The United States of America
held its breath. This was the final night, the brink of a new epoch in that nation's political history. This is Monday evening on the 2nd of November, 2048.
The Vidnews Networks were busily speculating who the next slate of officers would be for the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of national government.
There were no front runners, no political scandals to tittilate the ear of the populace, no campaign ads to clutter the airwaves. The media conglomerates, of which there are but 3 in the USA, didn't protest the lack of political ad revenue. That was simply not tolerated. The Networks were thrown a bone in that they were allowed to show the exhumation of deceased celebs to augment revenues. The Arbitron rating was particularly strong during sweeps week in the spring of 2017 when VidSouth Net aired the opening of Jerry Springer's coffin on the Net hit I've got a Bone to Pick With You!".
The USA, along with most of the western democracies, had experienced a revolt by the electorate beginning way back in 2008. America led the way as it does in many ways, being the first to change, albeit kicking and screaming all the way into the new epoch. The voters of that nation had simply and without mercy revolted. They had finally had enough of institutionalized lying by both major political parties. The final straw had been the idea that all personal weapons be confiscated. This wasn't a novel idea by any means. Several nations had already taken that policy as their own. This, however, was the first time the concept had teeth in the United States. The citizenry rose up, almost as if they were victims of some kind of mass psychosis and cheerfully executed every elected official in the country by the first of October, 2008.
To the credit of the gun crowd, it turned out that only 27.3 percent of executions were performed by firearms. It seems that there was a heretofore unknown overabundance of rope available, making hanging a favorite method. Rope held a favored position with Green Party supporters because it was 100 percent natural and biodegradable, as well as working perfectly well for more than a single hanging, thereby conserving resources. Another preferred method was to take a captured politico to the nearest high bridge or building and start flight operations. It turns out that politians don't contain enough hot air to float. US Air Force Lt. Paul Dion Rodriguez is credited for the popular pre-launch salute when he tossed UN Secretary General William Jefferson Blythe Clinton off the top of the United Nations headquarters. He gave the aged former POTUS a shove while crisply yelling "Aim high, fall short, SIR!"
In that chaotic fall of 2008 every elected official met their end, well deserved or not. Every candidate who had declared their run for an office decided they really didn't want a career in public service, thank you very much. After that wave of defections from politics ran its rapid course, the voters were lenient, killing a mere 87 percent of former candidates.
The country was understandably in turmoil. The military had declared martial law following the uprising. Some units had been observed reloading for the citizenry while otherwise maintaining a hands-off attitude themselves. The generals were fully engaged trying to maintain the integrity of their units. They had neither the time nor inclination to consider operations against an armed citizenry. The Pentagon did call for a national referendum to find a new way to go forward. Far from the envisioned siezing of power, the military kept the peace while things were sorted out. They then slipped back into their role as protector of the nation.
The New Way is the name that stuck to the reorganization of political life in the US. The New Way was advanced by Professor Seth Cullen Neal of Rutgers University, and amid a plethora of varied and sometimes insane ideologies, it found traction in the mind of the citizens. It was based on the mathematical concept that if anyone could become selected, odds were good that honest individuals would also be selected. No longer would government be the exclusive domain of lawyers and career politicians. The President could be a trucker, a waitress, or a plumber. The idea caught fire with the populace, giving the term "White House Plumbers" a whole new meaning.
The New Way outlined a completely new way of selecting officials. No longer were there to be political party caucuses, primaries, or elections. The populace had completely had their fill of candidates whose main qualification for office was an overpowering lust for power. It turns out that famed circus man P. T. Barnum was right. You can't fool all the people all the time.
Following the '08 Revolt there were no more elections, therefore no more election campaigns, ads, or political contributions were needed or allowed. The military became the enforcement arm supressing all such attempts to go back to the 'old ways'. Violators of political prohibitions were summarily executed.
The New Way was indeed new. All formerly elective offices were to be filled by sale of lottery tickets. Everyone, regardless of race, sex, political leanings, creed, color, educational background, or economic condition was automatically qualified to hold office by the purchase of a ticket. The tickets were all the same price for every office. You could wake up Wednesday morning as either the new President, the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or the new dogcatcher, or as someone who had simply bought a dud ticket. There were no more lifetime appointments to any office in the land. Of course, not as many people lay down their $5.00 to become dogcatcher as President, but that's the way of the world.
Ticket sales commenced on the day following the 2nd Tuesday of November, 2008. That first lottery was a madhouse, what with everyone having a mere 2.5 months to buy their tickets before the January 20, 2009 cutoff. The wealthy spent inordinate amounts buying tickets simply because they wanted their shot at sitting in the BIG CHAIR. Less well off people sold or mortgaged whatever they could to buy in to The New Way. After centuries it finally became true that anyone in America could become President, (as long as he had a $5.00 bill to lay down, that is).
The law of unintended consequences kicked in to overdrive. Everyone who had the ability and energy recycled every bit of scrap metal, paper, glass, whatever they could scrape together to convert into cash to buy into the lottery. The price of materials plummeted from the huge oversupply, forcing the price of finished goods down thereby fueling the boom of '09. That economic boom lasted a full 2 decades, propelling America into a new golden age.
Part of The New Way was the provision that no one could win any particular office but a single time. Forest Newman, former firefighter of Des Moines, Iowa won the office of Chief of Police in 2016, then hit again to become Iowa Senator 4 years later.
A second provision was that all monies raised by lottery ticket sales was applied to the national debt. That first selection retired a mere $63.6 billion of the national debt, while subsequent selections averaged retiring almost $875 billion per national selection cycle. Combined with the '09 boom, the national debt was retired completely in November 2040.
A third provision of New Way ideology was that no bill passed by any legislature could contain funding not germaine to that particular bill. Highway bills were to be used for the exclusive purpose of building and maintaining highways. Every bill stood or died on its own merits. No longer was it possible to fund pet projects in the oldthink 'pork barrel' ways. No funds could be raided from a trust fund to fund other activities. Funds in the Social Security Trust Fund were spent on Social Security. Every trust fund was inviolate. A mini scandal erupted in 2016 when the House Ways and Means Committee reverted to raiding a trust fund. Some think that they were testing the waters to see if they could get away with it. Such reversionistic thoughts were quickly quenched with fresh shipments of rope arriving in DC.
Every bill had to be debated by both House of Representatives and Senate. No longer was it possible to combine bills into Omnibus legislation. Everything was debated in open chambers, dutifully reported by the VidNews, and every vote was a roll call vote. No official could hide behind a voice vote. No official could plead that he voted for something that got 'snuck in' to an Omnibus bill.
Following the destruction of the former US political system and its reconstruction, many other nations followed suit. Amazing, first to follow was China, led by student revolutionaries. They removed every Politburo member as well as whole departments within the PRC. They too held a constitutional convention in which they accepted The New Way philosophy line and verse. Like dominoes they fell, Australia, England, Russia, Thialand, Switzerland. Even the Vatican came under the sway of The New Way. The wholesale slaughter of the heirarchy of Rome was particularly brutal. Every nation on the planet fell from its former system of government.
Diplomacy always continues, and following the tumult at the First World Congress accords were signed for the control of all nuclear weapons. Violation of the accord, once signed, was an automatic atomic death sentence. Every nation was accountable to 3 other nations, and should nuclear violations occur, those 3 become executioners. Only one nation attempted to circumvent the agreement. Iran, ever prepared to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, ceased to exist as a nation. Not all were sad though, as the Palestinians then acquired their long sought after homeland.
The world seemingly has entered a new era, one of enforced good relations. No longer are governemnts allowed to conduct operations inimical to the interests of their citizenry. There have been no battles since the leveling of Tehran. Everyone realizes that they can't afford to buck the tide. Every nation now has nuclear weapons so no nation need feel insecure or threatened. You may possess all you want, you simply can't use them.
The same holds true for personal weapons. You may own all you wish, but you may not use them except in self defense. That allowance was made due to the continued presence of demented individuals. Upon attacking another human being, the perpetrator is usually immediately dispatched. His home, car, every possession of any value is confiscated and sold for partial restitution to the victim or their surviving family members. The attacker's family become wards of the state if unable to sustain themselves. They go to live at their local Recycdome, a beehive skyscraper built upon fallow land taken by the government and converted into various types of housing. There are the PoorDomes, the Graydomes for the aged, the HelpDomes for those with various disabilities/special needs.
Tomorrow is a new day in the political life of America. Time to see if yesterday's pauper will become tomorrow's prince.