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True Blue Door

True Blue Door's Journal
True Blue Door's Journal
October 31, 2013

Should the ceremonial duties of the Presidency be a separate, non-governing office?

This doesn't sound like a very compelling issue at first glance, but look deeper. A lot of a President's time is taken up doing things that have absolutely nothing to do with Executive governance: You'd be shocked and appalled by how much time Presidents have to spend in state dinners and receptions, not to mention en route to or from such functions, and actual "Presidenting" normally has to work around these things. They might be canceled in an emergency, but otherwise it's a big hassle requiring a delicate ballet. And I have to wonder if it's at all necessary.

Part of the advantage held by constitutional monarchies is that they have a ceremonial leader who handles all the pageantry and foofaraw without exercising any real authority, and then an elected leader who manages the executive and governs along with the legislature. For instance, the Prime Minister of Great Britain has more time to personally spend on policy, working with their appointees, and working with legislators than a President of the United States does.

Obviously we don't want a monarchy, but maybe it would be useful to at least separate the ceremonial functions currently handled by Presidents into a separate, non-governing office. After all, none of those things has anything to do with the Constitutional duties of the Presidency, so it wouldn't even require a Constitutional amendment. In fact, a President could make it happen arbitrarily with an Executive Order establishing a ceremonial office.

It's true that to a minor extent the Secretary of State can do some of this stuff, but not really - that office doesn't really hold any ceremonial gravitas, and the American people don't invest it with any particular significance. And also it's a real Cabinet position with important political and diplomatic responsibilities, so it too would be compromised having to spend too much time on ceremony. So think about this: How about a Master of Ceremonies of the United States of America (M.C. USA)? In fact, since it holds no legal authority, you could maybe have it be elected in some kind of American Idol-style informal election - perhaps with some high majority threshold so that they really do represent our national spirit and are a unifying presence.

Their job would basically be Entertainer in Chief: A showpiece figurehead representing our culture (such as we have one), who flies around the world getting their picture taken and announcing good news about totally uncontroversial things while the President focuses on actually accomplishing things. Since the sort of people who would be elected MC USA would probably already be filthy rich pop stars, we probably wouldn't even have to pay them that much out of taxpayer money. And the fact that they might embarrass us by doing the sort of things celebrities do would just add to the fun.

Some ridiculous celebrity in a silly outfit would represent us to the monarchs and other figureheads of the world, superficially confirming every stereotype about childish Americans...and yet in reality our government might actually be a little more effective because the President could focus on real things. I think it would be brilliant, and a lot of fun at minimal cost. And, of course, there's no reason that an MC USA might not actually be a smart, charming person who would positively contribute to our image. For every laughable, drugged-out celebutard who ends up in the office, there could be another who is an artistic genius who everybody adores.

We're already represented to the world by our pop culture to a major extent, so why not just make it official? Also, it doesn't have to be someone from music. Movie and TV stars might also be game, as well as comedians, athletes, and other people with a high cultural profile. I'm totally serious - this could work, and would get politically apathetic people involved to some shallow extent in a quasi-government function. Maybe it could be a "gateway drug" for some of them to get involved in real politics.

The 50 states could also do their own version of it: Have an MC California, MC New York, MC Vermont, etc. Like a poet laureate, but elected and actually relevant. The whole thing would be like a trivial, highly entertaining, completely republican (small 'r') version of figurehead monarchy, with all sorts of pageantry, costumes, and other nonsense specific to the given office. And while the dumb people are distracted, some actual governing could occur in the Constitutional offices.

What do you think? And if we did have such an office, who would you nominate for MC USA? I, being a Geekimus Maximus, would nominate Joss Whedon.

Just a fun little thought. But I do think it could work.

October 30, 2013

A Republican was trying to change a lightbulb...

...but accidentally broke it. So he got out another lightbulb and tried to install it, with the same results. He tried again, and again, and again, but every time the bulb broke in the process.

At first he thought it must have been an Obama conspiracy, but he had deliberately chosen the most inefficient lightbulbs he could find so that that Commie, Mother Nature, couldn't leech off of him.

Then he thought maybe there was a manufacturing defect, but that couldn't be the case: These were Free Market lightbulbs made by a Job Creator corporation located in the Cayman Islands for tax purposes, not some Socialist lightbulb factory laden down with regulations. So the bulbs were clearly perfect.

But why did they keep breaking when he tried to install them?

He asked his peers at the country club, and none of their ideas worked out either. Was there a lightbulb tax that was causing them to break? No, apparently not. Were they made by lazy union workers? Nope - underage foreign slave labor: The best kind. His fellow club members were at a loss to explain it.

So then he went to his pastor and asked if maybe the devil had put a curse on the lightbulbs. But after a blessing, exorcism, and big donation to the church, the lightbulbs still kept breaking.

Finally he did the unthinkable and allowed one of his blue-collar employees into his presence, and asked the man if he had any idea why the bulbs kept breaking. "Yeah, I think I do," said the man, in a bitter tone. "Lightbulbs are not like employees. You're supposed to screw them in, not over."

October 29, 2013

I think the Mafia should apply for tax-exempt status under the NFL's rationale.

Cosa Nostra doesn't directly generate profits, it's merely a "trade association" to facilitate business among the "extralegal entrepreneur" community. So clearly it fits the definition of a nonprofit used by organizations like the NFL and the US Chamber of Commerce. Why subject themselves to trials for tax evasion like Al Capone did when they could just evade taxes legally?

In fact, I think all organized crime syndicates, drug cartels, the NFL, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Party, the Tea Party, et al should form an umbrella nonprofit organization: Parasites United for Tax Bastardy.

They can hold annual gatherings where they light piles of excess money on fire in front of starving homeless people. You know, for the kids. And for freedom. Like Jesus would do.

October 29, 2013

Hiya. Glad to be here.

I'm encouraged by what I've seen so far here, but I have a question that can best be answered by long-time participants.

While DU is a well-known and famous forum, is it generally a safe place for people to explore ideas and facts honestly and intelligently?

I'm coming from another well-known, famous liberal site that had gradually become an intolerant, dishonest, and anti-intellectual place with some painfully Kafka-esque internal politics, and it was really awful to see it turn so ugly and illiberal. The vast majority of people who contribute there are still great, but they're not in control anymore, and liberals are often bullied into silence whenever there's any sort of controversy. I can't even bear to lurk there anymore.

So would you say that DU is a place where people can talk about things, and not have to constantly second- and third-guess every single expressed thought out of fear? Where common sense is at least one accepted viewpoint, and people have the courage of their convictions? It's tempting to become cynical when you see a community you once knew become something hideous and corrupt, so I'm a little more cautious about where I invest my time and effort.

Also, would you say this is a good place for talking about a wide variety of topics? I really love discussing science, technology, history, and pop culture in addition to / in relation to politics, and I dislike the idea of having to maintain half a dozen different communities to talk about them all. Everything is connected in reality, and we can learn a lot by seeing each thing in the context of other things. Since science, technology, history, and pop culture sites usually don't want to talk politics, by default I've found the best places to combine everything are political sites, since it's actually true that politics (as a phenomenon, not in the exasperated "just politics" sense) encompasses everything.

Let me know what you think. Thanks.

Profile Information

Name: Brian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969

About True Blue Door

Primary issue interests: Science, technology, history, infrastructure, restoring the public sector, and promoting a fair, honorable, optimistic, and inquisitive society. Personal interests: Science fiction (mainly literature, but also films and TV), pop culture, and humor.
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