Your Futuristic Civics Lesson

Our fears and our hopes are often on display when we look to the future and imagine what will come to pass. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of politics, where elected officials must always be looking forward (or at least they should be) to ponder what effect their decisions will have on future generations.

Writers over the years have put a lot of thought into the future evolution of politics. Whether it be through emerging technology or through decisions of our own making, the people of the past had some pretty interesting views of how civics would be play out in our future.

  • A Matriarchal World – In the 1910 film “Looking Forward,” Jack wakes up 100 years into the future to find a society in 2010 in which women run the show and men can’t vote. Other than that, the world is filled with technological marvels. Or maybe it’s because of that.
  • A Computerized Government – In 1981, a school book called “World of Tomorrow” envisioned two possible scenarios for the role of computers in our future. One bleak view had computers running our governments and prying into our lives. The other had computers spreading information and moving us toward near universal suffrage and civic participation. Our current reality is somewhere in between.

    Let hope only part of this prediction comes true. Image: Fox

    Let hope only part of this prediction comes true.
    Image: Fox

  • The American Hemisphere – A jingoistic writeup by the Akron Daily Democrat in 1901 imagined an America that 100 years hence would encompass the entire Western Hemisphere, complete with a 300-member Senate and an 800-member House of Representatives. This, of course, could never happen. That many politicians on Capitol Hill would surely spell doom for the country.
  • Donald Trump becomes president – An episode of “The Simpsons” in 2000 looking forward to the year 2030 predicted a Donald Trump presidency. Unfortunately, it also predicted that he drives the country into a financial meltdown. Let’s hope they remain only half right, because in the real world there is no Bart Simpson to save the day.