Douglass Adams may have written one of t…

Douglass Adams may have written one of the most amazing social critiques I’ve ever read when, in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, he talked about a democracy ruled by lizards:

“No,” said Ford, … “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”

Now, let’s consider a poll by Rassmussen a few days before our most recent election: 65% of voters would replace the whole Congress, including 82% of the then-minority-party Republicans. Awesome, let’s ditch ’em. We’ve got a majority!

But looking over the election results from Tuesday here in North Carolina, we see that every single incumbent congressman won re-election, discounting that Bob Etheridge has apparently lost by a slim margin (~1500 votes), which just shows the lack of a strong movement to replace him. And those re-elections are split pretty evenly between Republican and Democrats. Even the 82% of Republicans who wanted to ditch the whole Congress came out and heartily re-elected “their” representatives.

Because if they didn’t, the wrong lizard would have been elected.

It’s easy to express discontent with the current arrangement, but when all you have is one alternative that’s inconceivable because the Other Party is terminally Evil/Stupid, you vote for incumbents.

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