Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

Two islands: a parable.

There once were two islands, one big and one small. The big island had a village, farms, people, even a parliament. The small island had a big house.

The big island was very pretty, and tourists came all summer on boats. They ate food, drank tea and beer, slept in the hotels, and bought crafts. Life was good on the big island, even when the storms came in winter and there were no boats.

Two billionaires bought the big house on the small island, and turned it into a castle. They wanted their own island with their own laws, but found that the big island's laws still applied to the small island, and there was a bigger island (and a bigger island yet) that ruled the big island.

So they lobbied and fought to change one old, old law, and they won. And that was good, because it was a bad law that made some people more equal than others.

"What now?" the billionaires asked.

And then they lobbied and fought to change the way the bigger island elected its parliament. And that was good, because it had been a parliament of land owners, not of people.

"What now?" the billionaires asked.

And they bought all the businesses on the big island and staffed them with their people, and they paid the island's people's wages.

"What now?" the billionaires asked.

And there was an election.

So the billionaires put up a slate of candidates for all the seats in the parliament. And the people of the island didn't like it, and many of them stood for the same seats.

"Vote for our people!" said the billionaires. "Or bad things will happen," they whispered.

And when the votes were counted just one or two of the billionaires' candidates were elected, and many of the islanders had seats in the new parliament.

The billionaires were not happy, and they closed all their businesses. The shops were closed, the hotels were closed, the pubs were closed.

But summer came, and with it came the tourists and their money. And the billionaires loved money more than loved the idea of ruling the island, and they opened all their shops again.

The moral of this story?

Sometimes a determined community can overcome the undemocratic nature of a slate.

Oh and this isn't really a parable. It's a true story.
Tags: democracy, elections, hugos, puppies, science fiction, slates

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