No more talk. No more posturing. No more filibusters and press conferences. America is broken. It’s time to cut through the rhetoric and take decisive action. Two weeks ago, I retreated to my woodsy cabin in the Montana foothills and mused upon the NINE greatest problems facing society today. When I emerged, I’d solved each. Both political parties and Rand Paul are welcome to adopt these solutions as their own. All I ask in exchange is an ambassadorship to Madrid.
1. The Energy Crisis-Starting tomorrow, hi-test costs $29 a gallon. Time to stop pretending our entitlement to cheap gas is anything but Manifest PetroDestiny. Within a year every car on U.S. roads will be either hybrid or electric. Hitchhiking will flourish, a development good for both Rutger Hauer and teen girls in denim cutoffs. The massive influx of cash will then be used to resurrect the national train system, bail out Schwinn, and make local bus fleets smell twenty-percent less like wino neck. GM will be ordered to cease production of any car getting under 140 mpg. And, hey, Solo Ponytail Mom, you still want to drive a pimped-out Chevy Carpetbagger twice the size of Peru? Fine. But it’s going to cost. The days of Highway 66 and the American love affair with glut-bucket internal combustion are over. Being a rapacious Escalade-dick in the face of an increasingly tan planet, toxic crayfish, swelter in Kamkatcha, and a reliance on the pumped sludge of Islamic fiefdoms is no longer acceptable. Hey, it worked for cigarettes. It’s the only stick we understand. Feel the sting. Love the sting. Ask for more.
2. Abortion-Fine, we’ll ban it. But first, every single evangelist, placard-waver, escort-boning congressman, and pro-life sniper in America has to adopt at least two (2) children each. No exceptions. When there’s not a single child in any orphanage, juvenile detention center, or foster home across the country, the wheels of legislation will begin to turn. The Pope will be sent a fruit basket. In the meantime, while the senate passes No Child Left Behind, Especially When There’s Still Space For Another Cot In Your Rec Room, the pro-life community, as part of a little-noticed legislative earmark, also has to legally embrace condom usage, mandatory sex education, and a refutation of “abstinence” as being anything but an early skills course on the most effective grip.
3. Institutionalized Privation-A new national holiday called “Hammer Time” will immediately replace Christmas, and last until Easter, which is now called “Mirror Day.” This four month bacchanal of Bacon Nog, Vicuna Wings, and Twice-fried Fry O’ Rhinds will be a last-throes celebration of empire, concluding with the moment-of-clarity admission that we, as a nation, have become the sweaty, Zubaz-wearing, imminent angioplasty at the global cocktail party. The rest of the world has long watched our Caligulan dissolution from afar, while hoarding subsistence rice and crude roofing materials, two activities that have kept them in excellent shape. Meanwhile, we’ve been on a downward slope since our uncles stopped yelling “Eureka!” in their basements, somewhere around the summer of 1959. And the bill is finally due. So our new national motto, to be immediately adopted on flags, bumper stickers, and all legal tender, is Sew Up Your Whiny Cake-hole and Fork It Over Already. In the first step toward a new Spartan outlook, we, the American people, are going to pay off the national debt. Together. Forget government, corporations, and massive international borrowing. We got this one. It’s only going to cost about forty-seven grand a person, for every single person in the country. Time to dig deep, bro. Fork that cabbage.
4. Overpopulation-Beaches are crowded, there’s lines at the bank, you can never find a good parking space downtown, and it’s hard to get a reservation at Olive Garden. And a lot of us, let’s be honest, don’t really want to be here that much anyway, whining all the time about this or that, insisting that we’ve been wronged or deserve better in some elaborate mental construction clear only to us. Therefore, congress, and by congress I mean Halliburton, will in one week’s time erect a national system of clean, well-monitored Suicide Booths. These iPod-equipped “transition centers,” existing in parks and malls and subways across the country, will be available for the irreparably peeved, catatonically bored, or unusually selfless to give up the ghost. Each booth will come equipped with a massive overdose of fine-grade Turkish Cialis, gratis. When all vitals go flatline, a chute will open in the floor. VIC’s, or Voluntarily Inert Citizens, will then be collected, trucked on specially equipped flatbeds, and spread out like mulch, in combination with seeds and a fine nitrogen-rich garden booster, to fertilize the arid deserts just north and south of the Mexican border. This will instantly transform that formerly desolate area into a verdant Eden. In ten years, the massive decrease in population, in conjunction with the newly blooming Texicali Arboreal Belt, a green parkland stretching from Tijuana to Brownsville, will permanently take care of both illegal immigration and drug violence problems. The rest of us, while sitting in an empty Tully’s, or being the only person at the cineplex watching The Last Airbender IV: Still More Air To Bend, can sit back and breathe in the clean, unleavened scent of solitary national pride.
5. Gay Marriage-Legalize it immediately. All those trying to restrain this inevitability of fairness and basic human rights will almost certainly be looked back upon in twenty years as pitiable self-loathers on the level of Orval Faubus, Carrie Nation, and Dennis Miller. So, yes, let gay couples across the country spend a year in a judgment-free orgy of nuptials, cake-cutting, tuxedo rentals, honeymoons, and sunburnt first-arguments. Let’s all send our congratulations, crock pots, gift certificates and unwanted advice on the components of a successful union. Then, on day 366, a bill will be passed declaring all heterosexual marriages illegal and void. Ooh, snap. You’re on the outside again, Elton. Enjoy that fondue set. Operating under the same theory, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will be immediately repealed. A month later, Straight Ask, Immediately Tell will be enacted, canning every serviceman who professes to engage in cross-gender relations, leaving us with a newly-formed and kickass All Gay Military.
6. The Destruction Of The Environment-Widespread use of chemical fertilizers is killing off microscopic dirt mites. Without dirt mites, nothing will grow. The bees are disappearing. Without the bees, nothing will grow. TGI Fridays is going out of business. Without fried ice cream, Zoloft loses its favorite enabler. Also, there’s a massive floating field of discarded plastic grocery bags in the North Pacific that has swelled to almost the size of Texas. Those bags are turning into trillions of nurdles, which are tiny plastic shards which will take 500,000 years to biodegrade, in which time they will comprise forty percent of the body weight of any remaining fish in the area. Without nurdle-free fish, we will be unable to order high-grade sushi. Without high-grade sushi and large bottles of Sapporo, no hipsters will ever get laid. Without the offspring of hipsters, the platinum baby stroller business will go bankrupt. Without properly pampered young Sophias and Gretas and Justins, fine arts programs in colleges across the country will be poorly attended. Without freshmen video production majors to fill screening rooms with shaky, poorly edited films about self-cutting and Oedipal nudity there won’t be any….wait a minute…just hold on a minute…more nurdles!
7. Creeping Socialism In Government-Last week, while waiting in line at That Chain Cafe for my usual quad Americano brewed so powerfully it tastes almost exactly like new car upholstery soaked in kerosene, I saw three different people wearing Che Guevara t-shirts, including the heavily ear-studded barista. It was an apparel ubiquity I haven’t seen since 1990, when every other person was wearing a Jad Fair shirt, Jad Fair being that era’s perfect alterna-musical choice, a direct fuck you to Stone Temple Pilots, yet still obscure enough to enable smirky condescension. While even the most innocuous of Che’s political dictates would likely condemn both nose rings and the wolfing of decadent pastries in a complimentary wi-fi environment, in revolutionary Jungle Rules circles, individual ownership of a nice new red shirt is probably punishable by death. So it’s difficult to imagine that the Ernesto Guevara of generalized collegiate esteem would be pleased his image now stands for profiting off t-shirts made in the factories of Mao-legacy China. Which either means socialism is a gateway to communism, just like marijuana is to acid, or that lazy iconography is indeed the thin red line keeping us all from harvesting turnips in collectivized farms across greater New Jersey. Hey, True Che principles vs. Dreamy Che revisionism is probably too much of a contradiction to expect one beefy XL Hanes to handle, but even the harried barista ought to be aware that chesting Che-face more or less implies: I wear, with this garment, the inherent contradiction that is modern consumer Left-ism, and by donning a mass-produced homage to murky political stances, which, ironically, this dead face would have especially despised, I reveal myself, ultimately, to have no convictions at all. Yes We Can! On the other hand, maybe it’s just a shirt. Maybe the barista intended to wear his favorite Master Of Puppets world tour ringer, but his girlfriend snagged it on the way to her economics class, and so he grabbed Che instead, with no investment whatsoever in certain overly-mythologized South Americans. Either way, I tipped him pretty good, and my four-dollar coffee rocked. In the end, isn’t that all that matters? Damn straight. Dude, do you have any Nutella-blueberry scones left? What do you mean, no? Hey, man, there is something seriously fucked with the methods of production and distribution up in this bourgeoisie shithole!
8. The Separation of Church and State-Just like Huey Lewis, who wanted a new drug, one that didn’t make him sick, make him stay up all night, or feel three-feet thick, this country needs a new, unified, mandatory religion. Clearly the Torah, Koran, and New Testament are all conveniently localized retellings of the same Abrahamic myths, with the occasional child sacrificing, resurrection, or riding of winged horses thrown in. Since all three religions are just cherry-picking one another’s conventions and rituals in a way that’s best suited to their particular tribes, why not meld them all into one monotheist, monolithic, Baal-renouncing superfaith? It’ll make the repeal of tax-free status for all churches easier to collect on, for starters. But what brand of uber-dogma would be strong enough to simultaneously meet the needs of those desperate for comfort in the face of the vast unknown, while simultaneously allowing us the relative certainty that clitorectomies and adulterer-stoning are indeed embraced by our omniscient creator?
Five words: Andre Agassi, Latter Day Saint.
9. The War On Terror-Terrorists don’t hate our way of life. They’re smarter than that. Terrorists use the spectacle of violence to either inflame or cow suggestible populations. Like, for instance, those being occupied. Or collaterally damaged. Terrorism is calculated theater. Killing terrorists, while feeling good in the short term, actually increases the sway they exert. There is no military solution. There are no number of corpses that will in any material way change the dynamic of fanaticism. Terrorism’s defeat, finally, will come in the viral adoption of our softness, primarily by exporting what we do best: apologetic rehabs, unwarranted celebrity, and internecine political paralysis. It will also come with the final grudging acknowledgment that the country that grows the best opium has always indirectly controlled the rest of the world. Therefore, the war on terrorism can be won by immediately ceasing corn subsidies, canceling the production of ethanol, and growing vast fields of poppies from sea to shining sea. Or at least from Ohio to Iowa. With a great marketing slogan, like we’ll chase the dragon here, so we don’t have to wait for the man there, within a generation we’ll evolve into a nation of saxophone playing, poetry composing, rug-lying bohemian artistes. Art equals random circumstance equals talented misanthropy equals an affordable apartment. And who doesn’t want an affordable apartment? Even Bin Laden wants an affordable apartment. Maybe if we deed him a nice little East Village pied-a-terre and The Complete Roxy Music, he’ll knock it off with all the angry cave prophesying and admit we were right about one thing after all: Image really is everything. And the Wrath of Agassi is eternal.