Voting For Chief Prison Guard [A Simple Metaphor]

So there were these prisoners, and they found out that the prison was
planning to let them vote for Chief Prison Guard…

So there were these prisoners, and they found out that the prison was
planning to let them vote for Chief Prison Guard…

One of the guards was, relatively speaking, a nice guy — son of a
prison guard, even. I mean, he would still throw you in the hole for
infractions, and he believed in 3 am shakedowns for drugs like all the
other guards, but sometimes he was polite to you and if you needed to go
the infirmary, then he would let you go, most of the time. This nice
turned a blind eye to the institutional racism and injustice in the
just like all the other guards, but hey what can you expect? At least he
lets some prisoners go to the infirmary every now and then. Many
supported this guard.

Of course, the other guy running for Chief Prison Guard was a maniac
oddly enough, also son of another retired prison guard), but he had a
down-home approach to things that sort of appealed to quite a few
prisoners, especially the white ones. This particular candidate had made
point of using plenty of code words to describe his distaste for the
nonwhite prisoners, and he worked with and tolerated plenty of openly
racist guards, but to make up for it he spoke passable Spanish and made
few Hispanic prisoners into trustees. In terms of policy, he was hard as
nails, but shucks, he had such a winning grin and was known to crack a
dirty jokes with prisoners when he was in a good mood. So some prisoners
were going to vote for him.

From out of nowhere came this other guy who wasn’t even a prison guard. He
was some type of reform-oriented bureaucrat who wanted to change the
system. He would give all the prisoners bigger cages and longer chains,
the 3 am shakedowns would be moved to 9 pm, right before lights out, so
that prisoners would not have to be rudely awakened. He proposed letting
prisoners go to the infirmary at will without paying for medication, and
wanted to raise everyone’s commissary allowance and get people more time
the yard, which the two other candidates for Chief completely opposed.
wanted to clean up the filthy bathrooms, allow more time in the showers,
and even institute a program where inmates could easily file complaints
against guards. Wow! He sounded like a dream candidate for Chief Prison

There was quite a bit of controversy over the three-way race for Chief
Prison Guard. Supporters of the first candidate were very upset with
supporters of the third candidate. They argued that the reformist
bureaucrat wouldn’t get any votes because most people in the prison
even know about him — prison officials wouldn’t let any information get
through. They argued that a vote for this dreamy third candidate was a
wasted vote, and that the first candidate, the nice guy with the
infirmary-reform program, was the best.

Supporters of the second candidate, made up mostly of members of the
Brotherhood and other white prison gangs, were thrilled about the split
vote. They even pretended to be supporters of the third candidate, the
reformist bureaucrat, so as to better divide the potential votes.

Controversy reigned. Fights often broke out in the yard between
arguing over which person was better suited for Chief Prison Guard.

One day, a few weeks before the big secret ballot, one of the older
prisoners who was usually kept in isolation spoke up in the yard.

"All this talk of voting for chief prison guard … what nonsense! Can’t
you see that after the election we’ll all still be in prison?! We need
talk about uniting, about forming a prisoner’s union, about getting rid
the gangs and internecine warfare and rising up against the REAL enemy

the prison guards!"

The other inmates laughed at him.
"You crazy, old man … we GOTTA vote for SOMEBODY!"
"Don’t you see, the first guy is MUCH better than the second guy, AND
got a real chance of winning!"
"No, we gotta vote for the best candidate, not the lesser of two evils!"

And so on.

The old prisoner listened for a few minutes and shook his head in
He shouted to be heard above the din: "This vote is a fraud! Why do we
consider it an honor to pick a new slavemaster for ourselves? We should
rejecting this prison system altogether and standing up against it!
Brothers, if we unite, they cannot stop us!"

Again, the other prisoners laughed, this time even harder.
"Unite? In prison? We’ll all be killed!"
"I ain’t uniting with those pro-bureaucrat fools!"
"Come on, this is reality, this is prison, what are you gonna do about

The older prisoner turned away, muttering to himself, "Well, I ain’t
voting. Nobody can force me to participate in my own enslavement."

Author: Robin Banks

News Service: infoshop-news

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