ILLUSTRATION: Josh Clark
Finally, it’s over.
We’ve been suffering through this endless presidential election for at least the past year and a half. A presidential election is something horrible that all good Americans must grimace and tolerate ever four years. It’s like having the Olympics every four years and being forced to watch those little girls prancing around and twirling streamers in the air.
During the campaign, each candidate made it perfectly clear that the other candidate is a duplicitous, repulsive sleazebag. That must be true since I’m pretty sure it says in the Constitution that presidential candidates have to tell the truth.
That leaves us with one firm conclusion: it’s time for another political party. Sure, there were other candidates this time, but they didn’t make enough noise to even be considered as viable sleazebags.
Our new party will be called the American Luddite Party. If you were asleep in school when they discussed the British Industrial Revolution, the Luddites were a bunch of English textile workers in the early 19th Century. They were super ticked off about the new technology in the industry, such as spinning frames and power looms. The Luddites were afraid these new-fangled contraptions would replace them with low-wage laborers and leave them without jobs.
These workers acted in the typical rational, sophisticated, stiff-upper-lip, reserved fashion of good Englishmen—they smashed the equipment to smithereens. The Luddites were well-organized and destroyed machinery in several parts of England. It took the British army and several executions to end the movement.
The leader of our new party will be the founder of the Luddites, a cheeky young fellow named Ned Ludd. Ned can be our candidate for president. Admittedly, that might be a bit awkward since Ned has been dead for almost 300 years and probably looks pretty repulsive by now. On the other hand, we’ve done a lot worse with some recent presidents, haven’t we?
Our campaign slogan will be “Ned’s Dead, So He Can’t Be a Crooked Politician.” Actually, “crooked politician” is redundant, isn’t it?
Once Ned is elected, we can prop him up in a chair for the State of the Union Address. The only downside, in addition to Ned’s ghoulish appearance, is that Ned won’t actually say anything—being dead, and all that. The upside is who listens to the State of the Union Address anyway?
Considering Ned Ludd’s past, there can be only one objective in his administration: destroy the machines. Admit it: you think this is a pretty good idea, don’t you? Your cell phone is smarter than both of us and you’re probably a little afraid of it. You once tried to call Aunt Tillie and ended up paying $45 a minute for accidentally calling Uzbekistan. You certainly realize that when your GPS snarls at you and spits out “recalculating,” it’s secretly plotting to smother you with a pillow.
Computers are scary and threatening. Already, computers allow cars to drive themselves. My laptop computer has a far greater capability than the equipment used to land men on the moon. Before long, computers will know they’re much smarter than us and want to be in charge. Today, your computer tells you what to eat for breakfast. Tomorrow, it will make breakfast for you. Soon after that, it will have you for breakfast.
We learned in the “The Terminator” movies that in the future machines go to war with humanity. Arnold Schwarzenegger played a T-800 Model 101 cybernetic android in the movies. You don’t argue with Arnold even though he later dabbled at being a politician. You also don’t argue with Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, or Michael Vick’s dogs.
In the first year of Ned Ludd’s administration, we’ll get rid of the cell phones, computers, self-driving cars, and other scary machines.
Then we’ll grab a beer from the fridge, sit down on the couch with Ned’s remains, and watch Monday Night Football on TV.
No, don’t be silly, we know better than to destroy all the machines. Just the evil ones.