28 April 2014

It sounds silly, but for a long time it just didn't occur to me what the
implications would be. Thus spake a college student who agreed to ask
Senator Clinton a planted question. And thus, alas, must I speak as well.

Senator Clinton asked me to impersonate a citizen of the United States,
and I was tempted to play along. The assignment she had marked
"(citizen)" on the script on her clipboard, read:

"A citizen is a member of an electorate. A citizen's job consists of
voting. A citizen may also spend the two years in between elections
thinking about how he or she will vote (but not about who will count the
votes). In between elections, citizens should not imagine they can
influence their representatives. Public demonstrations, lobbying, media
activism, media production, and civil disobedience are not proper
citizen activities unless professionally organized to target exclusively
Republicans. A citizen's loyalty is to his or her Party. For the sake
of your Party you must accept such compromises as voting for a candidate
who supports a massive military and empire that you oppose, or corporate
trade agreements that you oppose, or private health insurance companies
that you oppose, or lobbyists whom you oppose, etc. This is more easily
done when a candidate expresses all possible positions, because you can
then believe the position you prefer and act as though you did not hear
the other positions expressed. Ultimately, a citizen should reach the
full understanding of issues and positions as tools to aid the higher
goal of elections. The greater good of elections outweighs,
surprisingly enough, even genocide, and remarkably enough, even the
maintenance of a credible electoral system! The importance of electing
a president even outweighs the question of whether we will have any
presidents in the future or instead have all-powerful dictators. That's
an issue for each president to work out once the election is won.
Understanding the greater good of the election makes citizens wise
enough to engage in necessary minor infractions, such as pretending to
be reporters. Those who have perfected this talent will find full
employment in the print and broadcast industries, and it is those
industries that should tell the citizens whom to vote for."

When I first saw this assignment on Clinton's clipboard, I was so eager
to be a part of her campaign that I nodded my head in speechless
agreement and peed my pants with excitement. But after several hours I
hesitantly raised my hand and asked the Senator a question:

"Senator Clinton, I'm so thrilled to be able to play the part of
citizen. I've been practicing for it ever since last semester. But I
wonder, and you can tell me if not, but I wonder if it would be just as
good if I played it in the way that I had in mind when your goons
offered me the free ticket and stuck me in their van. Specifically,
could I base my performance on the role I find in the U.S. Constitution,
in the writings of our founding fathers, in the teachings of the most
useful and beneficial Americans of the past 230 years, and the lessons
of democratic successes from around the world? Would that be OK? Can I
devote most of my energy to influencing our government in between
elections? Can I put a focus, when appropriate, on the one process that
the Constitution brings up 6 times and takes the time to explain to us,
namely impeachment? Can I force my views in any way possible into the
corrupt corporate media monopoly that your husband bequeathed us? Can I
go to jail for justice when I believe it will save others from harm?
Can I refuse illegal orders and unconstitutional laws? Can I tear down
the fences around the free speech zones and the $2,000 campaign dinners
and declare the entire land of the free and home of the brave a free
speech country? Can I stop giving you and your media friends all my
money, and instead invest in creating new media outlets free from
corporate interests and advertisers? Can I vote for individuals, rather
than for parties? Can I base my vote for an individual on what I think
he or she will do of substance if elected? And if my television tells
me to vote for one candidate, and makes a joke of a second candidate,
but I don't consider the first candidate worthy of cleaning dogshit off
the second candidate's shoes, can I go with my heart instead of my
television? I'm just asking."