Successful candidate training
11/7/12 From the Fringe
This week’s Fringe is gritty. Newly elected and even returning politicians often go through a training or “orientation” period during which they learn the limits of their power, which bathrooms to use, and where to meet for lunch.
Below is a more appropriate training session for newly elected state and federal politicos. The purpose is to connect the politicians, who generally live a privileged life to many of the people they govern. I’ll further suggest that politicians unwilling to go through this “reality based” training don’t deserve to be in office.
Congratulations! You have been successfully elected to a state or federal office. You will not have to seek gainful employment for 2, 4 or 6 years, and, if you don’t insult a major ethnic group or fondle the interns, probably even longer.
In preparation for your service to the citizens and residents of our great country, the Fringe Institute for Better Governance has been engaged to provide you with the valuable training you will need to lead our country. This training will require six weeks; you will be provided per diem expenses.
The Fringe Institute has gone to great lengths to ensure that your training and experiences will be as authentic as possible, including appropriate clothing, housing and diet.
Here is what your training will involve, and the skills and experience you will gain in each session.
Week One: You Are Old. (Electees 60 and over may move on to the next session.) In this section younger politicians will be introduced to the experience of age. Using a special process which is temporarily reversible, your sight will be dimmed, your hearing impaired, your bladder sphincter weakened and your teeth loosened. Each evening, a specially trained crew of physical therapists will over-extend your joints and use blunt trauma on your muscles so when you wake in the morning you’ll have widespread pain. Walk it off! Your hair will be professionally thinned and grayed and the skin on your face will be steamed and stretched. Many people who pass will no longer look at you. Look forward to an exciting three-day adventure seeking work as an older American. Welcome to Wal-Mart!
Week Two: You Are Not White. (African American, Mexican American and Arab Americans may move to the next session). This session has two modules: module one is “I’m talking to you, boy”, or the African American experience, and the second is “I thought we killed Bin Laden”, or the Muslim American experience. In each session your day will begin with a makeover and then it’s out on the street to find a job, buy a house, date a White person or hail a cab. A special short training module is “how to avoid cops: a primer for the innocent.”
Week Three: You are chronically sick with a physical or mental illness. (Sufferers of chronic or serious illness may move on to the next session, provided they currently have no health insurance). This week electees will receive common pharmaceuticals which will cause fatigue, depression, chronic pain and disfigured. You have no health insurance. You will spend hours on line each day trying to learn about your ailment and seeking a cure. You have little energy for your spouse, your children or your friends. You will need money to pay your doctor, hospital and drug costs. You will learn to tell the story of your life over and over seeking help to pay your bills. You will have two hours a day to find a part time or on-line job that will actually allow you to earn some money. You are reliant on public transportation but you will be located away from the urban center where cheap housing is, so your part-time work will have to fit a bus schedule. During this week you will have your children removed from your home and you will be charged with neglect; give up a couple of days to parenting classes. Expect a busy week!
Week Four: You are in prison. After being cuffed and beaten by the cops you will be charged with assault on a police officer. There will be a hasty trial during which you will meet with your public defender for a few minutes; he’ll recommend a plea even though you are innocent. If you refuse a plea and spend the week fighting the charge and lose, you run the risk of going to prison for 15 years. Since the cops have the only evidence, you will lose. You will spend days 3-6 in a state or federal prison and day 7 on parole in a halfway house. In prison you will be stripped of your identity, deprived the company of loved ones and friends, work for pennies an hour in the prison shop, and go before a parole board. You’ll learn who to be afraid of, when to avoid the bathroom, and never to accept a candy bar left on your pillow. This session will set you up for the next.
Week Five: You are raped. (Victims of a rape may provide technical information or go to week six.) You will be raped. The rapes occur by lottery so there is no way to know in advance if your rapist will be violent, threaten you with a weapon, or simply overpower you. Your rapist may want to take pictures of you. Your rapist will promise to stalk you in case you call the cops, you might see them again. For the first part of the week you will struggle with whether to tell anyone. You will not sleep. You will shrink from the touch of loved ones. You will shower several times a day. Then, you will decide to tell someone and you will be interviewed by the cops. They will try to find out if you encouraged your rapist in any way; did you encourage the rape, is it your fault, you’ll wonder. You will be intimately physically examined by a rape team including a doctor, a cop and someone from the DA’s office; their probing will again make you feel like the rape made you feel. A lucky few will be allowed to face the rapist (and his family and friends) in court. At the end of the session you will be informed if your rapist had a sexually transmitted disease. Female electees under 50 will be denied the option of taking RU486 unless abortion is supported in their state and providing they are not Catholic.
Week Six: You are young, poor and unemployed. In this session you will explore having no income at all. You will learn to couch-surf, how to move some weed or speed or Xtsy to get high and earn a little spending money. You will learn where and when the day old bread goes on sale, and how to grab and sell a variety of small items including shop lifted items, gasoline and even salvaged electrical wire from new construction. You are unrooted; the larger society has no place for you and so you have no place for it. If you are attractive you may be able to provide sex for money; everyone will be given opportunities to work under the table doing hard and dangerous jobs. You will learn to fill your endless leisure hours with daytime television, boredom sex and masturbation, video games and fruitless job searches. The week will go on forever, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll find yourself repeating Week Four.
Bonus Module: You are losing your house. This bonus module can appear in any week, above.
While by no means providing the experiences of all Americans, this six week training course will help you understand something of the lives of Americans on behalf of whom you will legislate. Bear in mind, as difficult as some of these experiences are, you have the knowledge that in a few weeks you’ll be a powerful, well paid politician, unlike most Americans who experience these things and have their lives changed forever.
© Fringe Institute for Better Government.