Friday, May 30, 2008

the best political question ever

Imagine attending one of the many national presidential debates that are about to descend on us. You pay close attention to both candidates as they worm their way though question after question. Each response as carefully crafted and rehearsed as the question that evoked them. Suddenly a microphone is shoved in your face and you get a once in a life time opportunity to ask any question you want.

What question could you ask? What one question could cut at the heart of it all and demand a response that would go beyond all the normal nonsense? Last week I wouldn't have been able to help you, but now I know... you have to fight nonsense with nonsense.

All of that is to say that today I've learned the best political question ever: What would you do if zombies invaded?

I know... it doesn't make much sense, but hear me out. The question has to be asked separately about foreign and American zombies. Its a slight stretch, but the answers you get back will say a lot about they way a person views the world.

Zombies are everywhere these days, but they aren't the stereotypical undead with a jonesing for brains. The modern zombie is more of an idea. Anyone that isn't a zombie can become a zombie if they are bitten. This means every single innocent has the ability to be an enemy. It also means that zombies could very well be made up of people you know and love.

So the first point of order is: do you try to fix the zombie ala I Am Legend (the movie) or try to kill them (every other zombie movie I've seen)? Curing zombieism is an impossibly difficult task, but its the only way to reclaim the innocents that have crossed over.

Of course, killing zombies is about as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Comparatively, they have only rudimentary weapons and are poorly organized. Trouble there is that there are always way to many to kill with conventional means. The only way to truly take them out is to nuke or carpet bomb an entire area.

Political tie-in: Think about Iraq. Switch zombie for insurgents. See where I'm going with this?

Secondly, at what point do you stop caring about the innocents in the interest of self preservation? At some point would you close your borders to everyone? Zombies would create a lot of refugees. Refugees could bring their own zombies with them. Each person that crosses a border is another vector for spreading the invasion.

If you do close your borders, what measures are you willing to take to make sure you stay secure?

On the other hand, do you at some point give up on any innocents in an invaded land and seal off their borders? To take it one step further, if zombies can't be cured or contained, would you authorize the scorched earth approach to cleanse unclean areas?

Political tie-in: If your zombies are economic issues this is basically asking about immigration. If the borders are closed you can start talking about how to handle illegal immigration. Exchange zombies for political pariahs and sealing off borders starts to sound a lot like embargos.

Finally, if the zombies are invading your own land, how do you keep people safe? Do the same rules apply? Do zombies have any rights? Is there such a thing as a suspected zombie? I know I've woken up on more than one occasion feeling like the living undead. If there is any suspicion at all, would I get drug out in the street and shot to prevent the chance of spreading the infection?

Political tie-in: These zombies are closer to home. They are the criminal zombies. Murderers, thieves, and drug dealers. Admittedly, its easier to tell if someone is a zombie than it is to tell if they murdered someone. (The "Braaaaaains" kinda gives them away)

This whole post is absurd but I still maintain it works. For one, no candidate has ever been prepared to answer the zombie question (its just not something you study for). I suspect most candidates would just make a joke and continue. They are masters at side stepping hard hitting questions. A quirky question like this wouldn't even be a challenge to redirect. But, if you could get a solid answer it would tell you everything you'd need to know.

Lesson Learned: Make the object of the question so extreme and idiotic that they stop thinking along political lines and predetermined answers, and you'll get some insight into how they really thing.

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