Politics In The Good Old Days…

Last night The Lion was discussing his new book, Back in the Good Old Days of Politics, by The Lion, with Jon Stewart. Yes, yes, that Jon Stewart.

Of course the subject of corrupt political regimes came up. Tammany Hall. The old Daley machine in Chicago. The Roman Empire.

The Lion noted that corrupt regimes were often handled differently in the old days.

“Like what?” Jon said. “They had to give up some oxen or a daughter or two when they got kicked out?”

“Close, Jon, close. For example, there was a mayoral election in a Bactrian village in the year 2202 B.C….”

“Bactria? Isn’t that where we get Bactrian camels? I always forget, are they one hump or two?”

“Indeed. Two humps, Jon. In fact, camels played a role. The old mayor was totally corrupt. Very bad guy. Well the new mayor decided he couldn’t look forward until he had dealt with the past, so he turned a herd of camels loose on the old mayor and his family and his supporters. Smashed up his palatial hovel and his garden too for good measure.”

“You might say he humped them to death,” Jon giggled.

“Someone might say that, Jon.”

“That sounds drastic, but you seem to approve,” Jon said.

“Well, yes and no,” The Lion replied. “It was good that the new mayor spared the family pets, but there was a housing shortage and crushing the hovel might have been a little too much.”

“Uh ha. Soooo, do you think that would be a good idea today?”

“That depends. Now by those standards President Obama would have taken all the Bushes and all the Cheneys and all their hangers-on and such and shot them. Line ‘em up, read ‘em the charges, and bang. Moving on to new business.”

“You said it depends. How’s that?”

“Well, Bush and Cheney could have gotten away with it. Given their personalities it might have been expected, wiping out the Clintonistas and the Clintons. Bush might even have executed his father too, just to be sure he tidied up all the loose ends.”

“But you think Obama couldn’t do it?” Jon said. “Too nice a guy, right?”

“Au contraire, Jon, au contraire. In fact the Bush-Cheney machine would have richly deserved summary execution. Back in Rome they would have been put to the sword, their families killed, their lands appropriated, and there would never have been anything like a Tea Party over it. No, Obama has a different problem.”

“Let me guess. It would start a race war because he’s black.”

“I don’t think it would come to that. After all, he’s half-white. No, it’s the reaction of the Republicans in Congress and in the Republican leadership.”

Jon shrugged his shoulders in query.

“Can’t you just hear them, Jon? ‘Uppity nigger’. That’s all we would hear, Republicans mumbling the ‘uppity’ word. They’d refuse to pass any of his programs. The more virulent and racist of them would break off and form a separate party. It would be very messy, Jon, very messy.”

“So you think that’s why Bush and Cheney are alive and free today? Because the Republicans would be shouting out the ‘U’ word?”

“Partly. It would be a public relations nightmare and the Republicans would try to polarize the country and paralyze the legislative process.”

“Partly, you say. What’s the other part?”

“Well Bush and Cheney never trusted Obama to do the right thing, and frankly, like most rigid authoritarian people they spend most of their time scared to death. So they signed an agreement with Obama.”

“Like a contract or something?”

“Exactly. For the next one hundred years the Bush and Cheney families will work in the fields of the farm Obama bought in Illinois, picking cotton and vegetables.”

“Wow!” Jon said. “I’d never have imagined that.”

“It’s a win-win situation, Jon. Obama gets cheap labor, for just the price of feeding them, and the Bush and Cheney families get to live in hovels for free.”

“We’ve certainly come a long way since Bactria,” Jon said, before he went home to his wife next door. Yes, yes, that Jon Stewart, The Lion’s next door neighbor. Who did you think it was?


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