The “Compulsory Adult Franchise Act of 2034” or President Silverwolf the Irascible

It was in the third decade of the 21st century that the Great Plague ravaged the world, including America, and brought to the Presidency Senator Lobo Silverwolf, the Junior Senator from Nevada at the time, 61st in succession to the Presidency, so virulent was the mortal sickness.

President Lobo Silverwolf the Irascible, also known as the Wise, brought such a Libertarian zephyr of Executive Order legislation, or rather un-legislation, to the country that his retrograde Cabinet Officials, all Democrats and Republicans except for the two Libertarians who had survived the plague, could barely keep pace with it. His un-legislative and anti-planned-economy innovations were varied and diverse. Protests against his un-activism grew and became more violent, as Democratic and Republican demonstrators, mostly Democratic, called for ” a restoration of Democracy”. “We’re a Democracy, not a Republic”, greeted the President and his top advisers on trips around the country, and even his speeches were interrupted by calls for “Democracy now!”.

Finally the situation grew so unruly that no Libertarian Administration figure could give a speech, or attend a public function without being rudely interrupted. Fortunately, the surviving Libertarians in Congress  outnumbered the surviving combination of Democrats and Republicans, so President Silverwolf said to his Chief of Staff, “Since these protestors are so adamant for their Democracy, draft me a Bill that states that all Democrats and Republicans shall vote at all future elections. By “shall vote” I mean “will vote”, and the Bill will be known as the “Compulsory Adult Democrats and Republicans Franchise Act of 2034″. Since Libertarians believe that this is a Republic using democratic means to resolve its elections, and not a Democracy, and since Libertarians, unlike Democrats and Republicans, do not believe in aggressing against those who do not violate their property Rights, this Compulsory Bill will not apply to Libertarians if thus registered as of today, nor to Independents. The penalty for not voting will be set at $100 per election, with no excuses for absence permitted other than a certificate of medical sickness from a registered physician. Voting will also be extended to include offices for municipal garbage collectors, teachers, parking meter attendants, public ticket-takers, nurses, hospital food workers, librarians, sheriff’s deputies, bank presidents, sanitation workers, animal pound euthanisers, public school custodians, Congressional mail openers, and any other positions that may occur to me at a later time. Pass this Bill through Congress, and bring it to me the day after tomorrow for my signature.”

The “Compulsory Adult Democrats and Republicans Franchise Act of 2034” was passed by the remaining Congressional members 24 to 7, with all the Libertarians voting “Aye”.

Within days, some of the most fervent activists in the “Democracy Now” Movement were beginning to have second thoughts. In the countryside, the compulsory voting process became irksome, with Democrat and Republican farmers having to get up at 3am to drive to the nearest city to vote for dog catcher, or mayor’s secretary, or whatever that day’s election might be. Even the wealthier farmers found the cost of not voting prohibitive, and it became something of a prestige-getter amongst the extremely wealthy that they could afford to flaunt the Compulsory Voting Act.

In the city, a new rush hour was created from 4am to 5am, and it was only a Libertarian or an Independent who could afford to leave for work at 7. Poor Democratic seamstresses and parking lot attendants who took the bus to work found they needed to get up at 2am to find a space on the overcrowded buses, and fist-fights frequently broke out in the waiting queues as bus after bus passed with no room available.

After several weeks of this chaos, a new movement began to be heard from calling itself the “Democratic anti-Democracy Movement”. “Democrats Against the Vote”, a national organization, boasted a membership of three million within days. And “Republicans for the Republic” served the harried voters on the other side of the aisle. Many lamented they had not had the sense to register Libertarian long ago, or even Independent, and a thriving business in forged voter registration documents sprang up, with a good forged Libertarian Party membership card now bring a Grand on the Black Market.

The protests became more aggressive. A young Democrat charged at, and actually bit, the White House Chief of Staff, who had to have a series of rabies shots, while an enterprising group of anti-Democratic Feminists bound themselves to one other, each standing on the shoulders of another Feminist, until their stack completely covered the Washington Monument, showing what they thought of that symbol of Democratic Male Domination.

Yet despite the growing protests, and the increasing chaos, President Silverwolf would not issue an Executive Order quashing the Act in the name of Nation Security. The Administration was adamant: they wanted a Democracy and they’re going to have it.

The situation in the Nation had become acutely critical, until one anti-Democratic Democrat hit on the expedient of “Crying for the Republic”. Soon, tens of thousands of Democrats and Republicans were staging “Cry-ins” all around the country. Exciting baseball games were turned into lugubrious and funerial quagmires, as thousands of anti-Democracy activists wept in unison. The Sunset Strip comedy spots were invaded by gaggles of crying girls, while church services were drowned out all over the country by the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Horrified viewers saw the Hollywood Christmas Parade ruined by whinning crowds weeping loudly as each new celebrity appeared, and Republican newscasters around the country sobbed their stories into the cameras. The nation fell into a great depression, and comedy-film DVD sales plunged.

In the midst of this chaos, President Silverwolf called in his most trusted Libertarian Cabinet Officials. “There comes a time when one must give way. Draft a Bill rescinding the “Compulsory Adult Democrats and Republicans Franchise Act of 2034″. Pass it through Congress and bring me the Bill for signing the day after tomorrow.”

The rescinding of the Bill was greeted with immense relief throughout the entire Nation, and stocks gained 3% in the following day’s trading.

When his advisors had informed him of the happy reaction in the country to the news and left him alone, President Silverwolf the Irascible, also known as the Wise, chuckled to himself.

“There are more ways of killing a cat than by choking it with cream.”

“But”, he added as an afterthough, “I’m not sure that it is not the best way.”

(With thanks and acknowledgement for the idea to “Saki”, H. H. Munro)

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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