A note from the epicenter of the free world

Dear friends back home,

Greetings from the epicenter of the free world. It has been a rather raucous time here lately. It turns out that the term “free world” is meant ironically. Who knew? I get the sense that not everyone here was aware of this either. The “leader of the free world” was not elected by a majority of voters this time around, as you may have heard. Rather, the leader will be selected — according to the Constitution — by a few hundred specially chosen party insiders known as electors. The epicenter cannot be left in the hands of actual voters, the hoi polloi, as the founding fathers well knew. And a lot of current political leaders also seem worried about the danger of majority rule breaking out.

You won’t believe some of other things I’ve learned about the epicenter recently. Here, both winners and losers play to win more than to govern. And when they lose, they claim widespread voter fraud in the hope of spoiling the election. This makes elections in the epicenter a little different than in some of the far-flung corners of the free world. When politicians win, governing is a kind of a sideline that goes on during a day spent fundraising for re-election. Also, did you know that many electoral districts are drawn without regard to geography? They are designed specifically to deliver electoral majorities regardless of popular will. From what I can gather, this is how people here like it because they really like winning.

And get this — national elections are orchestrated not nationally, but by regional bodies made up of partisans. These states and counties enact laws that inhibit the proper counting of votes. Just to keep things exciting, they use voting equipment that is unreliable and outdated. It may not matter about the computer malfunctions, possible hacking, and hanging chads, though. A lot of citizens are excluded from casting a ballot anyway. It’s part of the system here that parties challenge certain people’s voting rights and use a lot of shenanigans designed to suppress voter turnout. It’s that hoi polloi thing, I guess.

While this sounds scary to those of us from lesser-known regions of the “free world,” it is probably nothing to worry about. When I google the term “banana republic” I get a full page of results for a clothing retailer. And there is a great sale on right now!

Hope all is well out there on the fringes of democracy. Don’t forget to write.