11-30-2000 LA Times An Election Carol by Paul Krassner Martin Scrooge, great-grandson of the legendary Ebenezer Scrooge, may be the CEO of a multinational corporation--Octopus & Illuminati, the ultimate merger--but like any ordinary American citizen, he had trouble sleeping the other night. He was at the height of REM, in the middle of a pleasant dream, romping in the woods with his dog, Snippy, when he was suddenly awakened by an ethereal figure standing at his bedside. "Who are you?," asked the startled Scrooge. "And what do you want?" "I am the Ghost of Election Past. And Im just doing my job. Im supposed to remind you of the presidential election of 1968. As you know, John F. Kennedy won by fraudulent methods. Do you realize what that means? If Richard Nixon had won as he should have, then JFK would be alive today and there would have been no Watergate scandal." "Well, you cant change the past." "Tell me about it. I live with a profound sense of futility every day." "What you need is a good antidepressant. Ask your spin doctor about..." * * * Scrooge had gone back to sleep when, once again, he was suddenly awakened by another ethereal figure standing at his bedside. "Dont tell me," said Scrooge. "Let me guess. You must be the Ghost of Election Present." "Oh, God, am I that obvious?" "Are you kidding? Youre absolutely transparent." "Well, Im totally discombobulated. Everything is in litigation. In Florida, there are ballot counters who have filed lawsuits because they developed carpal tunnel syndrome. In Washington, the Supreme Court is going to decide whether pregnant chads are entitled to partial-birth abortions." "Calm down now. Youll be all right." "Thats easy for you to say, youre just hallucinating, but me, Im stuck on the cusp between real life and show biz. This is all actually happening, yet at the same time its all one big sitcom. George W. Bush is George Costanza in that episode of 'Seinfeld' where he acts as if he works at this company, only now the stress has resulted in boils all over his face, and each one is covered with a Band-aid. Whereas Al Gore is Bill Murray in that movie 'Bob' where he unremittingly stalks his psychiatrist, only now hes stalking an entire focus group." "Speaking of shrinks, I think you ought to get help from one yourself." "Listen, youd be going nuts if you couldnt tell the difference between reality and satire any more. Satire has been nipping at the heels of reality for the past few decades, but I can tell you the precise moment that reality finally overtook satire. It happened in Cuba, when Fidel Castro offered to come to the United States and oversee the election recounts. And weve received similar offers: from Jerry Adams in Ireland and Nelson Mandela in South Africa; from Jimmy Carter in Georgia and Larry Flynt in Los Angeles. But one thing is certain. Whoever becomes president will think that he deserves it." "Do me a favor, will you? Let me go back to sleep. I have to take a meeting with the Ghost of Election Future. Its already on my to-do list." * * * Right on schedule, the Ghost of Election Future arrived at Scrooges bedside. "Greetings," said Scrooge. "Strange, isnt it, how things evolve? Traditionally I would have been influenced by the visits of you Election Ghosts, and consequently I would abandon greed for compassion. But its different now that trickle-down greed affects stockholders who welcome the downsizing of employees because it means more profits. And its also different now that government-by-bipartisan-bribery has become such an open secret. There has been a severe case of role reversal, and now Im the one whos influencing you. So tell me, because I find these charades, oh, so very entertaining, what do you foresee will occur in the 2004 election?" The Ghost of Election Future sighed deeply, as though participating in a debate, and then began: "Okay, Ill skip the part about who the candidates will be--you can decide that for yourself--and Ill cut right to the chase. New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will lead a crusade to eliminate the electoral college, but her proposed law will lose in the popular vote. The drug war will become a huge campaign issue. Medical-marijuana protesters will carry placards insisting, 'States' Rights--Not Just For Racists Anymore!' Other demonstrators will have signs demanding, 'End Welfare For Pharmaceutical Companies Now!' Police on horseback will be chanting, 'Whose streets? Our streets!' There will be several new third parties, from the Anarchist Party to the Lawyers Party, but the Greens will remain the most prominent. And the slogan of Democrats and liberals will be 'A vote for Ralph Nader is a vote for John McCain....' ---- Paul Krassner is the author of Sex, Drugs and the Twinkie Murders: 40 Years of Countercultural Journalism (Loompanics Unlimited) and Pot Stories For the Soul (High Times Books).
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