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The Border Question, Part II

February 20, 2016

In the current atmosphere of polarization and vitriol, my important suggestions for resolving the U.S. immigration crisis (“Tzapping the Borders,” August 31, 2015) have been ignored. I take no personal offense. My wife generally ignores me too.

Perhaps, in fact, one fear I expressed in that essay—that mutant penguins might swarm our beaches—was overblown. As yet, I haven’t seen reports of any such invaders, though I doubt Governor Christie has been patrolling the Jersey coast as vigorously as he ought.

In any event, I realize it takes repeated iterations to make a truth sink in, as our presidential candidates demonstrate by uttering the same phrases a dozen times each day. In this post, though, I’m not going to replay my arguments from last August. Instead, to keep up with the evolving debate, I’ll offer a modified proposal.

Our composite Republican candidate for president, Dred Crumpio, insists on building a wall along the Mexican border, and reiterates the plan so often that we have to take it seriously. All right, then, let’s say we agree to it. Let’s look at the practical implications.

The expense of a wall will be enormous, and asserting that the Mexican government will have to pay for it is ludicrous. Mexico City doesn’t have bags of cash lying around, and any Mexican politician who agreed to such payments without getting, say, Texas in trade would be hounded out of office. (And you wouldn’t really trade Texas back to Mexico, would you? The Alamo, Davy Crockett and all that? Wait, you would?)

But there are nongovernmental entities in Mexico that could pay for a wall. Think a moment. Do you see where I’m going?

The drug syndicates! The Sinaloa Cartel! Los Zetas! Cártel del Golfo! Et al., al., al., al. They’re the ones with cash and valuables spilling out of every pocket, not to mention other orifices. But what would induce them to put up funds for a border wall?

A rational businessman

Well, it’s obvious: We install a few gates in the wall, which only the cartels can access. Then they’ll be able to bring in drugs without hassle, saving the ongoing costs of recruiting and compensating smugglers and bribing law enforcement. Those costs must be considerable, after all. Consider how difficult it must be to convince potential mules to carry bags of cocaine in their rectums, even if you threaten to slaughter their parents and torture their children. Besides, such threats are abhorrent to successful businessmen. It would make much more sense for the Cartel Lords to help us build a wall through which they, and only they, could export goods safely. And being eminently rational, undeterred by sentiment or idealism, the Lords will agree.

Naturally the gates’ existence must be kept secret. If we the public knew, we’d want to use them for importing other stuff, such as cheap pottery and tequila and underpaid labor. Therefore, for this plan to work, we need to elect a president who is adept at concealing the truth and lying to the American public.

Dred Crumpio, the new face of America

Dred Crumpio, the new face of America

Luckily, we have just such a candidate. Dred Crumpio is our man! Can we all get together and support him now?

Nostalgia and Survival

February 18, 2016

Watching the Black Panthers documentary on PBS the other night (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution by Stanley Nelson) made me predictably nostalgic, but I was also confused. What exactly had I thought of the Panthers, and their now-mythic confrontations with the cops, back in the day? In some cases I was just a few miles away when the events went down, but I don’t remember my attitude. Was I mostly on the Panthers’ side, somewhat on the cops’ side, or in my usual utterly muddled middle?

Jed Garoover, as immortalized in the Library of Congress

Jed Garoover, as immortalized in the Library of Congress

The documentary also brought up fond memories of San Francisco Chronicle columns by the late Art Hoppe, who turned political figures into comic characters such as Elbie Jay and Billy Boomer, Boy President. Parts of the documentary featured Washington’s arch-villain, the head of the FBI, and I was trying to recall: Did Hoppe invent the name Jed Garoover for that multi-chinned Mephistopheles? It seems to me he did, though I can’t now confirm that.

Most important, the documentary got me thinking about my faith in America—its culture, its political system, its fundamental being. Despite all the polarization and hatred in the Panther days, I didn’t feel, as I do now, the same overpowering sense that the American Soul was at stake. Maybe my youth made me optimistic. Maybe I believed that truth would win in the long run (hah!). Maybe I trusted in the innate sense of the common people who supposedly have the final say in a democracy.

Now I know that we commoners are marginalized by power brokers and fixers, and many of us don’t give a shit anyway. A friend with relatives in Jerusalem tells me that many young Jewish Israelis have given up on politics, neither believing in the long-assumed “two-state solution” nor searching for an alternative. Instead, she says, they live for the moment; they go to cafes and dance on the beach. Is that what we’ve come to now in America?

My new home? (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Though we survived the empty-pated Reagan and the crook Nixon, not to mention earlier embarrassments like Harding and Grant, can we survive the new Republican, Dred Crumpio? (For a sketch of Crumpio, see my previous post.) In the event that the White House, as well as Congress, becomes the fiefdom of demagogic frauds, I’m at least half-seriously considering a move to Canada. I’ve already picked out a neighborhood with a large dog park (green area on the map), though I haven’t yet researched the regulations for exporting dog and family.

So: Would I be wrong to give up on the US of A? Would that be (a) cowardly, (b) a sign of clinical depression, or (c) sane?

The Composite Candidate

February 5, 2016

Crumpio

Dred Crumpio

Now that the presidential campaign season is truly underway, the composite candidates have begun to emerge.

Back in 2012, the composite Republican contender, whom I named Mick Somnorich, was kind of feckless, hard to take seriously. He was, in fact, boring, and everyone’s already forgotten him.

This year’s version is truculent and malevolent, much more exciting to watch in the present and likely more memorable in the long term. For those who haven’t tuned in yet, here is his message in a poetic nutshell:

Ready for a New American Century?
Calling the enemy by its name,
I’m the conservative who Democrats
fear most. I won’t let them take away
our giveaway to the corporate patrons.
They’re rapists on the lookout!
It is our job to kill terrorists. Weakness is
provocative. I would bomb the shit out of them.
And believe me, my temperament is very good,
very calm, I’m proud to have an “A” rating
from the American Rifle Association.
We stop bad guys by using our guns!
If I become president, Americans can work
together to revive Merry Christmas
and infringe on the rights of good, law-abiding
citizens. The whole world is on fire!
Look at that face! Pathological,
there’s no cure for that.

This composite’s name is Dred Crumpio, and he believes everything he says, even if he knows it’s a lie. Because talk is just talk, after all. It’s another thing entirely to whomp the bad guys, and believe you me, Americans don’t care about the actual score as long as we can pretend we’re winning.