The Trader

“The Trader” came out of an argument I had with an old girlfriend, many years ago. When I say “many,” I mean, like, thirty years ago. Or more.

We, Cindy and I, were standing in a long line at a restaurant on the Outer Banks. Most of the people in line were talking about sports, the latest cable TV shows, and other popular subjects.

Cindy and I were talking about the pros and cons of allowing people to buy and sell votes in national and local elections, in the same way that investors buy and sell stock – and therefore voting rights – for corporations. I brought it up. After all, if it works for corporations, why would it not work elsewhere?

Cindy hated the idea. As I recall, we did not have sex after dinner. But back to the story – I think the idea just seemed too different to her, too weird, too much of a concession to people with lots of money (at this point I must mention that Cindy attended Smith College, and her family members attended Harvard. Though her family was upper crust, her political instincts were beer-and-sausage).

I guess that makes her a “limousine liberal.” I mention it to you. I never mentioned it to her.

Anyway, I played Devil’s Advocate, the alternative being to talk about cable TV (I don’t watch cable TV, so I don’t have anything to say about it). So she and I went round and round. I pointed out that the idea might help poor people. As it is, they don’t vote much; if they could sell their votes, then they could at least get a little money out of it.

I know a bit about being poor; getting money is a big deal when you don’t have much.

Well, it turned out that deep down inside, Cindy preferred that poor people not vote. She believed that, if you cannot haul yourself to a voting booth, then you deserve exactly what you get, which is to be screwed repeatedly.

I did not win the argument. I am not sure what winning would have looked like. But I did get a story out of it, many years later.

Who knew?