The Big Choice

     Now that The Big Choice has finally been made after all these weeks of campaigning and drama, it’s time to reflect.
     Should we be ruled by experts and specialists in their field or does democracy really make more sense? Dictators may be unpopular but do we get better results from the mob?
     What happens when the people we rely on to make the big decisions suddenly seem to get them wrong?
     I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to wonder about these things when, in a result that shocked millions, Gretchen defeated Mondo in the Project Runway finale last week.
     I’m a really unfashionable guy. I own two pairs of shoes and they’re both black sneakers. The majority of my shirts have food stains on them. My idea of coordination is finding enough stuff at the front of my closet to cover most of my body.
     But even I sensed there was something wrong when the collection with a bunch of shorts that looked like grey underwear and lot of muted browns and greens beat out the collection with all the eye-popping color and patterns and the nifty death mask.
     The wife screaming in agony and shutting off the TV was another clue.
     I learn most of my life lessons from reality television and the lesson here was pretty disturbing. Somehow, the decision-making process had gone terribly wrong.
     If you don’t believe me, Google Gretchen, Mondo and Project Runway. There’s a groundswell of rebellion out there.
     How did we come to this? Was it the corrupting influence of money or the arrogance of entrenched power?
     These are not idle questions. We need to learn from this.
     I suppose there are one or two of you out there – apathetic citizens – not familiar with Project Runway, so I should explain that it’s a fashion design contest and the winner is chosen by a panel of judges. Usually, they agree with each other and most of us can live with their choices.
     But this year, stunningly, the judges split at the finale and those of us in the pundit profession are wondering how and why the famous fashion designer and the magazine fashion editor made their choice.
     Did money corrupt the process?
     They seemed to think that the boring Gretchen clothes would sell better and would be more likely to be worn.
     But do we want fashion to be easily worn by dumpy people?
     Or was power the key here? The two judges who got their way seemed miffed that Mondo – the guy who should have won – kept a polka-dot dress in his final collection that they’d told him they didn’t like.
     How dare he defy them?
     So here are three lessons to take away from this:
     
     1: It doesn’t matter how sensible a policy is – it won’t get approved unless someone can make some money.
     2: Always at least pretend to agree with people in positions of power. A little compromise can go a long way.
     3: Government by fiat isn’t all that different from democracy. With enough campaign money, some manufactured outrage over polka-dots and pagan symbolism, and an endorsement by Sarah Palin, Gretchen might have won anyway.
     
     I can’t wait for the congressional investigation into this fiasco.

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