I can see clearly now.
It’s like a whole new world.
I had this troubling dream last night where I was arguing with some old friends about politics, of course, and one of them, a guy I used to drink and carouse with back in high school and is now a bigwig Tea Partier back in St. Louis, old Wild Bill, finally shook his head and said,
“John. John, just listen for a second. You’ve got all this wooly, wishy-washy liberal thinking just clogged up in your brain, man. It’s not your fault, that’s what they taught you. Here. Just put these on and you will see.”
And he handed me these crazy old spectacles, like the kind Nicolas Cage finds in the first National Treasure, (the good one, not the sequel), this old pair of glasses that Ben Franklin invented with all of these different lenses and moving parts and I put them on and friends, I was transported.
The room disappeared and I was flying, with my old buddy Bill at my side, guiding me like some kind of right-wing angel. Flying above this great land and then suddenly I was on a crowded street in Manhattan, midday, everyone hustling around me.
And Bill said,
“Now, listen. And you will hear the truth that Money Talks.”
And I opened my eyes and ears and looked around me. And I saw a homeless woman and I somehow knew, magically, that she had one dollar and forty-eight cents in the front right pocket of her filthy jeans and though her mouth was moving as she stood there speaking to the flowing tide of New Yorkers, I couldn’t hear a word she was saying.
And I was so amazed that I stepped towards her and immediately collided with a large young man, dressed in a beautiful blue suit, lovely Italian leather shoes, clutching a briefcase that cost more than I made last year and he caught me before I fell, easily, I could feel the strength of this young Titan coursing through his grip and he muttered as he stode on,
“Watch where you’re going, pal.”
And I knew, again, magically, that this young man banked $338,755,021 last year, netted it and was on his way to a better year in 2012. And even though he didn’t actually utter a word, I heard him. He was silently shouting, bellowing as he bulled his way through the crowd:
“I AM STRONGER AND BETTER AND SMARTER THAN ALL OF YOU, YOU FACELESS MEMBERS OF THE THRONG. MY WILL SHALL BE DONE AND MY DESIRES MET. I HAVE WHAT YOU DO NOT. I HAVE THE POWER.”
And not only did I hear this fine young moneyman, I believed him. His speech rang true.
And so I saw the truth of the Citizens United decision.
Of course money is speech. They are the exact same thing. Naturally. They are identical.
How could I have been so deaf and blind?
And we were flying again and Bill whispered in my ear,
“Wait, for there is more.”
And we were on the side of a highway, somewhere in the Midwest and we stood before a billboard proclaiming the good work and virtue of BP, an oil company that I had always thought of as an enormous multinational corporation, an entity concerned only with making money and paying dividends to its shareholders. But Bill adjusted my magical glasses and I saw.
The billboard transformed and took human form. And a very large, but perfectly recognizable person stood there in the cornfield and he looked down at me and I could see the pain in his eyes. This poor person had made a terrible and regrettable mistake. He had spilled a great deal of oil in the Gulf and almost destroyed an ecosystem while actually destroying the livelihood of tens of thousands of his fellow citizens. This poor person was only trying to earn an honest dollar to put food on his metaphorical table and provide a better life for his metaphorical kids. And he felt so bad, his metaphorical conscience was keeping him up all night, he thrashed around in his metaphorical bed and his metaphorical wife tried to comfort him, saying,
“BP, darling. BP don’t torture yourself. You’re a good corporation, errr, person. You made a mistake, but you can make it right. After all, dear, you’re only human. Almost. Not really, but, you’re a person, so, that almost qualifies you to be a human. In a way. Not really, I guess. Ah, forget it, I‘m going back to bed.”
And I realized that of course corporations are people. How could I have been so callous and judgmental toward my fellow corporate citizens? I apologized to this huge, huge guy, saying
“I’m sorry, BP. I didn’t know.”
And he screamed back, trying to whisper, but he had so much money that he couldn’t physically keep his voice down below a hellish roar,
“WHAT’S A GUY TO DO? I WAS JUST TRYING TO MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS LEGALLY POSSIBLE.”
Poor bastard, I thought as Bill touched my shoulder and we were aloft again.
And this time, I could tell we were flying not just through space but through time. And the years brushed by my amazed face and we landed in 1971 and I saw a strange trio, a young black kid, couldn’t have been more than ten, walking down the street with an older white couple. And I somehow knew that the old man and the old woman were this kid’s grandparents and it all clicked.
White mother, black father, father probably out of the picture somehow, and here’s this skinny little black kid being taken care of by his white grandparents.
And my lips curled back a little bit in instinctive scorn.
Look at that little elitist.
I thought to myself.
Thinks he’s better than me, than all the rest of us. Just because he was born into a country defined by institutional racism, just because his skin is dark and he comes from a lower-middle class background, he thinks he naturally knows more than me, that he was born to rule. I’ll bet he’s just going to waltz into Harvard University, like all the rest of his kind. Hell, that’s why Harvard was set up back in 1636, expressly to offer shelter and training to poor black kids without a father, it’s in the original by-laws for god’s sake, these East Coast snobs. God. It’s just all so rigged in this kid’s favor. He’s got all the breaks. Every single advantage. I’ll bet he just plays golf all day long.
And the dream dissolved and I woke and a peace and calm and clarity I didn’t know was possible possessed me and I knew that I was facing a brand new beautiful day.
I know now that climate change is an elaborate hoax by all of the world’s scientists so that they can secretly laugh at the ignorance and gullibility of the rest of us.
I know giving tax breaks to the wealthiest among us automatically results in the creation of well-paying, secure jobs for the rest of us.
I know that all taxes should be abolished so that we, as private citizens, can build roads and schools and dams in a coordinated and frictionless way, just as every country has always done in the history of human society.
My eyes are open, friends.
Thank you, Bill. Thank you Tea Party and all Republican thinkers and strategists and operatives everywhere.
God bless you.
And may god continue to bless the United States of America.