My observations as a “cultural critic” (as I’ve recently been called) are that we have a system that (1) puts individuals into office with an incentive to achieve short-term results exclusively and (2) through built-in checks and balances, moderates all results to the point of nullity as far as possible (that is, maintains the status quo regardless of who is in office). This is why we can’t expect any president to become a great, heroic, “world-saving” figure.
Thus I see it as my task to make people aware that, if the world is saved, it will not be because we’ve voted for the right individual, it will be because the six billion of us finally wake up to the fact that saving the world is up to us and not to our governments, which must be left behind to do their endless, self-serving maintenance chores while we get on with it.
(I don’t, by the way, believe that this current system will necessarily “collapse in a giant heap of rubble,” any more than the Roman Catholic Church did during the Reformation, when the people of Europe conceived the idea that they could take their personal salvation into their own hands. Our governments perform some useful functions; they’re just not going to perform the function of saving the world.)
NOTE: Though this refers to the 2000 election, the answer is valid about elections and governments no matter what the year. (See question #502 for a related answer about third-party candidates.)
posted: 31 Oct 2000
updated: 31 Oct 2000