Reasons a two-year-old may not be a good role model
This week, we have seen a lot of eUS citizens seeking instant gratification and throwing temper tantrums if they didn’t get their own way. We have had what some regard as an election upset, a revolution, some hot congressional debates and censures/blacklisting of members of Congress and the government, suggestions of impeachment of our newly elected CP/D, and a flurry of media commentary on all of the above. There are claims that the nation is polarized, even by some who should know better, and a lot of self-justification by pretty nearly everyone who has done anything in this time period. Let’s examine some of the claims and counter-claims to see what we can learn from all of this.
It seems to be human nature to reject facts that don’t align with our beliefs, rather than adjusting beliefs to align with the facts. We have seen this on both sides of this controversy.
Who has majority support?
The evidence suggests that the answer to this is nobody. Gnilraps won the election by a plurality, not a majority of the vote. Similarly, no party has a majority in Congress, and even if they did, many party members would be quick to point out that they do not vote en bloc. According to Plato, there are 2795 active citizens in the eUS today. In this CP election, there were 666 votes tallied. In the most recent Congress election, there were 610. Even allowing for the probability that some citizens were already not playing the game and simply had not eDied yet, and that some active citizens were not able to log in on election day for various reasons, even acknowledging that there is a very high probability that some of those “active” citizens are multi/voting accounts that log in ONLY for elections, that is a pretty pitiful voter turnout – less than 24% for CP and less than 22% for Congress in total. Fewer than 11% of eAmericans voted for Gnilraps in this hotly contested election, and only slightly more than 5% voted for USWP in this month’s Congress. Given those numbers, there is no evidence to suggest that any candidate, any party, or any position represents the will of the people. On the contrary, what seems to be suggested is that 75% to 80% of the populace is so disaffected they do not care to vote for anyone, even with reminders every election day on the home page, and the necessity to click only twice to vote. What comes to mind here is the idea of the Silent Majority which has been invoked in RL politics in the past. Being the loudest does not mean you have the most support, only that more people have the opportunity to hear you, if they choose to listen. These numbers also refute the idea that the population is polarized, with SFP/radicals/revolutionaries on one side and forum elite Congress on the other. On the contrary, it appears that most simply do not care.
So, if nobody has the majority, who is right?
Again, I maintain that the answer is nobody. Why?
I have previously stated my long-standing affection for SFP. Despite my having left the party, I still feel that affection. However, I did find it increasingly difficult to support choices made by several prominent members. While I did and do agree with many of the party ideals in principle, I sometimes feel they are put into practice in selfish and thoughtless ways. While I sympathize with the dislike of many members for the dictatorship module, I am one of many (including a number of SFP members) who have come to view it as a necessary evil. I believe that taking it on oneself to overthrow the dictatorship for personal reasons is wrong and is harmful not only to the community at large, but to SFP itself. For me, the July 4th civil war was a critical point, and it nearly caused several other active members to leave, as well. This was not the only factor in my decision to withdraw, but it certainly was a major one. I will note, however, that people I respect made a different decision, to stay and work for a more moderate approach from within.
This revolution, on the other hand, while I think it was premature to say the least, could be seen as more justified, as indeed their candidate had won with a platform that included a dictator-free month. The wiser course, as I see it, would have been to work to get the Congress to support this experiment, but it is easy to see why people believed that was not forthcoming.
This does not, however, exempt the forum Congress from responsibility for the present mess. The rush to censure and possibly impeach is both dismaying and counterproductive, especially when you consider that many of those most ready to condemn SFP and Gnilraps were involved in the first coup attempt (for lulz), and not one of them was blacklisted for that. Yes, stronger forum laws have been passed since then, and yes, those who fought in subsequent revolutions were aware of them, but truthfully, those laws do not affect anything but forum Congress/government, and have no effect whatsoever on what players can do in-game. Indeed, it should be remembered that, if a dictator, even one supported by Congress, chose to do so, s/he could ruin the country far faster than any group of revolutionary idealists. Furthermore, the players that are being blacklisted are, many of them, among the most active/vocal players in the eUS. Isolating them does not promote strength or activity, and ultimately hurts the eUS as a whole more than it helps. Name-calling, insults, and demanding the heads of your supposed enemies on a platter (figuratively speaking, of course) may seem satisfying in the short term, but in the long-term, it erodes your power base to the point where you will have no community left at all. Threats to PTO an active party make you look anything but heroic. If you truly feel the country is threatened (and remember that the determination was over 6 at this point, and something would have had to be done about it eventually anyway), try doing something to engage people rather than driving them away.
In short, it is time for all sides to take a step back, to re-examine their own beliefs about the community and the game in the clear light of reality, and to find a way to work together to solve our problems. There are plenty of other eCountries out there willing to be our enemies. Let’s not be our own worst enemy.