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The Election Choice

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“How can you be a Democrat? You sound bottom-line-oriented.”

Your choice has never been clearer.” Groan.

This is the idea that dominates as Election Day approaches, and it promotes the kind of polarization that has blighted the last four years. However, I have thought of a conversation that might lead to a degree of cooperation. The exchange proceeds like this:

R: “I’m hostile to you Democrats because you’ve spent the last 80 years trying to create a welfare state. All you care about is those sorry people standing on the corner chewing gum and smoking dope while I’ve been working my patootie off to get what I have.”

D: “I represent the ideals of an enlightened society. There are people who need help, and you’re not going to do it because all you care about is money. You think that what you have is a sign of God’s special favor, and you don’t want to share.”

R: “Don’t get after me for making money. The profit motive makes people more efficient, creative, and industrious. It is disciplinary. If a company is not making money, the workers are at fault, and they should be fired or laid off. This is the free enterprise system that has made our country great. Government is trying to ruin it.”

D: “Well, it wasn’t government that tanked the auto industry and caused the financial institutions to bring us to the brink of economic collapse. And all those workers who got laid off were victims of incompetence at the top, not their own malingering. It’s your fault that we’ve had to invest so much in recovery.”

R: “And it hasn’t solved all the problems because government is so inefficient. Everybody knows that. You bureaucrats are unambitious, lower-IQ, paper-shufflers, balling up the works, slowing things down, and getting in the way. And you never get fired no matter how poor your performance.”

D: “Well, here’s one way you could avoid government intervention. If your big corporate chieftains would take a pay cut to keep workers on in tough times, we wouldn’t need unemployment compensation. What are the big dudes making now—231 times the average private-sector worker? That figure was 18 times back in ’65.”

R: “You have no idea the weight of responsibility those guys shoulder.”

D: “More responsibility than the president of the United States? He only makes $400,000 a year. I heard that Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan makes $23 million. That’s up from $20 million after losing $5.8 billion so far this year. Is he going to be fired?”

R:  “Well, that’s an internal decision, you know.”

D: “How much money do you make? Maybe we should pass a law restricting CEO compensation to the presidential level. Everything else will go to shareholders and workers and to investments in innovations that will create jobs.”

R: “I’ll only consider that if you do something to address my concerns about big government.”

D: “We’ll propose a system whereby department heads get financial incentives for creating efficiencies that will enable them to lay off employees. And then those people can work for you.”

R: “What about all those regulations?”

D: “Commit to do the right thing, and we won’t need them.”

R: “We could do that—I mean announce a commitment to do the right thing. What about the welfare state?”

D: “Support birth control and we’ll have fewer children being born into poverty.”

R: “OK, but how about all the old folks?”

D: “Well, the baby boomers are going to die out, you know, and if we revoke that Medicare prescription benefit, it would happen sooner. We’re getting more into alternative medicine anyway. All those high-tech procedures are expensive and prolong life unnecessarily. Some of us need to inherit, you know.”

R: “How do we buy off the pharmaceutical industry?”

D: “Make them the intermediary for legalized drug abuse–excuse me, legalized drug use. There will be enough overdoses among the lower classes, you know, to even further mitigate the poverty problem.”

R: “How can you be a Democrat? You sound bottom-line-oriented.”

D: “Well, the bottom line is that everybody is getting sick of us for not working together on anything at all, and we could both lose out to an independent party.

R: “Good point. The evil you know, I guess.

D: “Yeah. I would miss you.”

2 Responses to “The Election Choice”

  1. Barbara McCarthy

    Ellen!
    The way they started off at opposite places and then came to the middle and then switched places is great! They became each other.

    • celeryellen

      Dear Barbara,

      I’m really honored that you’re paying so much attention, and I love your comments. This is turning out to be a great way to stay in touch.

      Ellen