A Small Medium @ Large

November 21 – I read the news today, oh boy. It says that the ongoing impeachment hearings are meant to remind voters that our vast and expensive governmental bureaucracy is sometimes necessary. Like it or not, “the quid pro quo racket is best left to those who have the professional qualifications to run one” embedded sources indicate. 

True enough. Isn’t life challenging enough for most of us?  Ferreting out criminal acts here and overseas is not something we should attempt to orchestrate at the household level. Remember, it takes a two party system for selective exposure to the truth to work, as retroactive innovations impacting the Ukraine now attest. 

No, corruption is a moving target and discerning who is, and is not, above the law requires an education most of us can only speculate about. Still, watching a House Congressional process go bonkers in search of a crime does not absolve cable news consumers of all responsibility. In the spirit of entertaining the truth, today we will further probe for ways to add some mirth to the taxpaying customer’s experience.

Take my recent reporting of a suspected Presidential leak which comes from sources who know tidbits when they hear them. It out-bombshelled other local media competitors. It was “perfect.” Not that standard-setting is easy. Journalistic integrity requires first recognizing the commercial implications, so skipping any facts and details that readers regularly deem irrelevant remains a high priority.

Modesty keeps me from fishing for credit here. But I’ve watched my efforts to convince the public that Trump is a Russian agent spread to the point where just the suspicion of circumstantial evidence for dirt –  once limited to a national television audience – is now an accepted narrative goal in all walks of life. 

My Post-Swamp predictions now aim to soar still farther. Do we even need a physical House and Senate? Why all the brick and mortar in our online world? At a time when it’s so much easier to stay home to place an order for everything from pizza to sofas, under what circumstances do we absolutely have to stand in line to make a vote? Experiments in sanctuary cities prove that we do not.

Big Picture: About half of Americans don’t vote in mid-term elections already, something we can take as a sure sign that the physical structures of government have run their course. What happens if they hold an election and no one bothers to vote at all?  Congress should be worried.

“I remain optimistic about reform,” said a frequently-respected politician from Missouri. He – or maybe it’s a she –  insisted that the following interview remain off-record and that names not be used.

“We’re trying to figure out how to adapt to changing times. Voters need to be reminded that Congress has never been just a store for defeating or vindicating Donald Trump. We’re also the distribution point for products and services that our corporate industrial complex –  think both domestic and foreign –  needs to thrive.”

“So if I understand this,” I reply, “you’re saying it’s important, going forward, that rational voters should view government as a showroom that provides customer inspiration and style guidance, both. Like a giant 3-D real-time catalogue?”

“You bet,” he/she replied. “The impeachment hearings indicate that voters are getting harder to entertain. So you’d keep the voting booths, OK, but eliminate the need for ballots. Make the results Real Time. Otherwise, they’re gonna think ‘Why keep doing this?’ The idea needs a cinder block strapped to the accelerator.”

“Some of my colleagues,” he/she continued, “want voting centers with mechanical bulls, rock climbing walls and oversized photo booths. The challenge is to make government appear both fair and relevant to younger generations. Like a mega church, but with no selfies or prayers allowed within 100 feet of the actual booth.”

“Well,” I replied, “I could see it working as an alternative to a pure online approach if there was a live DJ. I’d image there would be height limits?” 

“We’re studying it. The goal is to create a memory designed to forge a shopping relationship that endures to Election Day and beyond! Our internal polling shows that it’s critical for retail politics to offer its customers more than just a Black Friday type opportunity, but an experience of searching for the truth.”

“But . . . but,” I stammered. The lawmaker’s flash of imagination had momentarily startled me. “Critics say that there’s a disconnect between e-commerce expectations and party-run storefront operations. The gap is too big to overcome. Influence peddling will never compete on the street level. It’ll take a basket of incentives to get voters to physically participate in their own future.”

“It’s hardly a cakewalk,” he/she agreed, “particularly in times when online margins are smaller and customers are balking at retail politic costs. That, plus the fact that margins for lawmakers will always remain healthy to the point of embarrassment. But, the politico pressed the appearance of change has got to come sometime. And with data on everybody it’s all got to fly in a court of law.”

I know that many Herald readers will remain skeptical. How will this hybrid work? Especially now that technology can show what we’d look like in clothes based on measurements we provide, and we can video game entire nation states in our homes onscreen. Today, everybody’s left asking themselves “Why do we need a physical storefront in Jeff City?”

The politician read my thoughts. “Picture the capitol building as a money maker! Turn it into a destination location, just like a riverfront casino, only run it to make a public profit, see. Think Democracy’s newest theme park. Whistleblowers Run! Friendly Fire in the Hole! Big Thunder Mountain of Legislative Hostages! Recusal Follies! Show Boat Trials! Not My Monkeys! Tower of Waste, Fraud and Abuse!”

“I get it!” I shouted. A startled pigeon flies from sculptor J. Steward Johnson’s nearby Statue to a Recovering Politician. Recently shipped from a Chinese foundry, it shows a weak, exhausted Missouri Governor getting a saline drip following an hours-long attempt to stand firm in his convictions.

Sorry, I tend to emphasize the obvious when excited. She/He continued: “And The Mueller Roller! The Chew Gum and Walk – it should be a toss and dunk affair. It’s the People’s Park concept done right.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought of walking into oncoming traffic to memorialize this liberating moment.

“Please calm down. The trick to surviving in the new convenience reality is competing on the service experience level. Our traditional circus act can introduce new products.” The public servant then lowered its voice to a near whisper.

“Apple stores are full in any mall. The consumer can try new products, ask questions of knowledgeable sales associates, and learn how to use them. If Congress is to compete, you should be able to purchase it there as well.”

It was a good interview. Understood, but left unspoken, was the fact that it’s harder to keep the consumer on your webpage if you don’t grab their attention in the first 5-10 seconds. Younger generations long ago realized that America’s been watching fake news since marijuana was banned 82 years ago.

The problem, as this Medium sees it, goes beyond which party is chosen to save us from ourselves. The current roster of presidential candidates totally proves that way too many elderly Americans are keeping active by maintaining a death grip on politics. To facilitate any transition, these dinosaurs would be quietly moved to a single story Ranch Capitol and kept off social media. But they’d still be the only ones allowed to misappropriate funds, to keep it all constitutional.

Bottom line: If you can’t get from crazy, to Stormy, to collusion, to quid pro quo, to bribery and extortion, plus throw in tips for testifying fast enough, you’ll lose younger voters and may never get them back. Retail politicians must give them the same info and discounts as if they were standing in their own store.

That, and the Democrats and Republicans are going to have to learn how to better differentiate them, or their, selves. Chop-chop. That’s the forensic take-away.