Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird
-- Traditional American lullaby
The Senator stands before the fixed gaze of the CSPAN cameras in the always empty Senate chamber. His hands hold a stack of paper over a thousand pages thick. He observes, in a voice shaded with resignation and contempt, that no member of the Senate, himself included, has read the endless laundry list of fools’ gold nuggets that a majority are about to vote into law. Then, in what is less a gesture than a simple removal of his hands, he lets the pile drop to the floor where it lands with a sodden thump. The future of what was once a republic is smeared on the sheets of tumbled pile of paper on the Senate floor.
We do not know what this "future" holds within its pages. We know only that no one with the power to approve or disapprove this future that has now been decreed has read it. Like the future it represents the “bill” is obscure and unknowable. Like some czar’s whim it has simply been decreed by those who have made themselves master.
Indeed, to listen to the leadership of the party that has carried it in heavy piles from whatever agency collated and reproduced the thousand pages, there is no time to read it. All is huffing bustle, whirl and spin. Like the White Rabbit, the speaker of the House – after promising to post the bill for 48 hours so that ‘the people’ might read it, proclaims, “It’s late. It’s late. / For a very important date….” And then hustles back out of the chamber or out of camera range with her buttocks clenched and bobbing, her latest lie stuck to her shoe like some dubious strip of paper.
And besides, you wouldn’t really want to read the bill, even a section of it, unless sleep or coma is your most desperate need. The bill, on all it’s promulgated pages when you get a brief whiff of what lurks within it, is written in a blur of numbers and phrases and clichés and obfuscations so dense that the mere reading of a paragraph could drop a charging rhino at fifty yards.
And if that mockingbird won't sing,
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring
So we know only that, before passage, no elected representative of the Republic had read the bill mandating the future of the Republic. We also know that no citizen has been allowed to read the bill. Who then has?
Surely someone, some entity resembling a human, has read the bill. Is it possible that no one actually has? Is the bill just a collection of subsections pulled out of the commodious and infinite asses of members of the permanent government, the real one that exists like some immortal and gigantic toad beyond and above elections?
Did the bill of a trillion dollars simply assemble itself as sections were teleported in from lobbies and interest groups and the denizens deep in the Bureaus; sections dictated by the faceless, keyboarded by the faithful, and signed off on by no one? The pages do not, one assumes simply write themselves. Then again perhaps they do. One cannot know. One is not, it seems, allowed to know who is composing them for whom.
Does the bill also include paragraphs cobbled together from lines in the long, long list of all those owed by the Obama administration? Will we find the wishes and dreams of a thousand different parasites on the body politic burrowing within its pages? The short lists of line-items leaked out certainly make it seem that way. Everywhere one touches this thing there seems to be….
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Yes, some tasty splooge for everyone bobs in this malodorous muck. All of us. Each and every one. Many of the items cannot be gainsaid by those with good will. Many others are loathsome at the sight. But no matter what may be of benefit to this or that group, in aggregate the sums of money required to make it all come to pass are so beyond all reason that the only emotion one can muster is one of impending doom. This is not, in a country, an emotion likely to inspire confidence, resolve and recovery, only the impulse to take to one’s bed and seek a sleep unto death.
Hence the promise of the lullaby,
And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Papa's gonna buy you a looking glass
Yes, it doesn’t matter if this bill that none have read is not that crazy shining diamond that reflects and refracts light in the shadows and cures all ills, palliates all anxieties, gives houses away like business cards, and fills the gas tanks of the nation with pure Presidential effluvium. If this “diamond ring” of “stimulus” turns into a thin brass plating on a drifting iceberg of excrement, there will be another bill, this one a looking glass in which we can see our own emaciated reflection.
But should that reflection be too horrible to gaze at, should it, like the Gorgon, turn the citizen to stone....
... if that looking glass gets broke,
Papa's gonna buy you a billy goat
Yes, there will always be the great father in Washington ready to buy his serfs and wards farm animals for their amusement lest they find out that they, and not the goats, are the real beasts of burden in this Brave New World. Will they ever see, even then, that they are but property owned by the plantation? Doubtful. Do cattle see the skull hammer waiting at the end of the slaughterhouse chute?
The bill, and the one’s beyond it, will bring a finally perfected democracy into being. A pure democracy of need where the multiplying many are carried on the backs of the fading few, even those of the newly rich few who worked and donated that this new phase of “democracy” in the United States come to pass. Even they will come, in time, to understand with H. L. Mencken that “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” Even they, in time, will see who really is the goat.
But should they protest, they will find it is far too late. They are already in the harness that this unread bill fit them for and pull they will.
And if that billy goat won't pull,
Papa's gonna buy you a cart and bull
Much has been made of the supposed fact that little of this bill bears the marks of the current President; that it all has be jumbled together by a Congress fat with power and seeking to get all its champagne dreams of a quasi-socialist state rolling in one fell swoop. But what if that is only a partial reading of the truth just as all readings of this bill are partial and superficial?
What if, instead, this bill contains – since it is protean enough to contain almost anything – the actual items that outline the most deeply held beliefs of a man suckled at the breast of all the broken dreams that sent hundreds of millions of humans to the block in the last century? What if, as we root about in the endless paragraphs and pages, we do see the outlines, at last, of what this strange and obscure man actually believes and plans? What if nothing is accident and all is intent? And the intent is “darker than a hundred midnights down in a cypress swamp?”
Will we still hear the last lines of the lullaby as we slip into our own coma?
And if that cart and bull fall down,
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town
Or will we hear instead that ear worm from Poe’s The Raven?
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Sweet dreams, perishing Republic.Posted by Vanderleun at February 15, 2009 5:50 AM | TrackBack