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NOTE: This page is provided for completeness and historical purposes. I recommend you read the highlights in my current presidential campaign page instead.
First, the wrap-up . . .
2004 was my - and, thus, your - best shot at garnering attention in the presidential race. There was a jaw-dropping coincidence, but the professional snoops into the private lives of public people were asleep at the wheel. Maybe they're burning out. Maybe the game has lost its fun. And that would certainly be a good thing - in general. But, in this case . . .
If the snoops had rooted a bit in candidate John Kerry's life, they would have discovered that he was a member of a club. It was a tiny club, with maybe 50 members on the books and just a handful of active members.
If the snoops then took it a step further and started poking about the members of that club, they would have uncovered the amazing fact that, of the mere 200-plus registered presidential candidates out of America's almost 300 million people, two candidates were members of this same, obscure club!
One was John Kerry (of course).
One was me.
The little, limping dog of a club was the Washington Guitar Society.
But the snoops were on siesta, and the best opportunity in the history of man for dialog on the merits of pure democracy in government was squandered.
On top of that, Kerry lost, thereby demolishing any lingering hope that the snoops might get on the ball during his term as President.
Good going, John.
(A moment's silence.)
And now for the accumulated discussion generated by the 2004 campaign . . .
Well, it's that time of decade again...
All you need to know: ...AND IF ELECTED, EVERY PRESIDENTIAL ACTION WILL BE DICTATED BY MAJORITY WILL.
Put another way, I am proposing pure democracy in the executive branch of the U.S. government.
Discussing and defending that in the past has generated tons of wordage. It will likely continue to do so this time around.
I'm writing this intro in February 2004. I haven't been paying close attention, but I think some of those other guys have had enough of a head start. So, ready... aim... and fire away - with all those questions I've heard a thousand times before.
Questions from TL Hines, Feb 2 2004
[First out of the gate this time around is TL Hines (TLH). I thank TL for getting me rolling again on this. For a more entertaining presentation of the questions and answers below, I heartily recommend you read the interview at www.tlhines.com, instead. (Check out TL's interview with candidate Dan Snow, too.) No reason we can't keep a sense of humor, eh?]
TLH: Mr. Sauter, thanks for participating. Maybe you could start by telling us the central theme of your campaign.
DS: Every presidential action will be dictated by majority will.
TLH: Why are you running?
DS: I'm not running. I have an idea which people can accept or reject. (Note that if the majority rejects majority rule, we have a major paradox on our hands.)
TLH: What's the single most important issue to you?
DS: Ah ha, see? you don't get it! What's most important to me doesn't count for any more than what's most important to anybody else. We would all share the power equally. I have 1/200,000,000 of the power; you have 1/200,000,000 of the power; etc. We would all be, in effect, co-presidents.
But now that that's cleared up, I will tell you the single most important issue to me as a person - not as your ruler. It is justice, or more specifically, the complete lack thereof in this society. You can read about my thoughts on justice on my web site. However, if the majority are perfectly happy with our so-called "system of justice," I would not lift a finger to change it.
TLH: Well, Mr. Smartypants, I happen to know that our population is really 292,000,000, so we'd all only have 1/292,000,000 of the power. :)
DS: I have serious doubts about whether the majority is ready to extend voting rights down to the cradle.
TLH: Ouch! I walked into that one, didn't I? Okay, let's say 200,000,000 adult participants. So you'll do whatever the majority of the people want?
DS: That is somewhat sloppily stated. Every presidential action will be dictated by majority will. (Is there an echo in here?)
TLH: Yes, the palatial headquarters of TLHines.com are somewhat cavernous. We get that echo comment quite a bit. But back to your idea: you'll do what's determined by majority will, even if it's something you personally disagree with?
TLH: And how will you determine what the majority wants?
DS: I think you're asking, how do people vote when a presidential action is required? I imagine telephones would do a fine job. Also the internet. If we trust the internet to send money, we can surely trust it to send a vote. If the majority wants inefficient, old-fashioned methods of voting, we could stick with that. But this is really a nuts-and-bolts question that I shouldn't be suckered into unless you've signed off on the fundamental idea of majority rule. There's something much bigger here than getting hung up on rotary dial phones.
TLH: Hung up on phones. What a punster. Hey, and if it's a 900-number, you could charge for each call, thereby generating revenue: democracy and capitalism in action, all in one big, juicy pie. Whaddya think?
DS: I think it's great. As the Washington Post wrote in 1996, "Sauter would open a 1-900 line for voting on decisions. The toll call, he said, would make the voting system pay for itself and discourage frivolous callers."
TLH: Seriously, how would this work? Would people call in for each and every issue separately, or would they maybe call in once a week and be presented with a menu of voting options? "To vote FOR bombing Denmark, press 3..."
DS: Ah ah ah! Naughty, naughty! There you go again, trying to sucker me into an argument over simple nuts-and-bolts. When they were inventing the automobile I'll bet you stood there spluttering, "This thing'll never work! I mean, what're they gonna do about windshield wiper blade refills!??" Send me a signed statement, "I, Tony Hines, do agree with all my heart and soul that pure democracy in the executive branch knocks the spots off any power-crazed ol' politician making my decisions for me," and we can start talking about phone menus and web sites and listserves and newspaper columns and radio spots and tv news segments and office chats over the water cooler and... and... and...
TLH: How would you determine what should come up for majority vote? Would people have to call in to vote for issues for voting, and ... hey, I smell another major paradox in that.
DS: I'm not proposing any change in the mechanism by which matters come before the president for action. I can envision that once the people get a taste for democracy that the process by which their desires get placed in front of Congress and make their way through Congress will be expedited.
TLH: On the surface, it seems interesting, but I can see celebrities, media and others with instant access to a huge number of people being able to skew presidential decisions in their favor. What's to stop Martha Stewart from marshalling the masses to get herself a presidential pardon? That would be a lot more than a 1/200,000,000 share of the power.
DS: If more than half the people think someone should be pardoned, who are you to say he shouldn't be?
TLH: Martha Stewart is a she. At least, I think Martha Stewart is a she. You may be on to something there. Anyway, do you really think we as a society are ready for such unbridled democracy in action?
TLH: I mean, I don't know if I want the folks wandering the aisles at the local Wal-Mart making decisions for me.
DS: You'd be making the decisions together.
Do you know how many times I've heard this "But everybody else is stupid!" mantra? Funny thing is, I've never met a single person who said, "But this'll never work - I'm too stupid!" Did you ever stop to think that from the point of view of the other Wal-Mart shoppers, you're an "everybody else"? And not to belabor the Wal-Mart thing, but tell me honestly, how many times, upon walking into the store, do the other shoppers jump right in attacking, robbing, or even just yelling at you?
I suspect not too often, but even if you can honestly answer, "Oh, yes, all the time," you're still not out of the woods. I will then ask, "But is it more than 50 percent of them?" If you can answer that in the affirmative, you still lose. I will say, "If more than 50 percent of the population believes it is good and right to beat up on Tony Hines, who am I to say they shouldn't?" (That's not to say, though, that I wouldn't cast my single vote in your favor when a trial comes up.)
TLH: Gee, thanks. It's nice to know you're on my side. You also say you don't want to be a ruler, but in a way, don't we WANT rulers in America? Yeah, we blab about democracy, and power to the people, and all that jazz, but I once again point to my Wal Mart example above. And, we've demonstrated a fondness for "royal" families in our country: the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Clintons.
DS: If you need somebody to make your decisions for you, vote for somebody else. I worked up a slogan for you some years ago: "If you want strong leaders... go back to kindergarten."
TLH: What led you to this idea initially?
DS: Actually something very specific. I served on a jury in 1989. It was the first time I saw our "justice system" in action. What I saw made me so sick I've never recovered from the experience. I won't go into details here, but I couldn't get it off my mind and one morning I had an epiphany - my simple system of justice without judges, lawyers and lawmakers; just large, randomly selected juries deciding disputes based on common sense and conscience. Then, just thinking so much about majority rule on juries got me thinking about majority rule in government. The thoughts went along two main lines: pure democracy 1) as a desirable end in itself, and 2) as a possible first step on the road toward eliminating government altogether. After all, if government just does what people would do anyhow, why have it?
TLH: So what would be your first official act as President?
DS: Not give a speech, as a first step in dissociating politics from show business.
TLH: But what if everyone called your phone lines and said they WANTED you to give a speech? (See? I'm picking up on this majority rule thing.)
DS: If the majority wants a speech, they get a speech. Somehow, I doubt that the majority goes around thinking, "Dang, I really gotta have a presidential speech - gotta have one right now!" Fifty percent of the population didn't even watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.
To make your question a little more interesting, you should go for broke: "What if the majority wants you to plow your car into a group of first-graders waiting at a bus stop?"
Again, I will say that you are being ridiculous; that the chances of that happening are so infinitesimal that I don't even think about it.
But you become insistent: "What if? What if?" And I say, look at my contract with the people: If I ever act in opposition to majority will, somebody shoot me. In this example, they would have to shoot me and install somebody else to do what they want.
Simple as that.
TLH: Lastly, if you're not making any decisions on your own, what are you doing? Why would we need you as president?
DS: Anybody with my vision would do. As it stands now, I'm the only show in town.
Questions from Thomas Gowen, Feb 6 2004
a) Are you "pro-choice" or "pro-life"?
b) Should abortions be legal or illegal?
c) Was Roe v. Wade right or wrong?
2. Gun Control:
a) Do you support gun control of any type?
3. Health Care:
a) Should the government provide Health Care for the elderly?
a) Should the government provide public education via tax money?
a) Should the government protect the citizenry from monopolies through legal action?
6. International Policy:
a) Tariffs? Good economic policy or violation of property rights?
a) Do we leave the environment up to the free market or should the government legislate regulations and quality controls?
DS: Presidential action relating to...
health care for the elderly;
and the environment
...will be dictated by majority will.
National Political Awareness Test, Feb 15 2004
[This time around, more than 100 leading political scientists contributed to the National Political Awareness Test (NPAT). Here is a distillation of the issues brought up in the 5 1/2-page questionnaire. My answer is the same in every case. See if you would trust the majority in all of these issues, or whether your minority opinion should be crammed down everybody's throat.]
DS: Presidential action relating to...
...will be dictated by majority will.
NPAT: Explain your top two or three priorities in a total of 200 words or less.
DS (75 words): As President of the United States, my one and only concern is implementing the will of the people whenever presidential action is required. Personally, I hope that the people feel, as I do, that our system of justice needs a whole lot less legal games and a whole lot more common sense. I hope that the majority agrees it is time our society moves in the direction of people accepting responsibility for what they do.
Ten Questions For American Presidential Candidates from E. Poet, Jul 23 2004
E. says about himself: I am not a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper, nor am I a writer looking for an expose or an angle. I am just an anonymous guy with a weblog and some questions. I will post the responses on the weblog, but I have to let you know in advance that I only have about 6 regular readers, so this may not be an opportunity to reach untold masses. However, I will tell everyone I can that your responses are there, and perhaps together we can encourage an informed voting populace.
Let me polish off E.'s first 6 questions en masse:
Presidential action relating to...
will be dictated by majority will.
7. What is, in your opinion, the most important role of the President?
DS: To act in accordance with majority will.
8. What is your opinion of the moral climate of America, and would you, as President, do anything to change it? If so, what?
DS: Ok, you've caught me in an expansive mood. Let me recycle a similar question posed on the National Political Awareness Test in 2000. As it is, E., you're lucky that I'm a nice guy and still small beans enough to look the other way on my own rule about never answering the same question twice. NPAT asked:
NPAT: Do you believe there has been a decline in moral and ethical standards in America over the last four decades? If yes, please explain in one hundred words or less what you would do as President to address this concern.
DS: You make it very hard for a mature adult not to say, "duhhhhhh." As always, though, presidential action will support any majority-approved initiative to reverse, stop, slow or accelerate this decline (or perceived decline) in moral standards. (38 words.)
9. What are the three most significant challenges presented to the American people for the next four years, and what will you, as President, do to lead America through these challenges?
DS: First of all, understand that my opinion on the relative importance of various issues counts no more than yours or any other American's. We'd all be sharing the power equally, see? I'd like to think, though, that if my candidacy should ever draw any attention that people might begin to give consideration to a system of justice based on common sense and conscience rather than legal games. It's obvious to me, at least, that we would all benefit if each person were held responsible for what he does.
10. Do you believe that there is any portion of your platform that isn't being communicated to the citizenry? If so, please elaborate.
DS: Sure. It's called "democracy". Funny thing, how the word has been around forever, but it's never occurred to anyone to try it as a system of government.
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