Mann Opens the Gates in Washington
Bureau, with the International
prepared for an exhibition in hardball politics during
the waning weeks of June. As Summer opens, the gates of
the U.S. Senate must make way for a fearsome contest.
America's struggle to find itself and its destiny in the
mid Twenty-Second Century is about to climax with the
debate over the passage of the Mann Act II.
The controversial bill, which would enable the referendum
process necessary to the adoption of the "Sentient
Being Voting Rights Amendment," is the creation of
a feisty ex-tubetruck operator from the mean streets of
Mascoutah, Illinois. Senator Julia Mann is no stranger
to divisive causes and arduous struggles, but this is
undoubtedly her greatest challenge. It's the closing argument
in a trial she now shares with the entire country.
Given the bill's success in the House of Representatives,
Senator Mann believes that her fragile senatorial coalition
will win the day. Groups like the Coalition for Robotic
Freedom and the A.I. Suffrage Association agree. Objective
commentators are not so sure. It appears that the naysayers
may have the upper hand. They are certainly capable of
wielding plenty of muscle, whether it be in the streets,
in the cloistered halls of congress, or on the senate
Some opponents, like the Anti-Robot Militia, appear radical
by most American standards. Others, like the 7 to 1, maintain
higher ground. Collectively, though, they are a force
not easily reckoned with, and they are desperate to stop
what they consider to be a hysterically dangerous tide
of misconceived sympathy for inanimate machines that might
ultimately replace humankind.