The Popular Vote

On a very dark night, Mayor Wrong, the sinister power-lusting mayor of Small Town, stealthily snuck outside and dug a gigantic hole, eight feet deep, on the east side of town. Soon the East Side residents began to fall into the hole, until the entire East Side population, 51% of Small Town, was in the hole.

“We have to climb out!” proclaimed one resident.

“Yes!” agreed another. “The West Siders are all working and travelling and enjoying their lives, and we’re stuck here. Yes, let’s climb out!”

Mayor Wrong loomed overhead, looking down from the edge of the hole. “People of the East Side,” he began. “I came as soon as I heard you were stuck in this hole. I’ve consulted my administration, and I regret to tell you that you will not be able to climb out on your own and must rely on me and my team to implement a long-term strategy to allay your rut in life.”

“Oh my!” cried the residents. “We can’t climb out!”

“Please, fear not my East Side constituents, for I, Mayor Wrong, will provide for your needs while in the hole. I will tax the West Side, and with that revenue provide you free housing, food, healthcare and… something special… something that even the West Siders don’t have… drugs!”

The East Siders cheered for Mayor Wrong and began to live out their lives in the hole. Every now and then, one of them would suggest climbing out, only to be met by, “Why should we?! We get everything we need for free from Mayor Wrong, while the West Siders have to face challenges and work for what they own. And besides, you heard Mayor Wrong, didn’t you? There’s no way out for us.”

As time wore on, the East Siders conducted their daily routines in the hole in a zombie-like trance, no longer questioning why they were there or whether they should try to climb out. Meanwhile, the West Siders grew increasingly angry and frustrated, as their earnings were progressively reduced to pay for what they called a “free ride” for the East Siders.  Some even began to feel so powerless, that they walked to the East Side and jumped into the hole themselves!  As for Mayor Wrong, he administered the internal revenue paid by the West Siders, so he compensated himself with a 7-digit salary and even managed to syphon a few more million from the bureaucratically cryptic ledgers into some secret off-shore bank-accounts. Oh, Mayor Wrong loved his job and was not above whoring his soul to keep it.

Later that autumn, an election was held to choose a new mayor of Small Town. A challenger rose up from the West Side to run against Mayor Wrong. One week before the election, the challenger made a speech in which he said, “I speak now to you, the East Siders. You CAN climb out of the hole. You have ALWAYS been able to climb out of the hole. There are jobs and opportunities waiting for you on the west side, and once you’re out of the hole, there will be nothing to stop you from making your own opportunities. You can develop your own businesses and parks and infrastructure that will not only enrich your lives as East Siders, but will attract West Siders into your neighborhood to buy your goods and services, bringing with them cultural diversity and new ideas.”

The challenger continued, “I promise that if elected, within one year I will discontinue all free housing and social welfare currently disbursed to the hole. This will give you the time and incentive to climb out and reclaim your lives! But most important of all, you must once again believe in yourselves… and NOT what Mayor Wrong tells you.”

On the morning after the election, Mayor Wrong grinned as he watched the results on the morning propaganda shows. He won the election with 51% of the vote. The East Siders had grown accustomed, if not addicted, to the free housing and welfare that Mayor Wrong provided them. Why on earth would they vote for someone who wanted them to climb out of that hole?

So, in the end, they once again voted Mayor Wrong into office, never knowing that all along it was he who dug the hole in the first place. Peace, love, dove homies.

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