Lenin entitled one of his famous essays: "What Is To Be Done." After all the talk and theorizing about the sad state of Russia under the Tsar, someone had to do something. Of course, the direction Lenin chose was not exactly the right one, although he did have sense enough to realize, as he told the industrialist Armand Hammer, "communism was not working." Hammer responded by telling the communist dictator that he should change course and adopt capitalism but call it something else. Which is exactly what he did, calling it the NEP, or New Economic Policy.
We have now reached a pivotal stage in America, a low point in which the worst have seized control of the government and, doing the reverse of Lenin, have abolished the free market system while claiming they were restoring it. Bush is a maniacal dictator who might as well be seeking advice from Rasputin as from Dick Cheney. He has thrown us into an endless abyss of foreign wars, soaring oil prices, gigantic budget deficits and ever-expanding bureaucracies that have the common objective of ending human freedom.
What is to be done? Third party candidacies, however tempting, have never succeeded in America, because the American voters, to the extent that they can drag themselves Oblomov-like, from their beds to actually go down to the polls, are such insufferable sheep that they will never risk it and go for the obvious alternative to the self-imposed slavery they endorse with blind obedience every election day.
But there is reason for hope. If one accepts, a priori, as a rule of thumb, that each American president will be worse than the last one, then we have the option of pushing this to the limit and getting it over with. The answer is for all of us who can’t stand it anymore, to register as Democrats (yes, hold your nose and do it) and vote in the presidential primaries everywhere for the Reverend Al Sharpton. It is going to be a tight season under the new rules of the Democratic Party. With the voting going on in a short period of time, one candidate will emerge by next March as the inevitable nominee.
Pop the champagne corks when the news breaks that the Reverend Al has won in New Hampshire. And as he rolls from victory to victory across the land, the voices of the hated Establishment will be heard bemoaning the fact that the system doesn’t work, that all is lost, that we have come to some kind of complete impasse and the absolute end to everything its America has stood for — socialism, fraudulent elections, a wrecked education system, a demented health care system, and a military-intelligence mechanism designed to perpetuate endless wars and domestic repression.
There, triumphant in his glory (and his hair-do), will be the Reverend Al, beaming in the sublime knowledge that it can get no worse, that we have hit rock bottom. To the strains of hip-hop, he will announce that the war in Iraq is over, that our troops are coming home. And that’s for starters. "All that money we bin’ givin’ to Israel is comin’ home, too. They got the biggest army in the Middle East and can take care a’ themselves. And no more foreign aid to Egypt, Bolivia, Ruritania, Slabovia and the rest of those countries out there somewhere."
Of course, when the Rev. Al tries to start up a gigantic social services system, putting two thirds of the country on welfare, we will regroup. By then, our enemies will have fled to Costa Rica to live (where many of them do now anyway) and the "amorphous mass," as Martin Heidegger referred to the great majority of people in any society who unquestioningly accept things as they are, will finally be willing to listen to reason and face reality.
They will come to the conclusion on their own that the only way to save themselves is to abolish the state and replace it with a loose confederacy of sovereign entities sufficiently small so as to pose no danger of having imperial fantasies. The White House can be turned into a motel and the Capitol into a bowling alley. Cheney would make a great doorman, and Richard Perle could be the maitre d’ at the restaurant. It is his natural calling to be aggressively sycophantic and devious. People will have to slip him some bills to get a good table. Bush would make a great greeter, smiling and shaking hands amiably, without every having to think about anything or even having to read the menu.
And the Reverend Al? He will be the honorary president with no power, a reminder of what America once was, so that no one in his right mind would ever want to go there again. But if people are so dumb as to go back to the old way, they should know that after Sharpton, the only possible American president would be a Mexican general.
Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author of a new novel, The Immortalists, as well as The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, and the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.