On the heels of a decision now and forever to ignore all government issued food guidelines, I found myself with some extra time on my hands. Inevitably, I turned to the plight of those who – heroically and without much recognition — keep our pathetic campaign finance industry alive.
There are about 120 million households in the United States. Surely the burden of financing America’s political system should fall more or less equally on all of them, but noooooooo, inequality prevails yet again. The many shirk their responsibility leaving this heavy burden to the few.
About 158 households (contributors of $250,000 and up) provide just under half the cash to keep the legions of strategists, pollsters, spinners and yard-sign artists in “ready money,” and it takes but 200 more families (contributors of $100,000 and up) to go over the half way mark. If you include a generous supply of sycophants and toadies, the number of meaningful campaign supporting households is no more than 1000. Yet they provide the billions while the rest cower behind their caller IDs and duck the burdens of democracy.
At first I thought I should share the tragedy of these rich, white, old guys with the humanities and social sciences departments of the leading universities in this great land of ours, but our tragic contributors have already been subjected to countless useless groups of people pretending they had good ideas and could get them done. Nope, these academics and their children’s crusade of safe-space, trigger-warning followers were not the answer.
What do rich, old, white guys want? This is actually a far easier question than “what do women want,” which has never been definitively answered. Rich, old, white guys want results and they want to feel that their ideas have been both heard and followed, preferably immediately if not sooner.
How shall the rich, old, white guys pare regulations, cut taxes, shrink entitlement programs and promote economic growth if politicians, committees, bureaucracy and government agencies constantly stymie them? Imagine the heartache.
I had an idea but first I had to get them all in the same room. This was not easy as some favored The River Oaks Country Club in Houston, others preferred Indian Creek Country Club in Florida and still a third group favored Palm Beach. A compromise was achieved but the location was kept secret. It was well suited to private aviation requirements.
The rich, old, white guys want one thing and one thing only: cut out the middlemen. They are tired of politicians who can’t deliver on a simple bribe and of fundraisers who can never permit a problem to be solved lest the money flow be curtailed. All of these get in the way of the desired check marks on Type A to-do lists. But first we’d have to clear out 240 years of accumulated governmental and political debris.
Most of these donor victims are self-made billionaires who have learned to make a bet on something before others grasp the idea and snatch it for themselves. I’d only have one chance to share my brainstorm and get them on board. It had to be big.
Today there is almost nothing bigger than Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo, the Beyoncé of tidying. She has developed a cult following with the simple idea of retaining only things that spark joy and getting rid of everything else. She has taken the country by storm but, until the timely entry of libertyPell, her skills have not been applied to the biggest mess of all – our political system.
The KonMari method involves holding an object – or in this case a law, regulation, federal agency, congressional committee, elected official, lobbyist, strategist or spokesperson – and asking “does this bring me joy?” She uses the Japanese meaning of the word joy that translates more or less as flutter, throb or palpitate. Picture a high bar for joy, which was just what we needed.
Anything that fails to vault the joy bar is thanked for its service and gets a ceremonial kiss goodbye to facilitate “letting go,” but then off it goes to the scrap heap. With these simple steps Marie Kondo transforms cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration. Her tidying lessons worked their magic.
Lesson #1: Tackle Categories, Not Rooms – The tap, tap, tap of spike heels of on marble floors signaled the arrival of squadrons of young Japanese KonMari ladies as they fanned out across the nooks and crannies of bureaucracy and politics. None were spared as the joy test was routinely failed.
Lesson #2: Respect Your Belongings – Each discarded regulation, committee, law, bureaucrat and “the way Washington works” tradition was honored and kissed goodbye before being sent to the waiting fleet of wood chippers.
Lesson #3: Nostalgia Is Not Your Friend – This required the elimination of all pundits and bloviators who always seemed able to find some precedent to support this or that nefarious act.
Lesson #4: Purging Feels So Good – At the first sounds of the tapping of high heels, the stock market skyrocketed, the labor participation rate soared and prosperity prevailed. Only Facebook and Twitter went bust as there was nothing left to fight about.
Sadly, for some, Washington real estate prices plummeted.