“We hang the petty thieves, and appoint the great ones to public office.” –Aesop
“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” –Emma Goldman
“The problem with political jokes? Too many of them get elected.” –Unknown
Eons back, I took a theater class … and no, not with Sophocles, thank you, nor Shakespeare either … It never helped my acting, damn it, but I enjoyed this story. According to my professor, in the many stadiums and ampitheaters throughout the Roman Empire, archaeologists generally find remains of emperors’ statues. Statues with removable heads. That way, whenever an emperor died, er, left office, only the heads had to be replaced. Thrifty folks, those Romans! Meet the new bboss … same as the old … Now why do you suppose I keep remembering that, in this election year?
Candidates and slogans change. Campaign styles and strategies change. But the system, which no ordinary people seem happy with, remains. Profit, privilege and power for the very few, with a perfunctory, unconvincing pretense of freedom and equality for the rest of us. And the merest whisper of a hint of a promise that we might, just possibly, better our circumstances … if we shut up and soldier. The state lottery gives us better odds! Maybe.
To vote, or not to vote. is that the question? Trouble is, we do not “get to vote” on the most important things. Who will be president, who will be state legislators, who will be county coroner — a position so thankless or unglamorous it usually has only one candidate. Does any of it matter? We appear to think so. But perhaps we merely catch the urgency fever from those who stand to benefit in some way from a given outcome. And I keep wondering … are we actually doing more than swapping interchangeable figureheads here and there, while the empire just keeps rolling along? Some days, I’m just not sure.