Why is it that people who consider voting in an election an inconvenience would go to see a movie to show support for its message? Don’t get me wrong — I think this is the case. People will go to see your movie as much to be entertained and informed as they will to express their malice and discontent towards not only the present regime in America, but also the corrupt, empty, shallow pantomime which cast them into power.
In reality, today the voting that takes place via the act of consumption far outweighs the impact caused by people going to a booth and dimpling the appropriate chad, or some other such convoluted act of free democratic expression.
Why? Because in America, they believe in dollars. Dollars don’t lie. In practise, they are the last frontier of truth in America, universally accepted as expressions of fear, desire, passion, and need. Compared to the swing of the almighty buck, and Jeb Bush knows this, a hanging chad has only the nethermost meaning.
Given that fact, I modestly propose an entirely new, though wholly logical, extension to the current democratic system in place in America:
I propose we augment, and effectively replace, the electoral system with a political stock market. We should accept that Politicians are entrepreneurs just like any other businessperson in America, and embrace this fact in building an economic system which truly reflects their intent. A politician should issue a constant number of shares dependent upon his tenure in government. Those shares should be traded on an open exchange, say the G.R.E.E.D. (short, of course, for the “Global Realists’ Electoral Exchange — Democratic”). Politicians we believe in will see their stocks rise higher as faith in their ability to maintain office grows. As the truth about their embezzling campaign funds for weekend trips to Maui with their interns is revealed, of course, their fortunes will fall.
This represents an opportunity for the market forces — those same forces which you intend to harness to express your own personal protest — to voice their opinion on the quality of America’s governance during the intervening four years between elections. Elections themselves will in effect become meaningless, as they are now, since their outcome will be influenced by the stock price of each and every congressman, senator, and presidential candidate.
Just think of the coverage that could be given on MSNBC! “Strom Thurman (STROM: news – quotes) was down 15% today on fears that his latest heart operation will render him unable to attend Senate Armed Services committee meetings until November..” This would provide rejuvenating content to the econo-political news sector, which has found post-economic-bubble coverage to be both tiresome and deoressing. The establishment of this new stock exchange would of course create jobs for newly unemployed (and governmentally retrained) IT systems engineers who could, after passing the electoral securities exam, become floor traders.
This would also allow for a convenient and very public method by which candidates could raise capital in the public markets to support their multi-billion-dollar campaigns. The requirement for the support of legions of spin doctors, permanent campaign managers, and investor relations personnel would also create jobs — perhaps even a new practice for Ernst & Young, Arthur Anderson, et al. Insider trading scandals and misleading revenue declarations would of course catch Martha Stewart as an unwitting beneficiary, thus spreading her influence to politics.
Dividends, if there are any on record, at the close of a politician’s career could be paid to current shareholders based on the holdings. Pensions funds could provide the institutional investment support necessary to underpin even the biggest dogs among the Beltway set. Union funds, brokerages, and even pump-and-dump houses could benefit from meteoric rises in conservative candidates running in the Southeast, and the Bush Governmet would be allowed to place Social Security bets where they really mattered. investors who lose their retirement, life savings, and support could rest assured that they were indeed robbed by crooks rather than poor investors.
Although there’s no way to protect any of these for Worldcom-like crashes, ambitious, inspired, District Attorneys could file criminal suits against Candidates and Campaign Managers who underperform expectations, thus assuring investors that their logic was not faulty — instead, they were merely defrauded by crooks and thieves.
On the whole, I believe the system could work. I could certainly work as well as our beloved securities trading industry and, given the American electoral system’s success at effectively expressing the will of the people, it certainly couldn’t do any worse…
In the meantime, Mike, I think I’ll go see your movie and try to depose the President.
On Wednesday, October 9, 2002, at 03:53 PM, Michael Moore’s Mailing List wrote:
> October 9, 2002
> My Film, “Bowling for Columbine,” Opens This Friday
> Dear friends, fans, and fellow evildoers:
> I am very happy and excited to tell you that this Friday, October 11,
> film, “Bowling for Columbine,” will open in New York and Los Angeles.
> It is, I promise, the last thing the Bushies want projected on the
> screens across America this week. The film is, first and foremost, a
> devastating indictment of the violence that is done in our name for
> and power — and no one, in all the advance screenings I have
> attended, has
> left the theatre with anything short of rage. I truly believe this
> film has
> the potential to rock the nation and get people energized to do
> This is not good news for Junior and Company. Not when they are trying
> drag us into another war. Not when a crazed sniper is exercising his
> constitutional right to own a high-powered rifle. Not when John
> Ashcroft is
> still prohibiting the FBI from looking through the gun background check
> files to see if any of the 19 hijackers or their associates purchased
> weapons prior to 9/11 — because THAT, we are told, would “violate”
> terrorists’ sacred Second Amendment rights!
> Yes, I believe this movie can create a lot of havoc — but I will need
> of you to help me do this. Are you game?
> Last February 5th, I wrote to tell you about a book I had written and
> the publisher had decided to dump it because they were afraid to
> anything critical of Bush after 9/11. I appealed to you to save “Stupid
> White Men” from the shredder and to go out and buy it. I promised you
> not regret it, and that the book would not only be a great read but an
> important organizing tool in gumming up the plans of George W. Bush.
> Within 24 hours, the book went to #1 on the Amazon best seller list.
> By the
> fifth day, the book was already into its 9th printing. The publisher
> torn between its desire to kill the book or make a wad of money. Greed
> out, and this Sunday the book enters its 31st week on the New York
> best seller list — and its 32nd printing. This is all because of you,
> crazy and loyal friends. You made this happen, against all the odds.
> Now I would like to ask you again to help me with my latest work,
> for Columbine.” It’s a movie that many critics have already called my
> film to date. They may be right. It is certainly the most provocative
> I have ever done. I have spent three years on it and, I have to say, it
> deeper, harder and funnier that anything I have given you so far.
> The movie opens this Friday in New York and Los Angeles, and then in 8
> cities next week. How it does in these first ten cities will determine
> whether or not the rest of the country gets to see it. That is the
> our films are released. If it doesn’t have a big opening weekend, you
> kiss the film good-bye. Therefore, this weekend, this film must be
> seen by
> millions of Americans. Can you help me make that happen?
> “Bowling for Columbine” is not a film simply about guns or school
> That is only the starting point for my 2-hour journey into the dark
> soul of
> a country that is both victim and master of an enormous amount of
> both at home and around the world. With this movie I have broadened my
> canvas to paint a portrait of our nation at the beginning of the 21st
> century, a nation that seems hell-bent on killing first and asking
> later. It is a movie about the state sponsored acts of violence and
> terrorism against our own poor, and how we have created a culture of
> that is based on the racial dilemma we continue to ignore. And it’s a
> devastating comedy.
> This film is going to upset some pretty big apple carts. No film has
> said the things I am saying in “Bowling for Columbine.” I expect to be
> attacked. I expect certain theatres will not show it for fear of
> retribution. I expect that this movie will be a bitter pill for many to
> This is why I need your help. Movies live or die based on what happens
> the box office the first weekend of its release. I need you, if you
> live in
> the New York or L.A. area, to go see “Bowling for Columbine” this
> Saturday — and take as many family members and friends with you as
> possible. I guarantee you will not be disappointed — and you may just
> one of the best films of the year.
> Monday night in Times Square, “Bowling for Columbine” had its
> premiere. The
> crowd was amazing, as it was this past Saturday night at the Chicago
> Festival. The audience kept laughing or hooting or applauding so loud
> throughout the film that it was hard to hear the next line.
> The hate mail, the threats, the promises of retribution have already
> to roll in to the distributor of this movie, United Artists. They are
> backing down. But how long will this last? I need all of you in the New
> tri-state and southern California areas to go see “Bowling for
> THIS weekend — the rest of you can see it in a couple of weeks when it
> comes to your town. A strong opening not only means that the rest of
> will see this film, it means that a good number of people who see it
> going to leave the film angry enough to get active and get involved.
> If it
> does poorly, I will have a difficult time finding the funding for the
> I want to make next — a film about 9/11 and how Bush is using that
> day as a cover for his right-wing agenda.
> Don’t let that happen. Don’t let the NRA have one more success by
> the wider distribution of this movie. And, together, let us not remain
> silent in our opposition to Bush’s phony war against Iraq.
> If you live in New York, you can see it at the Lincoln Plaza, the
> and the Loews 19th St. In L.A., you can catch it at the Sunset 5, the
> Westwood Regent, Laemmle Sunset, Laemmle Towncenter (Encino), Landmark
> Rialto (Pasadena), and Regal University (Irvine). Also, please forward
> to your other friends and tell them to go see “Bowling for Columbine”
> And finally, don’t miss our new website www.bowlingforcolumbine.com
> Thank you for your help with this. I feel so honored and privileged to
> so many people interested in my work. Last January I was getting 70,000
> a month on my website. Last month, I got 17 million hits. This alone
> volumes about the vast majority all of us belong to who are sick and
> of what is going on and are longing for an alternative source of
> I hope that you enjoy “Bowling for Columbine.”
> Thank you again…
> Michael Moore
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