September 30th 2015
ERIA QUINT: Welcome back to a special edition of Showdown. I’m your host, Eria Quint, and as Citizens flock to polling places across the ’verse, we’re tackling the topic that’s on the mind of the entire Empire — Senator Polo’s initiative to cut military spending. The importance of this piece of legislature seems to have energized the voting public, and if initial returns from Goss are any indicator, we are expecting a much higher voter turnout than expected; almost double what we saw six years ago when the Dunkirk Initiative failed to pass. There are even reports of polling stations staying open late to accommodate long lines of voters. Currently only 2% of all districts have relayed returns, so we expect a long week ahead as results trickle in from the various systems to the Imperial Election Bureau in Moscow.
I’m sure many of you have already weighed in with your opinion by voting, but we want to hear from you too. Comm us here at Showdown with your thoughts on the Polo initiative and let us know what you think it means for the UEE. Will Citizens call for fiscal responsibility from all branches of government and insist on military cuts? Or do rising crime and Vanduul threats justify current military spending?
Providing us with their own unique insights are Arthur Warro, political attache to Senator Polo, and Gavin Vidyapith, noted author and spokesperson for “Safe & Strong,” a political activist group advocating for an increased military presence. Thanks to you both for joining us on what I can only assume will be a defining moment in the direction of this Empire and its people.
GAVIN VIDYAPITH: Thanks for having me on.
ARTHUR WARRO: My pleasure. Always happy to make time for you, Eria.
ERIA QUINT: So Arthur, early SRC exit polls have 65% of Terrans voting in favor of the initiative. That’s got to be pretty exciting for the Senator.
ARTHUR WARRO: I just saw that too. I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers rise as more Citizens from Prime and New Austin head out to vote.
GAVIN VIDYAPITH: No one would be surprised. Everyone knows that inner systems like Terra have less of an interest in securing our borders.
ARTHUR WARRO: People seem to think that a desire to make sure that defense spending is going to appropriate places is tantamount to serving us up to the Vanduul. Did spending billions on the failed Project Stormwatch do anything to protect our borders?
We believe that the Citizens understand the fiscal challenges the UEE is facing. Parents take their kids to schools that are in disrepair. Haulers get stuck in egregiously long customs lines because of staff shortages. The people of Fora struggle daily to have something to eat. These are big problems that can only be resolved through big action. The Polo Initiative is what the Empire needs and I’m positive that once all the votes are counted it will prove to be what the Empire wants.
ERIA QUINT: Gavin, what’s your take on the early results?
GAVIN VIDYAPITH: Votes from the Empire’s outer systems are going to take longer to arrive in Moscow. I fully expect the lead the initiative has to be slowly whittled away as more and more of these systems report their votes.
ARTHUR WARRO: I’d like to remind Mr. Vidyapith that a high turnout rate in outer systems doesn’t mean all those votes are against the initiative. I spoke to many voters from Vega, Elysium and elsewhere who understand the need to balance military safety with financial security. Millions of Citizens who live in frontline systems believe that responsible military spending won’t leave them any less safe. The fact is, the military consumes a disproportionately large part of the budget when you compare it to what our Empire’s actual day-to-day needs are.
GAVIN VIDYAPITH: There’s a phrase my mother taught me, “think universally, act locally,” and yeah, at the end of the day, people are most concerned about the problems at their front door, but what you have to remember is for a lot of people, the Vanduul are the problem at their front door. Not only that, but it has been shown time and again that this is more than just a frontier problem.
ERIA QUINT: Would you care to expand on that, Gavin?
GAVIN VIDYAPITH: The latest Stoddard Research Center poll showed that 51% of prospective voters wanted to maintain military spending and 25% were even willing to increase military spending. 50% of respondents claimed to be “very concerned” with the ongoing hostilities with the Vanduul. I think those numbers speak for themselves.
ERIA QUINT: How about it, Mr. Warro? Do those numbers worry you?
ARTHUR WARRO: The biggest thing we took away was that 41% of respondents were undecided on how they were going to vote. That’s why over the last few weeks of the campaign we worked really hard to get the word out on how the Polo initiative would create a better Empire without compromising its security. There are a lot of votes still on the table, and after our recent efforts, I’m expecting more and more of them to be coming in our direction.
ERIA QUINT: Let’s take a moment to see what our audience has to say about what’s going on. wonderCHIN wrote in and said, “The Polo Initiative is not just about reducing military spending, but more about spending money more efficiently on the military and other government institutions. Senator Polo for Imperator!”
ARTHUR WARRO: That’s great! Further proof that you have the best audience in the ’verse, Eria.
ERIA QUINT: Any truth to wonderCHIN’s last point? Does Senator Polo have any aspirations to higher office? He’s already achieved UEE-wide name recognition. If this initiative passes, there’s no doubt that it’ll be politically advantageous for him.
ARTHUR WARRO: I can guarantee that all Senator Polo is worried about right now is finding a solution to the fiscal problems plaguing our Empire. This isn’t a grand political stunt on his part. This is the action of a man who cares and is deeply worried about the future of our Empire.
ERIA QUINT: We have another comm here from Simon “Skykiller” Reach who believes that, “The Polo Initiative is as big a threat to the UEE and Humanity as the Vanduul are. The military should be more efficient, but any efficiency gains should be invested back into the military, not squandered away by some ridiculous bureaucrats.”
GAVIN VIDYAPITH: Excellent suggestion, and one that I am happy to point out is something the military currently does. There are whole divisions of accountants who look at these numbers and decide where best to allocate funds. It seems absurd to think that an outside arbiter would know better than the military itself. Who are we to dictate to them?
ARTHUR WARRO: We are the Citizens of this Empire and the military is supposed to answer to us, or have you already forgotten what happens when it is the other way around?
GAVIN VINDYAPITH: I see what you did there, Arthur, and I won’t take the bait. All I’m going to say is that it takes a strong military to protect the freedom our Empire enjoys. No way around it.
ARTHUR WARRO: And how will that work if the Empire is drowning in debt?
ERIA QUINT: I am seeing that the Election Bureau is reporting new results from the Rhetor system. A perfect time for Showdown to take a quick break so our analysts and guests can dig into them. While we’re away, remember to send us your thoughts on this historic election. We’ll be back shortly with more special election coverage on Showdown!