Post # 288     PINBALL DEMOCRACY [A pliny essay]

The right of every American citizen to cast an effective vote, is not adequately described as a salient attribute of a republican democracy; it is, in fact, its functional definition. It is only when the traditional, legal and constitutionally protected mandate of “one man, one vote” is an effective reality, that we earn the admirable mantle of a republican democracy.

Of late, we have observed, with great alarm, that such historic description of our democratic nation and its laudable franchise, has been effectively under siege by a metastasizing influence of self-interested, prejudicial and corrosive money interests. The practice of unlimited and unregulated financial donations to the (expensive) campaigns of legislators and government office holders, from a small, but rich and influential, portion of the population, (with the disappointing, and shocking approval of the Supreme Court, in the Citizen’s Union case) has been the “open wound,” permitting the infecting organism to freely enter, thrive and multiply in the body politic.

The fair, utilitarian and democratic system of government, brilliantly innovated by our far-sighted Founding Fathers, has been tactically manipulated by unscrupulous players, whose tactical artifices have been tolerated by sufficient members of our government and legislators, so as make such miscreant and Unamerican practices, part of our contemporarily accepted civic folkways.

Our metaphoric pinball game, in reality, is a traditional feature of a carnival style arcade; points are scored by players’ manipulation of one or two steel balls in such fashion that they tactically strike certain markers and avoid variously located barriers. Wealthy wielders of monied influence, have so gamed our democratic system of government, motivated by profit making or personal prejudice, as to make a veritable travesty of the American democratic system of election, and degrade it to the base level of the manipulative arcade game of pinball.

It may be useful, and illustrative, to outline the techniques, or stratagems, commonly employed in the manipulation of the American voter, and the ultimate vote results:

  • Encouragement of a divisive and destabilizing fragmentation of the population, from national and international sources, on such controversial subjects as gun control, abortion rights, immigration, ethnic and racial prejudice. These topics, admittedly controversial, have been tactically catalyzed by perverse interests, to the degree that the American population has been divisibly separated into two insular, opposing camps, [not necessarily related to any of our established political parties] who vote tribally, in accordance with their group loyalty. This inclination is particularly dangerous, when the tribal support is not doctrinal, but for a demagogic leader. This is clearly, and ominously illustrated, among other examples, by the consistent support of President Trump by the many Christian Evangelical groups, despite his public boasts of purported sexual prowess and personal acts of sexual abuse. Such brand of neurotic etiology of irrational support is truly frightening, and nightmarishly reminiscent of 1930’s Munich, Germany.
  • The cynical and fraudulent practice of “gerrymandering.” Legally, election districts are properly to be divided into residentially representative boundaries, in accordance with the objective findings of the regularly scheduled and constitutional mandated, census. However, experience too often demonstrates the artificial manipulation of the drawn districts, with the unprincipled and undemocratic goal of affecting election outcomes. This pinball maneuver is motivated by a Machiavellian estimation of race and economic class, currently resident in the respective voting districts. The tactically re-drawn maps of voting districts often demonstrate a tortured, psychedelic treatment of geography.
  • Voter interference is cynical, and a diabolical and nefariously sanctioned exercise of local mischief, designed to undemocratically delimit the vote of certain groups who are, in accordance with the pernicious bigotry or political bias of local officialdom, (often as high as the respective Secretary of State, but more frequently exercised by more local pinball officials) likely to vote in their own, as opposed to the official’s, interest. A frustrating miasma of innocuous impediments is strategically created, including the presence, or absence, of a hyphen on a voter’s registration card, or other identification, (albeit not transcribed by the intended voter) or a cynical immigration falsehood uttered to discourage and turn away essentially unsophisticated voters, who are anticipated to cast their votes in opposition to the wishes of the officially empowered pinball wizards.
  • The intentional dissemination of falsity, an esthetic art created and tactically curated by our singular, Commander-in-Chief, under the brand name, “false facts.” President Trump, who delights in his fascistic attacks on the responsible and accurate media, is exclusively credited, and will be historically enshrined, as the creator of the Olympic sport of false- fact dissemination [ for which he will get the gold medal, the silver being shared by certain news commentators, popular to Trump and his perverse merry band, referred to as “his base.”] The art of dissemination of false facts is also practiced by miscreants, internationally and locally, in media such as face book and other electronic programs, as well as certain right-wing newspapers. No one has, to date, recommended an ethical field manual, of any kind, for the sport of franchise pinball.
  • The single- issue voter is not a pinball wizard, or even a pinball player. He is merely a passive spectator of the arcade game, who casts his vote on the sole subject of his concern; whether it be abortion rights, gun control, the environment or immigration. His game, consists of voting for the candidate who shares his personal view on a specific issue on which he is mono -focused. By ignoring the balance of his selected candidate’s platform, such voters distort the communicated message of the election results; and may unwittingly be casting votes which are, in fact, in opposition to their own interest.

Various other iterations exist, other than the pernicious sport of pinball, evidencing misuse of the valuable public franchise, such as biased voting on racial, geographic or religious criteria. These disgraceful instances, together with the actions of the obnoxious and undemocratic pinball aficionados, make the sincere, self-interested and truly honest American vote, unimaginably valuable to the nation, and to the honest, right thinking American citizen. The cynical pinball players and misusers of the voting franchise can certainly be defeated, by a greater number of participatory votes of our responsibly true American citizens.

Keep the faith! [ and vote]


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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