As the government shutdown shuffles into its third day -- with no glimmer of resolution in sight -- I woke up this morning with a revelation about the end game the Republicans might have in mind. Just what are these so-called Republicans really up to? I say 'so-called' because the more I look at them, the more I see a band of deconstructionists for whom a truly republican ideal is anathema.
The question about their end game was sparked by a dream I had last night, a dream set in an 18th century post-revolution, pre-constitutional America that had somehow advanced to the 21st century. In the dream, our country was a full-blown nation of 50 states, but still a confederation of individual authorities without a central operating principle.
We weren't exactly Balkanized, but we were not really unified either; the states were loosely bound by local and regional laws and regulations. The most prosperous states were headed by corporations and individuals of great wealth; the least prosperous states were led by caretakers -- weak governments subservient to the market and fiscal pressures of the power states.
National defense decisions were made by a board consisting of the top 10 military contractors. Commerce was controlled by a cadre of transportation, shipping, agriculture, and construction magnates. A health care consortium of major medical corporations set the rules and prices for hospital admissions and access to prescriptions, as well as the definition of "sick": you could be sick if you had money; if you were broke, good luck. Education was based on a pay-to-know plan, otherwise known as the Dollars for Knowledge system wherein the very poor were given just enough education to get by in blue collar jobs, while the rich could buy all the information they needed to succeed.
There was no State Department in the dream -- all decisions about the confederation's activities in the global community were made by a bilateral commission headed up by the Disney Company and Fox News. The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve were replaced by a single national bank, KochUnited, which set all the financial rules and oversaw the distribution of wealth.
I don't recall seeing any Justice Department in the dream, nor was there a Supreme Court. Local criminal laws and punishments were community-based and enforced by gun-toting neighborhood watch volunteers. Confederation laws were developed by a board of corporate adjudicators and based on a poverty-to-riches curve: the heaviest fines and incarcerations were meted out to the poor, while the least burdensome penalties were wrist-slaps for the extremely wealthy.
As I dream-flew down the East Coast, I passed over New York City and saw that the center of power rested on Wall Street, in a firm called Tweed and Associates. Their motto: "In Vicem Pluribus, Unum." "Instead of Many, One."
"That can't be right," I thought, "What the heck happened to Washington?"
With the speed only a dream can allow, I swooped down on my home town, only to find the White House in ruins, the Mall overgrown with kudzu, and all the monuments cracked or crumbling. In the distance, where once the Capitol stood proud atop its hill, only the torso and headdress of the statue of Freedom could be seen above the weeds and vines. And then it struck me: This is the end game the Deconstructionist Party had in mind. This is what they wanted all along!
I woke up silently screaming Charlton Heston's closing line, "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! G...damn you all to hell!"
Thank goodness it was only a dream.
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