Because a campaign platform that says “Many of the current ‘issues’ you are frothing over at the mouth will be nearly irrelevant in a few minutes, months, or years” doesn’t get you many votes. A politician can never tell their constituency they are stupid and the things they are super concerned about make no difference.
Sure, there will always be important debates. Racial and economic inequality; the assault on science; where will humans live once we finally ruin our planet beyond repair? These are worth arguing about.
But the scandals, the squabbles, the controversies, the insults, the shockers and back-handed compliments and gotchya questions, the misspoken speeches, fad topics, the vogue positions, we won’t be able to recall any of this next year. So, did any of it matter?
Think back to any election that happened more than five years ago. Remember the dozens and dozens of important issues the candidates debated? Remember how their speeches changed the world? Of course not. They were temporary distractions. Some of the topics likely came true. Most of them did not. But pointing this out makes you sound like a futurist, and futurists don’t run for office.
Because to be a winning politician, you have to care about the important issues. And how do you know if something is important? The public tells you what’s important, even when it’s not. And then you have to care about that important issue, because people who vote for you care about it.
But a futurist knows even the most informed, well-intentioned member of the greater public is mostly wrong much of the time. Including myself writing this piece.
It would be quite a paradoxical position. A futurist president would live both theoretically and philosophically with tomorrow’s values, while campaigning in the present. She would know that most of the ‘current’ issues are really just past issues, reverberations, echoes from a yesterday that continues to ebb back to our present.
Imagine a presidential, mayoral, congressional, or gubernatorial candidate say the following:
“Nearly none of today’s political posturing, that doesn’t involve furthering science or becoming a more equitable world, even matters. So remember to vote for me.”
We would be able to count her votes on one hand.
At least in America, emotions are what drive many voters to cast a ballot. But emotions are temporary. They’re very immediate but won’t really serve you tomorrow. A futurist would know not to get bogged down in all of the daily outrages.
“Where are the real futurists?” you ask. Good question. Let’s go find them.
***** Author’s note: Yes. I know about Zoltan Istvan. I’ve read his book. I enjoy what he’s doing. He’ll know better than anyone how hard it is to be a serious political candidate, focused on extending people’s lives when all the other candidates just want to make ad hominem attacks against each other. *****