Given historical precedents, today presents thoughtful Americans with three potentially rewarding opportunities to ponder the increasingly ridiculous political landscape of the United States. For the consideration of readers with a puckish sense of humor, I offer a brief and admittedly imaginative narrative that might help illuminate some of the folly that passes for statecraft in our Republic.
22 September 1499: Switzerland becomes an independent state, and Christopher Columbus immediately transfers his “New World earnings” to a secret bank account in Geneva. When he learns of this action, Rick Santorum promises that, if he is elected President, he will immediately confer Tea Party membership on Columbus for his “enlightened view of tax reduction.” Not to be outdone, Ron Paul, who went to high school with Columbus, praises him for his visionary grasp of gold standard monetary policy and pledges that his first act as President would be to retroactively award Columbus full American citizenship. When asked if he would also offer Hispanics now living illegally in the United States an opportunity to become citizens, Paul nods his head sagely and says, “Shut up.”
Below – Either the Christopher Columbus Vault in some Swiss bank or Dick Cheney’s “wine cellar.”
September 22, 1692: The last person is hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. This event presents Rick Perry with both a problem and an opportunity. Since he is an avowed evangelical Christian, he must read scripture literally, and it clearly states in “Leviticus” that “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” but killing witches has lost much of its appeal in America, at least among non-evangelicals. However, there might be a way for him to please his Old Testament-obsessed constituency, be obedient to the Biblical admonition, and thin out the Republican Presidential candidate field. Best of all, he would not need a rope – just a bucket of water.
Mitt Romney, who was once the governor of witch-hanging Massachusetts, also has an opportunity to capitalize on his state’s theocratic past. Evangelicals distrust him for being a Mormon, probably in large part because his beliefs are different from but just as silly as theirs, but they might warm to his candidacy if he were to pledge that, as President, he would institute a national holiday on 22 September, the central focus of which would be the hanging of a witch or warlock (for the sake of gender inclusiveness) from the top of the Washington Monument. Romney might also demonstrate his Biblical grit by allowing the victim of the public execution to be selected by a vote of Tea Party members. I don’t think that the initial ballot would contain very many names:
September 22, 1784: Russian trappers establish a colony on Kodiak Island, Alaska. However, the United States had absolutely nothing to worry about, because Sarah Palin’s great, great, great, great grandmother kept an eye on them from her porch.
What an absurd group of candidates; and while what can aptly be called the Republican Circus provides its audience with a great deal of low-grade comedy, every voter needs to remember that these clowns claim to be the political heirs of Abraham Lincoln. Now that’s a really funny joke!