We can learn a lot from Samurais. Aside from making cameos in Wu-Tang Clan albums and rocking ponytails rivaled only by one Steven Seagal, Samurais lived life according to a rigid code of honor. This code demanded much of the Samurai, and, if ever jeopardized or violated, asked them to pay dearly to restore that precious honor.
Currently, there is nothing like this holding politicians accountable for their actions (or inaction) while in office. Incumbents are, unfortunately, overwhelmingly reelected. Then, those who by some divine miracle are bumped find their way to lucrative private sector jobs via questionable relationships established in office. Not to mention that there is often no real alternative for voters.
So, by combining cultures and eras we can find answers and hold political feet to the fire and, fingers crossed, get real results.
Hari Kari (or Seppuku) is the ritualistic act of plunging a short blade into one’s own abdomen and making a left to right motion to thoroughly shred those innards. Samurai’s committed Hari Kari, not to be mistaken for Harry Caray, if they were captured – in order to avoid the dishonor of suffering through enemy torture and/or interrogation. If was also a way for Samurais who committed dishonorable acts to regain some of that honor.
So, here’s the idea. At the end of his/her term, each politician must stand before an audience of millions on a TV show tentatively titled American, Idle ™. They will have 30 minutes to convince the nation that they honorably and aggressively pursued work solely focused on the public good. An opponent will put forth a counter argument and then America will decide the fate of each politician by sending a text. Can you say “ratings bonanza”?
A hit primetime show, a way to get politicians to do their jobs honorably, and a surefire way to get people really really interested in politics?
The trail to real progress might just be lined with disemboweled legislators and Emmys.