A Diffident Dream, A Modest Proposal
On Monday, January 21, Barack Hussein Obama will again take the oath for the Office of the Presidency of the United States, having won a general election 332 to 206, with a notable 3.84% edge in the popular vote. And to heap a sense of irony, history, even divinity on the event, it occurs on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. So then, with the President’s approval ratings high, Democratic popularity waxing and the GOP in daily and defiant self-immolation, why does a feeling of unease, querulousness, even dread grip so many in our Republic?
A post-mortem on the election, Paul Ryan’s selection and Mitt Romney’s rejection could inform the inquiry, or some discussion about the 1987 abandonment of the Fairness Doctrine and rise of the destructively extreme right-wing; indeed that conversation could fill volumes. And of course this inauguration will mark the 33rd anniversary of the dawn of purposeful, intentional degradation of the middle class, working poor and disadvantaged in America.
No, notwithstanding those causes and symptomologies, the stark reason for this pall is the ineluctable and horrific vision of 20 tiny caskets in Newtown Connecticut and the breathtaking ignorance of so many of our brothers and sisters in response to the unthinkable.
In the wake of perhaps the most grisly tragedy in the post-911 US, while decency and sympathy have appeared to hold sway, America’s lurch to self-examination has also revealed the worst that is in us. Folks have called for impeachment, nullification, insurrection, sedition, secession, revolution and assassination. The Speaker of the Kansas State House has urged the like-minded to pray for the President’s untimely death.
Numerous national, state and local office holders have sworn to ignore, oppose and arrest federal officers performing lawful duties and Rush Hudson Limbaugh III viciously mocked horrified children, live on the air to some 20 million-plus listeners and viewers, making great sport of the rational and real fear of the most vulnerable among us. One can’t help but observe that if similar remarks had been uttered during the recent GOP hegemony by Democrats, Muslims and the like, some such unlucky fools would have likely been ‘disappeared’ in the finest tradition of Pinochet and Pol Pot.
So then, what to do? More specifically, if Jonathan Swift, Jon Stewart and John Adams were sussing this out over a cold tankard, what would they suggest? With a captive audience this Monday, the President can take the initiative, look the most recalcitrant, traitorous, unpatriotic, and murderous states of the New American Christian Caliphate dead in the eyes and tell them: you and each of you are hereby suspended without pay.
Yes indeed, like a reasonable shift manager who’s had it up to ‘here,’ or a patient, avuncular school principal attempting control of bullies, thugs, intruders and armed assailants for the safety of the rest of the students. Those brazenly backward states acting against their own citizens’ well being and the very idea that is America should not be expelled. Just put them in detention, with that most vilified federal spigot unceremoniously shut off until further notice.
Granted there will be some very rough and unintended consequences, up to and including pay-less paydays, shuttered schools, padlocked turnpikes, steaming reactors, blossoming crime, short-term disease, death and possible invasions from above and below. But what the hell, these post-antebellum and like recipient states have been giving us donor states and the entire ideal of union the finger pretty much since Nixon’s Southern Strategy.
So by around opening day for baseball, when all the recalls, recounts, reversals, recriminations and rebirths are done, and a collective epiphany descends on the once and former Red State Nation, bringing clarity to both the outcome of the Civil War and the 2012 election, we can all again resume singing from the same American hymnal with as many beautiful voices as there are fortunate souls in this remarkable, if exasperating country.
Five years before his murder, Dr. King told us ‘There is nothing in all the world more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.’ Three days ago the President said ‘This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.’ Once again, both these men are as right as rain and deserve the thanks of a grateful Nation.