Monday, June 12, 2017

Boris and Natasha - column, 11 June 2017

Mack Hall, HSG

Boris and Natasha

“We can’t go arresting people for what they say in a private conversation…I’ve no doubt we shall come to that eventually, but at the present stage of our struggle for freedom, it just can’t be done.”

-Colonel Plum in Evelyn Waugh’s Put Out More Flags

Some of our federal government overlords seem to do little other than spy on each other and stage mutual investigations for show – some committee or other holds hearings and the members take turns posturing for the camera, asking questions of other federal employees and interrupting them when they try to answer. After that another committee holds hearings to investigate the first committee and asks them questions – perhaps “What did you not know and when did you not know it?” – while fluffing their feathers for the cameras.

One suspects that at the end of the day they all retire to a walled and guarded country club in Alexandria, Virginia to treat each other to expense-account single-malt and cigars, and for a good laugh.

This season’s cycle of fashionable and well-funded investigations is about whether the Russians snoop into the companies that build and program voting machines.

Perhaps they do, along with the North Koreans, the South Koreans, the Chinese, and any 16-year-old with a discount-store computer and an idle hour.

A more salient question would be why any enemy would want to interrupt this nation’s self-destruction. The free-floating temper tantrums which used to be our political parties are, through the inadequate and even malevolent candidates they present to the American people, more of a menace to the Republic than any foreign operatives.

Vladimir Putin surely considers that while gazing at a photograph of Francis Gary Powers and indulging in a schadenfreude-ish bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha over his glass of vodka.

Everything I know about Russia I learned from Dostoyevsky, Pasternak, Yevtushenko, Ahkmatova, Solzhenitsyn, Vodolaskin, Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Alexievich (her Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War, is the best book ever about life and death for American enlisted men in Viet-Nam), and I imagine modern Russians ignore them even as as modern Yanks ignore Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Robert Frost, Stephen Crane, John Steinbeck, Willa Cather, and Ernest Hemingway.

So I know little about Russia. I can’t even find Krasnoyorsk on a map.

But I know how we can vote without the possibility of Russians, Koreans, or The Dork Avenger in his mom’s basement in Corner Brook, Newfoundland manipulating our computerized voting machines:

Don’t use computerized voting machines at all.

Let the poll watchers see to it that each voter is provided with a marker and a blank sheet of paper because Boris and Natasha can’t hack paper. Upon this sheet of paper the voter writes or prints the name of the man or woman the voter wishes to be president. If an American wishes to vote for his friend across the street, that should happen. Let the American people be free from the limited selections trickled down to them by political parties.

As with the Constitution up until 1804 (we’d have to do something with the 12th Amendment), let the first-place winner be president and the second-place winner be vice-president.

After all, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton deserve each other.

And we the people deserve better.


No comments: