What were elections like in my day? Not sure I can remember that far back… three hundred years old now — well about. I lose count. Ah little one, I wish you’d been there. Or maybe not — it was the Second Dark Ages back then. Wars, poverty, corruption… Political system? There was no system!
Voting was voluntary – can you believe that? – and many of the voters didn’t bother. And who cud blame ‘em, being politically uneducated? No I’m not makin’ it up. The schools used up time and resources on teachin’… oh… media studies… and creative arts. As if you cud teach creativity! But hardly a word on political theory an’ practice. Nuthin’ on the way we manage our affairs.
And the people who stood for election — many of ‘em had no experience of the world beyond maybe a degree or two. At one point the guy responsible for Business had never even run a sweetshop! And the guy who was Chancellor wasn’t an economist. Anybody could stand, with no qualifications. It was unbelievable. And they called it democracy.
Oh, but it got worse’n that, little one. A lot of these guys who got elected — they were up for sale. Maybe the majority of ‘em. Out loud they’d say they were in politics to serve, but deep inside, it was the money. They’d sell ‘emselves to corporations, maybe for instant reward, or maybe the promise of some future easy number.
That was before the Great Social Reshuffle, of course. Before America came under British rule again. Before the bloodshed. Before the Political Duel was established, and they actually had to risk their precious lives to climb the ladder. These days, you want to be the Big Number 1, you have to slog it out live, on holovision.
No point in speculating how different it might have turned out, back then. Say, with Bush 43 in hand-to-hand combat with Gore or Obama. Or Blair in a duel to the death with Hague. Mighta saved a million lives.
Of course, nowadays, if you’re the Big Number 1 – or one of his or her clingers-on — you have to make your promises come true. And if you make forecasts, you have to be right. Otherwise you get deposed right away. Deposed is another word for dead, sweetheart. After the Legal Duels and Assassinations Act of 2284 . But that’s the risk power-seekers take. Gives ‘em pause. Keeps ‘em honest. About the only thing that will.
Back in 2010, you could be as incompetant and crazy as a sack of snakes, and they’d let you retire… make you a Lord or something… give you a huge pension — for getting it wrong! I tell you, kid, it really stunk back then. But folks were so used to it, they kinda never noticed.
Anyway, I just dropped by to wish you luck for tomorrow. You’re getting your foot on the bottom rung now, and who knows where it’ll lead. Our little Jenny… a junior prefect. With a bit of luck. Just fight like we taught you, sweetheart, and keep out of reach. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep…
And watch out for her left hook.