The faraway land of the Unruly and Strange Administration (U.S.A) had long been known amongst the members of its galaxy for its unruly and strange administrative policies. 5000 years ago, a senile but well-loved ruler of the nation took it upon himself to rewrite the constitutional laws that had governed his country for millennia. Inspired by the ancient Broadway show Hamilton, he decided to institute his own system of voting democracy in his country. “Our nation will be the freest democracy that has ever lived!”, he declared. Due to his professed enthusiasm for fun and enjoyment, he decided that all parties should be led by people who were popular and could put on a good comedic show for his citizens when the nation was met with dire situations like famine or the mythical economic recession of 2008. What better way was there to make sure his citizens were happy, he thought, than to ensure that the leader of the U.S.A. would always be a professional jokester — a clown, one might say? He knew that a good leader needed to be able to make his people laugh. Upon feebly muttering the words “democracy”, “clown”, and “none of this will affect me anyways” to his scribe, the old ruler rolled over and died.
The people of the U.S.A. were devastated by this turn of events and saw to it that their beloved ruler would go down in history, and that nothing he said would ever be questioned or rewritten. For centuries, they continued to elect the sons and grandsons of their beloved old ruler, priding themselves on not only their individual loyalty but the loyalty of the entire nation to the legacy of this man who had changed their lives. With each generation, the sons became funnier and funnier, coming up with innovative and fresh jokes such as “Why did the chicken cross the road?” and “Knock knock, who’s there?”. To compensate for the lengthy time they spent laughing at their leaders’ jokes, the citizens of the U.S.A. worked harder and harder each day during their working hours to make sure they could support their families as well as the national leader’s comedic pursuits. The U.S.A made a name for itself as one that upheld its original naming, and the other leaders of the galactic planets looked on with equal amounts of amusement and bewilderment.
However, this happy state could not last forever, and slowly the sons of the original leader of the U.S.A became less popular with the citizens of the country due to the strange and whimsical policies the leaders were implementing. The streets started to become filled with whisperings of the possibility of electing new leaders. Young people with big dreams started to get a twinkle in their eyes, thinking that maybe they too could train for a career in comedy and government and become head of the freest democracy in the galaxy. When the administration heard these rumblings of revolt, they knew they had to do everything they could in the two years before the next election to stay in power. After all, every leader in the nation’s history had maintained power until they retired from old age. It would be unforgivably embarrassing for the current leader to lose power due to a vote.
When it came time for the election, the administration was ready to make sure nothing would go wrong. Of course, they loved democracy and giving everyone a chance to vote. The only thing they were doing was making sure that some people had an easier time than others voting — but no one was being actively stopped. They purchased new high-tech voting machines that only listed one ballot option until the user entered a secret password. They instituted a new policy where voters had to pay $5 to unlock other candidate options once those options were revealed. And in exchange for signing lifetime contract working overtime shifts in government administration, voters could purchase a lifetime option to vote for other candidates. “We believe in fairness and democracy,” the leaders said. “We just believe that you have to work hard to get the things you love.”
With every subsequent election, the leaders implemented new measures to keep their family in power. The results of the elections always turned out to be 51%-49% in their favor, forcing them to stay on their toes to think of new creative solutions to their problem. When voters in certain areas all decided to combine forces and vote against the leadership, they built 10ft high walls in their neighborhoods to split them up and group them with status quo supporters. They also made sure to monitor when their dissidents were busy working and only opened the polls at that time. Sometimes all of this still didn’t work out in their favor, so the leadership decided to throw these particularly annoying people in prison instead.
The people finally decided to put their feet down and create a project to stop this from happening. They phoned and interviewed people who had been trying to stop all of this voter suppression from happening for centuries and learned from their advice. They decided that they needed to split up their forces because the country was simply too big for all of them to tackle at once, and they needed to reach as many citizens and legislators as possible. After they split up, they started getting to work. In each of their individual communities, the organizers started hosting sessions in community centers where they distributed new and easily accessible ID cards to dissident voters, and they introduced ballots to try to get some of the millions of dissidents who had been locked up out of prison.
The ID card programs were extremely successful and the voter registration rate grew tremendously, setting a new record of citizen engagement that had never been seen again since the passing of the original ruler of the U.S.A. But close to the presidential election day, the organizers woke up to terrible news. They had mistyped one of the names on the ID cards, and the administration had quickly snatched up the misprinted card and spread its photo as well as the names of the organizers across the entire galaxy. “They are trying to ruin democracy,” the leaders said. The organizers were called fraudsters and decried for attempting to create a legion of voters using fake IDs to overturn the government. They were named enemies of democracy and all the ballots that they had worked hard to introduce in their communities were annulled immediately.
Perhaps the worst outcome of it all was that everyone who had signed petitions to get the ballots to be passed and every single citizen who had registered for an ID card through the organizers’ community sessions was immediately identifiable by the leadership as potential dissidents. People who did not already have access to ID cards before the programs were generally poor and enemies of the leadership, so it was easy for administrators to make this kind of distinction. All organizers and voters who had been exposed as enemies of democracy were thrown in prison and put to work there to revitalize the economy and teach them a lesson about trying to obstruct the will of the people.
“It’s all just a big joke,” said the president. “Those people didn’t matter anyways.” He pointed to the incredible economic growth that had happened since prison labor had begun to be used to produce basic necessities. All the remaining citizens laughed along at the unruly and strange way that their beloved president had managed to save the day again.