The Future Perfect: Confessions of POTUS 59
The GOAT h-self. Of the people, for the people, by sortition.
The action of selecting or determining something by the casting or drawing of lots.
I am drawn to Congress at 8pm, in the middle of printing biscuits.
The notification pings as I instruct the squiggles. ‘Repeat?’ I say. The biscuit now reads ‘repeat’. It is acquired by the Smithsonian for a heap. My first thought is ‘this sucks’. I assume government is hell for backenders. J- frontends our relationship. To this day they accept all deliveries and post to the communities on behalf of the fam. I don’t even upvote. I know how it’s weighted. Don’t misunderstand: I neg any troll that posts there’s no point upvoting. The point is clear and necessary: it feels good. The real fact is that by the time you thumb your yay or boo, your deep want is already logged.
We gotta go to DC and we’re pissed.
What can you do? You have to go where the servers are. Citizens who post that Congress should convene on the cloud don’t understand tech. Period. Temporary inconvenience is the price of freedom.
We port from Illinois, which I say without humblebrag is the only real fact comparison between me and Abraham Lincoln. Everything else I achieve is cos right person, right place, right time. Lucky for anyone else, they’re not in my position.
The money’s life-changing but it has to be.
None of the fam can accrue capital during my term of office. So it’s on me to support the three of us. That’s fine economically. But what to do for 2+ years when you can’t post public? The kid is 22. What happens when they can’t be tagged at such a formative age? What about hard won friends and customers? The argument that getting sorted to public office amounts to seizure of social capital makes me feel 😐 . But it’s a constant topic of grumbles among Representatives. Hear my retrospect: it doesn’t matter shit. If my term as President teaches me anything, it’s nothing to do with government. It’s all about the real facts of being a citizen.
Expectation: when you disappear from feeds for 2-4 years, the community will get up in your DMs. Friends and customers will wonder where you’ve gone.
Reality: doesn’t happen.
This is the hardest thing for J- to deal with. Like I say, they’re a frontender, and they feel that our community is top of mind for them, so they expect the same in return. But honestly - once you get over 1K followers how can you really keep tight? It’s not personal. At the end of my term, we pick up from exactly where we left off. Hardly a single OMG after 4 years downtime. We post on family threads throughout my whole term, but we’re geo’d in Illinois and the filters make everything we post so vanilla it doesn’t warrant engagement above 15%. The real fact is people don’t engage with ANYTHING unless you’re themcasting - and it’s hard to muster the strength to yay grangran’s dog vlog when you’ve just obliterated a caravan of three-strike Fugees trying to hack the border.
Out of mind is out of mind.
The weirdest thing is the proximity to so many other people.
Pre-Sortition I freelance for dozens of MNCs and SMEs but Congress is the first time I’ve been in a real fact office. 536 people in one space. It’s by far the most people I’ve crowded with IRL. My guilty pleasure is group gawking - I stream terabytes of pro wrestling from the wayback where the Superstars sports entertain tens of thousands of citizens packed under a single roof. I love to watch the superstars yak one-to-many. To hear the crowd yay and boo unfiltered. Everyone vibing off the reactions of everyone else. It’s an emotional wildfire.
I’m shamed if any of J-‘s community posts get <1K total engagements, but 536 real people in a real room is pretty unfathomable. I just think ‘how can all these people collab on anything ever?’ It’s incredible how the OS works to make it happen.
First we skill-sort.
I complete the multitask in just over 8 hours. There’s no time limit and I’m free to nap, eat, sip or loo anytime but I get absorbed. It full-bore reveals my self. It drills down through my personal brand and lived experience to the sediment of character beneath. I’m pretty sure you can’t cheat your way to high office and I don’t know why you’d want to. There’s no personal benefit to it. The opposite, really.
So how do I become POTUS?
I’ll never know for sure. It’s a unique algorithm based on everyone sorted that term but I suspect
I come from a big family: I have a sibling and my parents each have a sibling too - so I’ve experienced multifamily
I’ve been on real fact holidays to 6 US states plus Mexico and Canada
I’ve worked behind the scenes at MNCs and SMEs so I have some insights into biz
My parents were Balloteers - even though I’m not, obvs. It’s clearly trending at the start of my term, so I guess the OS predicted a high probability of it becoming definitional
No clapping or cheering cos what’s the prize? 4 years instead of 2. Hands-off role rubber-stamping legislation. No requirement to attend Congress or Committees Standing or Select. But I can, so I do. What else is there to pass the time?
Congress works like webinars delivered to IRL classes.
The topics are scheduled and summaries, histories, pros and cons are presented by sorted experts who stream in from all over the union. Then the Chief Data Scientist highlights distinctions between citizen upvotes and deep wants. Basically the upvotes are black and white and the deep wants are a rainbow of regional and intersectional hopes and fears. Each Member of the House tries to discern their district’s blended want and weigh it against possible interests of future district citizens and their sworn commitment to the constitution. They yay or boo to Senate. Senators try to discern the blended state preference in light of pan-district moods. By the time it’s yayed to me it’s the unvarnished will of the American people. So I sign. Sometimes the legislation yayed in front of me is a surprise. But only like the final score in any sport. You hope the team you’re rooting for wins, but you can understand why another could just as easily take it on the day.
Then trouble brews among the Balloteers.
People are strange. The US can upload terabytes of imagery showing the reality of living in Balloteer nations or, Freedom forbid, a no-vote country. Yet a significant population of US citizens back their gut and simply cannot download the real fact message: there but for the grace of Sortition go we.
How do you preserve a union when a significant percentage of the population deep wants a completely different OS?
An expert told me nostalgia is memory without pain. I believe Balloteers are sincere. They genuinely believe they’re more competent than random chance at determining who should be in office. They don’t log centuries of evidence to contrary.
I’m taking about it in bed one night with J- when they show me a snap from back in the day of American citizens.
It’s taken 100+ years after the widespread adoption of the motor car. But they genuinely prefer to clippity-clop. IMO: Balloteers = that but politics.
There’s no reasoning with a confirmed Balloteer.
You can show them what it does to the wellness of citizens - individually and collectively - to indulge and enable those who choose to stand for election. Of course, you can even make the inarguable case that the Constitution describes Sortition but the Founders simply lacked the tech. A Balloteer still yearns to feel the simulacrum of choice.
Enter the Face.
Political theory is hot air until it manifests itself in the person of a single human being. And so it is with they: the one whose name and image I will cancel from history. -e ridicules me as The Glitch. -e mocks me as an anonymous lottery winner winner chicken dinner: POTUS illegit.
In pro wrestling there are two character archetypes: the (baby)face - who the crowd loves to cheer. And the heel - who the crowd loves to boo.
POTUS is cast as the Heel. POTUS thinks of them as the Face.
The Face is well organized. The offline gatherings. The music-powered speeches. The deliberate pause for the roar of the crowd. It’s impossible now to tell how many others were involved in the Face’s strategy and organization. Some? None? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
They fly under the radar for months. Looking back now, you can see why. Posts with 10K+ engagements in July fall away to <1000 in weeks. IRL gatherings of 500 people set off local notifications, but they look like one-offs. Later gatherings swiftly shrink to <10.
It’s early October when the War Gamers present Congress with the backtested heatmaps. The gatherings we logged at sub-10 are in real fact 10K+. In Zero Bar Zones throughout New England. Congress demands to know WTF. The Chief Data Scientist figures it out:
They’re gouging out their microchips.
Thousands and thousands of citizens are slicing into their shoulders, butts, breasts or necks to extract their chips and store them in bloody pulsing blobs of flesh on their bedside tables. As far as the OS can tell they’re home 24/7 and blend in with the shut-ins. Under the direction of the Face they construct a totally offline movement based on posted letters and physical rallies. They’ve got supporters throughout Logistics and Fulfillment. It’s a dynamic, impressive movement, led by The Face’s personal brand and fueled by h- retro interpretation of the Fourth Amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
They think Sortition is warrantless seizure cos of the computation of deep wants. The Balloters could choose to make the case to Supreme Support - but the Face has no interest in adjudicating this in a court Zoom. In the court of public opinion, they are a rising star.
Voting rallies spring up everywhere. They vote for everything: what to eat for lunch, who sings first, cutest baby. It would be lol if the Face’s agenda wasn’t front and center: emancipation from Sortition. Ballot voting for self-surfaced candidates for city, state and federal office.
First, they take Vermont.
More than half of Vermont Ballot-votes a shadow General Assembly. It parades to the State House along streets lined with cheering crowds. They know it’s fake but they feel it as real fact too. The Sorted General Assembly abandons the State House. I don’t blame them. They didn’t ask to govern, and they don’t want to be doxxed for legislating tax hikes. The Balloteer GA takes over the building and smashes the servers. Of course they were backed up - but shit, the mood.
Congress declares Civil War. No one knows what that means.
Connecticut is next to go, Rhode Island after that, New Hampshire, then Massachusetts. Together they form the Real Fact United States of America, based on the same constitution and - surprise, surprise - elect The Face as the 51st President of the United States. Cancelling the results of every Sorted election.
Congress looks to me. I am, after all, the Commander in Chief
The Chief War Gamers run me through the simulations. If this were a foreign power we’d deploy the Marine Avatars. The whole thing would be over in milliseconds. But for all their faults, the Balloteers are American citizens. The simulations of the aftermath of a massacre are unconscionable. Each martyr becomes the inspiration for thousands of new Balloteers. Balloteering spreads from State to State until California secedes from the Union to assert its right to continue under Sortition. Millions of fugees flood the Golden Bay. Millions more flood the other way.
There is no simulation for a diplomatic resolution. I’m going to have to wing it.
I invite The Face to a summit at the White House.
They readily accept. I have 3 advantages
They don’t know shit about me
State Governors have set a pattern of surrender
I know how to win against a Face
We are to meet IRL at the Oval Office. The ultimate Zero Bar Zone. One-on-one.
The Face enters the Oval Office.
We are alone. The Face seems surprised to see me. I imagine they were expecting an empty chair and a welcome hamper. I extend my gloved palm in friendship. The Face beams white teeth and steps forward.
I deliver the stone cold stunner.
Then I finish them with the Banks Statement.
It takes a long time to strangle a person to death
But I hang in there. I feel the life slip out of them. That is all I feel.
I post to my official feeds. Text-only.
16 Score and 3 years ago
Our forebears brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all persons are created equal.
I am solemnly sworn to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
To that end, I just smoked that mofo. I choked them to death with my bare hands. If that makes you pissed, get up in my mentions and tell me about it. Then I’ll come smoke you, too.
Or we can all reset.
As your President, I extend a full pardon and amnesty to those who chip up, resile from offices they weren’t sorted to, go home and enjoy living their real fact best lives in the greatest nation on earth. This offer is good for 24 hours.
Everything I’ve done is to ensure that this nation, under tech, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
And the people love me for it.
Well, not me. The office of the POTUS.
USA. USA. USA.
They shut up, chip up and chill.
My term is at an end. I return to Illinois. I freelance for MNCs and SMEs. J- frontends. The Kid turns 26 and pivots to a Dorm.
I’m proud to play my role in bringing us back to square 1: imperfect people tending towards a more perfect union.
The Monument to the Unknown President. Washington D.C.