The 2012 presidential campaign has begun, and it's already shaping up to be a historically contentious fight. The stakes are high.
Some of our nation's celebrities won't be content with simple endorsements and appearances this time around. They'll have no choice but to threaten to leave the country if the election doesn't go their way.
Credit Barbra Streisand and Alec Baldwin for allegedly starting the trend, back during the 2000 presidential election. No, their candidate didn't win. And no, they didn't end up leaving the country. Baldwin would even try to explain that he didn't really make the threat. Nevertheless, those were uneasy days for Baldwin fans.
Eight years later, Alec's brother Stephen publicly threatened to leave the country if Obama was elected. Nobody knows if he left the country or not.
Empty threats? Perhaps. But, by definition, all threats are empty until they aren't. We've already lost Gwyneth Paltrow to Europe. What if the next person is someone the public will actually pay to see in a movie? No, these threats are exactly that. Threats. Existential threats that strike at the very heart of America's economy and geopolitical standing in the world. It's time we take them seriously.
Celebrities are America's greatest natural resource. And because celebrities care more about the environment and other important things than the rest of us, they actually make the world a better place by their mere existence. They are like the trees in the rainforest, filtering out the bad stuff and filling the world with good. If they disappear from America, we'll suffocate. We must act now to make sure celebrities are unable to follow through on their campaign threats.
First, seal our border with Mexico. Celebrities aren't necessarily strong climbers, so a standard four-foot-high chain-link fence would probably suffice. If need be, the fence can be supplemented with dogs trained to sniff out Botox. Then, immediately after the election, clamp down on international travel. Every first class cabin should have at least one undercover air marshal armed with an IMDb iPhone app. Expensive yachts can be monitored via drones remotely operated by the staff at TMZ.
The Canadian border? Not a real concern. A few strategically placed electronic billboards displaying the current temperature in Winnipeg should suffice. Plus, we need to keep the border open so Canadian comics can continue to stream into our country to become actors. Otherwise, they might become mimes.
The punishment for any celebrity caught trying to escape should be severe and act as a deterrent to others. This can range from being forced to appear in a Jack Black movie to having to play the title role in a live-action version of the comic strip Ziggy.
There's no need to burden the average American with the cost of this program. The entire border fence can be paid for with a tax on life-size wax figures, rolls of red carpet, and briefcases sent to Charlie Sheen. An annual operating fund can come from a $1 surcharge on every award Hollywood gives itself. This alone could raise close to a billion dollars a year.
There was a time when America made things like, well, things. Today, we make Snookis and Kardashians. It's what we're good at. And we simply can't afford to let the same thing happen to our entertainment industry that happened to the automobile industry. In some ways, it's already begun. Every actor like Johnny Depp who leaves America creates a vacuum that is often filled with a Russell Brand. Our celebrity infrastructure is already eroding.
We can't afford any major hits or a mass exodus. Sorry, celebrities. No matter what happens to your candidate in 2012, you're staying right here.
Follow Tim Siedell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/badbanana