, I truly believe it is as simple as where you spend your money. That’s your vote, and it counts.
The basis of this nation’s system of government was not to consolidate power, but the opposite. The whole point of having different ‘States’, as referenced in the United 'States' of America, was that the same rule of law for everyone was too blunt, with the brunt bore by the individual. An unbearable burden, the People deserved liberty, and the best way to do that was to diversify the power structure - localizing the power. But more than that, this liberty was further ensured through the acknowledgement of the rights of the individual, given by a Creator. This idea that each individual had certain inalienable rights (or responsibilities) was revolutionary. The American Dream was, and always will be, the entrepreneur who can determine their own future! Yet we cast it aside so blasé, unimpressed with this honorable heritage we’ve been given. We trade it for the more comfortable traditions of blood thirst, televised with the support of corporate America.
But, seriously, how does spending money locally have any effect on this problem? How can I suggest that this problem can be remedied by such a simple action? Further, how can I suggest that base human nature might be reversed by simply spending money with locally owned businesses?
These two topics are not as disparate as you might think.
This nation is "Of The People, By The People, For The People". Instead, we want to give that responsibility to someone else, and hold them accountable when society is askew. We want to get everything we can from the situation, without regard to others. We lack empathy. We borrow from the future, and then wonder why there is poverty.
We blame the poor for poverty. We blame the addict for addiction. We blame the politicians for politics, as usual.
But really, poverty is a condition of a devalued currency - economic.
Addiction is a condition of a black market - economic.
Politics, as usual is a condition of special interests - economic.
It’s all about the money. It’s always about the money. Where you spend it, how you borrow it, how it’s created to begin with…
As I move forward with this campaign, I want you to know that I am not making any promises. I am asking you to make a promise to yourself. And it’s not a big promise. I am not even asking you to take any specific action. I am only asking you to simply think about your purchases, and adjust as you see fit! Think about where your money goes, and what happens with it after you invest it through spending. Consider that you are casting a vote, a real vote, and the system of self-governance that makes our nation unique is still in effect through this mechanism - even while we are watching and waiting for the next trending topic.
While we’re all distracted with Palin, Trump, Obama, or whoever else we can watch squirm under the knife of public scrutiny, that old human nature is showing itself. We might blame the politicians, but in the end it’s We, the People, who will pay.