Presidential Timber, Kindling, Sawdust

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Recently by Fred Reed: A Conversation With Hant

     

All indicators point downward, I tell you. On the lobotomy box the other night I stumbled on what seemed to be sock puppets standing behind rostrums and hypnotically intoning “The American People, the American People, the American People.”

Puzzled, I speculated that it might be a convention of performing autistics, but soon understood that it it was a debate among Republican candidates for the presidency. Why use people, I wondered? We could do it as well in software. Computer graphics, small recorded vocabulary, narcotic rhythm. Easy.

Someone named Romney was speaking. I checked the Wicked Pedia to see what manner of creature he might be. No surprises. Pampered rich kid, apparently not too bright, mediocre student in fancy private schools. A Mormon. Only one wife, though. A former missionary in France. It might have been worse. We could have bombed St. Denis.

I thought of all the Mormon missionaries I had seen in various countries, black-suited in Taiwan in August, peddling around like bicycle-borne undertakers, earnest, solemn, living in some eerie head-bubble inaccessible to outsiders. Oh help.

I’m going to become an ant, I decided. It would be less embarrassing. I don’t know how to go about it, but there must be a way. I’ll live in one of those high-rise mud nests in the Australian desert, except I think those are termites. How can they be termites with no wood to eat? Maybe they have it shipped in.

Among the American-Peoplers was Rick Perry, a Son of Texas in the mold of Bush II, dumb as turnips, inarticulate, a wing-nut Christian. I guess he’s waitin’ for the ol’ Rapture-suction to whoosh him up to drink Lone Star with Chay-suss. Poor Chaysuss. Rick wants to invade Mexico militarily, but only with the permission of the Mexican government. Thoughtful of him to ask.

Does he speak Spanish? No. English? Almost. Any experience outside the US? No. Doesn’t need it. He has a direct line to God, who presumably speaks to him slowly, in words without too many syllables.

“The American People. The American People. We have to get America back on track. The Ordinary American. We have to get back to American Values. The American Dream.”

What the hell is the American Dream, I wondered? Seven credit cards maxed-out, living paycheck to paycheck, upside down on the mortgage in a boring house you don’t really like, a job you hate but the retirement plan gotcha, your little boy buzzing on force-fed Ritalin, wife and daughter gobbling Prozac and everyone wondering, “Is this all there is?”

Actually, yes. Well, maybe a week at Disneyland with that stupid mouse.

Then Michele Bachmann, clueless evangelical daffodil. May God save us from Christianity. Brighter than Perry, but so is anything not actually inanimate. Not visibly intelligent enough to disqualify her for election, but maybe she is dissimulating. No experience in the world that I can see.

“America was not created to be a nation of followers,,” Romney told his followers. The key to election seems to be to tell Americans how wonderful they are, stroke them like cats, avoid puzzling them, and keep saying “The American Dream.” Tell them that we’re a country of rugged individualists, just like Davy Crockett and Dan’l Boone. Probably we should wear coon-skin hats.

Somebody asked Romney, will he attack Iran if it doesn’t obey Washington? “Absolutely,” responded this apostle of the Church of Latter Day Pattons. Japan’s oil comes through the Straits of Hormuz, which his hearers believe to be a brand of beef stew. No oil, no Japan. No matter. “The American People….”

I’m going to slit my throat. Do ants have throats? A country of 315 million, nuclear-armed, able to wreck other countries it has never heard of in minutes, and the candidates sound as if they were addressing a warehouse of stuffed animals. This is the best we can do?

Yes.

The American People. The American Dream. We must turn this country around. OK, then the East Coast would front on the Pacific. Why would that be better? It’s probably some sort of real-estate scam.

Newt Gingrich. At least he’s been to school, though he’s smart enough not to emphasize it. The American People. The traditional values that made this country grate. Great. America is not a desperately sick over-policed welfare state collapsing into the Third World. No. Everything is as it always was. All we need is the Newt World Order and we will leap tall buildings at a single bound.

He too wants to attack Iran. The man has the military grasp of Tinker Belle. Grrr, bow-wow, woof.

Maybe instead of an ant, I’ll become an aardvark. Though I’m not sure what one is. I need a change of phylum. What do cephalopods eat?

At least we no longer have that low-wattage high-school cheerleader turned moose-huntress. Stuffed animals fore and aft, I tell you. Contemplating Obama, I swore I’d never vote for another black president. After Bush II, I swore I’d never vote for another white one. My options were narrowing. Now I’m thinking Obama or Herman Cain. Slick Empty in the great White Yurt on Pennsylvania Avenue is still corrupt and invertebrate, but now only starts small wars, as in Uganda. Cain makes pizzas and seems to be a human being. It’s a novel concept but these are trying times. Besides they say he did sexually inappropriate stuff to some gals who want to be on talk-shows and get book contracts. Good for him. I’m going to start a group called Men Mad at Sanctimonious Priss Spigots. Cain can be a Founding Fondler.

Except for Cain (I think) and Ron Paul, the candidates all want to attack Iran. Rick Santorum too. I guess it’s a manhood issue. Maybe we could buy them codpieces instead. Michele could get hers from Victoria’s Secret, with sequins and flowers. Most of this crew were of military age during Viet Nam. How many served? Ah. Umm. Uh. Urg. A pack of martial dwarves without the tiniest freaking idea why the Pentagon can’t beat Iran.

I couldn’t take it. Before Ron Paul began to speak I went out for a gallon of Padre Kino red and an IV drip. I thought it might hold me over until I figured out how to become an aardvark.

After all, Ron Paul is tiresomely predictable. He would say hateful anti-American things. You know, we should get out of damn fool wars, pick the military leech off the back of the republic, dismantle an empire that bankrupts the US, and end our perpetual state of martial priapism against Iran. Completely unelectable. A commie, I figure.

Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well and A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be. His latest book is Curmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle. Visit his blog.

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