There are a lot of these "if (fill in blank) ran the world" Nextel commercials, and they are all totally snark-worthy. There's the "if lumberjacks ran the world" one, in which some incredibly filthy dick holding one of those incredibly annoying chirping phones decides a divorce case by having his minions chop everything the couple owns in half, brilliant. There's the one featuring a cliche'd Bridezilla in which we hear one of my favorite questions ever- "Why is it raining?" Ummmm......
But I'll focus today on one that touches a subject near and dear to my heart. I teach AP US Government, and I take the concept of Democracy and the teaching of the genius of our remarkable, enduring system very, very seriously. So the "What if Firemen ran the world" commercial really ticks me off.
The firemen are sitting in what looks like the floor of the House of Representatives. The Speaker bleats into his phone "New Roads?" The "Representatives" reply into their own god-damned chirping phones "Aye!" "What about the budget?" asks the Speaker. "Balance it" chants the "Congress."
Done and done.
Except, NO. Here's the "problem" with a Democracy: Services and Costs must be balanced, which requires careful deliberation among 435 Congressmen, 100 Senators and 1 President in accordance with the rules set down by a 222-year old document. The decisions concerning the raising and spending of money involve the wants and needs of some 300 million people with widely divergent opinions, all of whom have the right to be heard. This commercial feeds what I like to call the Conceit of the Common Man- the conviction, fed not only by Nextel but also by Hollywood movies from Mr Smith Goes to Washington to Man of the Year and Dave, that if ONLY "average" people could be put in charge, all of our problems would disappear in the wink of an eye. Such a conviction might make us feel good about ourselves, it might fit nicely into our already well-established but largely ignorant distaste for "politicians," but it's about as rooted in reality as Swing Vote.
I don't think that corporations have an obligation to educate the public. It would be nice, however, if they didn't feel it necessary to reduce the national IQ to pimp their crappy products.