Recently by Fred Reed: No Hope
I see that I shall have to take over the helm of the country to save it from the impending collapse. It has come to this. I have always said that I would undertake the presidency only under an assumed name – who would want that on his résumé? – but noblesse oblges. What could be nobler than this column?
You may say, “But Fred, how can you be so bloody arrogant as to think you can run the country?” To which I reply, “We know that the incumbents cannot. I may be able to. In any event, I couldn’t be worse: I have not that talent. Which do you prefer, assured disaster or a sporting chance?”
Apparently the key to a successful campaign is a bumper sticker of supernal stupidity and irrelevance. I can play that game. How about “A Fred in Every Pot.” Or Tippecanoe and Frederick Too.” Or “Better Fred than Dead.” Or "Fred…Ahhhh." Or, most pertinently, ”Well, Have You Got a Better Idea?”
It is my understanding that as a candidate, I need a platform. I think this means a pack of rhythmically mendacious platitudes that would put a crank freak to sleep. I shall try to do better. The following appear to me serviceable:
“Defense” policy: We don’t have one. The last time the military defended the United States was 1945 – the United States, remember, being that place between Canada and Mexico, a region that does not include (recent graduates, check your atlas) Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Albania, Yugoslavia, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Iran, Nigeria, or Yemen.
Do not misunderstand me. I am as patriotic as the next guy, and consequently happy to kill remote strangers for no reason, and their wives, children, dogs, and flocks. Unfortunately, we can no longer afford it. Do you know what bombs cost these days? Thus we must either find a cheaper means of terminating Afghan children, perhaps by poisoning, or else, on purely economic grounds, we must restrain the Pentagon’s appetites.
Therefore, under my administration all military officers will be required to wear pink tutus, toe shoes, and brassieres with expandable boob compartments. This will discourage history majors in arrested development from becoming lieutenants and strutting around like Genghis Kahn simulacra. An army of ballerinas will be much less troublesome.
With each promotion officers will get larger inserts of high-density silicone, so that they get back trouble and retire. David Petraeus will be instantly issued an udder.
Is this not genius?
Further, all pilots of military helicopters will be required to go into combat with their children strapped to the skids. This will calm martial enthusiasm. (I was going to use the pilots’ wives, but on reflection realized that this might lead to an insatiable thirst for war.)
Education policy: I will institute schools. This will be a novel concept in a nation accustomed to day-care centers intended to keep the young off the labor market, introduce them to drugs the purchase of which sustains the Mexican economy, and, so as to prepare them for jobs in odious bureaucracies, inure them to levels of boredom that would cause a stone post to crumble.
To this end I will put a bounty on education theorists, offer taxidermy at public expense, and convert teachers colleges into repositories for radioactive waste (Wait: They might mutate. The consequences could be incalculable. I’ll have to think this over carefully). The schools will teach reading (phonetically) writing (grammatically) and arithmetic (without calculators). Otherwise their entire staffs will be fed to colonies of army ants. Brazil has lots.
I am replete with ideas for scholarly progress and social improvement. For example, any student who curses or assaults a teacher will be expelled, instantly and forever. (“But Fred,” you say, “The poor things, they will end up in prison.” Exactly. They would anyway. Let’s get them started. Think of it as advanced placement. We could call it Head Start.)
Next, I will end affirmative action, specifically to include the admission to Ivy schools of dull-witted white legacies. This admirable policy would have protected us from Bush II, who on his merits couldn’t have gotten into Yale with burglar tools. It will make the federal bureaucracy functional again. Everything will be done without regard for race, creed, color, sex, or national origin, except cheesecake photography. The underlying principle is the recognition that if you hire people because they can’t do a job, they won’t.
TSA: I am told that in Africa there are enormous silver-backed gorillas that can crush a coconut one-handed. I will station one of these at every airport gate in the country after suitable training. After an employee of TSA gropes a passenger, the gorilla will grope the TSA employee. This will doubtless result in a degree of attrition and, one hopes, frequent emasculation. Those who stay on the job will work naked to promote a sense of oneness with the public.
Moreover, I intend to institute the National Sausage Act, requiring that all other officials of Homeland Security be passed through a large industrial grinder. They will then be packed into sausage skins before being fed to undiscriminating sharks. This promise alone should result in my election by a grateful nation.
The first into the hopper will be that awful woman who records the airport warnings in that condescending almost gurgling elocution-major voice that sounds as if she wants to suck the microphone. There are limits to what we can bear. Well, there ought to be.
Next, I will have members of Congress officially designated as ducks by the National Park Service. States vary as to when duck season opens, but this is a matter of States rights. For a small license fee in the capital itself, citizens will be permitted to erect duck blinds along Pennsylvania Avenue. I imagine the use of duck calls which will squawk, “Quaaack Pork, graft, corruption, little boys awwwk!”
God I’m good.
Next, marriage. We now have a situation in which heterosexuals believe that marriage exists to produce children, while homosexuals pursue their own ends. (Actually they pursue each other’s ends, but never mind.) As president of all Americans, I cannot discriminate. It seems to me that I must either outlaw all marriage entirely by executive order, or allow to all citizens the creativity that has made this country great.
I will thus allow same-sex marriage, as well as polygamy, on the principle that the state has no place in the bedroom. Combining same-sex marriage with polygamy, I imagine whole matrimonial platoons, with a sense of community and perhaps ID cards. In fact, I see no constitutional barrier to marriage between species. Why should a man not marry Fido? It is a question of individual conscience. We could introduce children to nonjudgmental attitudes with books called “Mommy Says Moooo.”
Ha. I cannot lose. See you in November.
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well, A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be, Curmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle, Au Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book About Viet Nam, and A Grand Adventure: Wisdom’s Price-Along with Bits and Pieces about Mexico. Visit his blog.