At a secret Democratic Party conclave, George-town, Valentine’s Day, February, 2005.
Transcript delivered to The L Magazine in the men’s room at Galapagos by a source at the DNC who wishes to remain nameless. The speaker’s identity remains unknown.
Let’s call this confab to order, shall we? Everybody here? The New Yorkers? Southerners? The Westies? I want to thank the DNC and all the heavy hitters for attending this little sitdown. This isn’t for the squeamish but I’m on urgent matters here, so listen up.
America faces a crisis. Isn’t America always facing a crisis? A crisis that later on, when no one’s looking, seems to slip right off the back of the boat and sink to the bottom of the pond without so much as a bubble?
And yet people buy it. Why? Because the Republicans are so good at selling it. They aim right for people’s nightmares — gay marriage (forget interracial marriage, that’s back burner stuff now), special preferences, attacks from shadowy foreigners (better than Communists even), abortion, you name it — and they twist it into a crisis that can only be solved by the most draconian actions you’ve ever seen. You want nightmares, crises? The Republicans are your party. Meanwhile, the Democrats sit around and try to “solve” things prudently. Useless.
But no matter: a crisis. I speak now of course of the “looming Social Security crisis.” A “crisis” that’s been taking shape since 1978, when a young George Bush, taking a break from knocking back Lone Stars at tony Connecticut gatherings, predicted to me that the fund was sure to go bankrupt in ten years if the system wasn’t dismantled and handed over to Wall Street.
Anyway, 1988 came and went and Social Security survives to this day — so something must be done.
It is my feeling that the primary reason we are facing this particular crisis is because we liberals have yet to come up with a competing crisis. America only responds to doomsdays crises these days and if Democrats are going to insist on facing real issues, they’ll never get anywhere. Right now Bush can’t make up his mind whether it’s the environment or Social Security that gets dismantled first. Who’s making noise about that? A bunch of kids sending e-mails. Alternative fuels: utter silence.
The fate of our soldiers stuck in Iraq another two, maybe three years? Relaxing furloughs to Tehran no doubt.
If Democrats could just come up with some imaginary toothy beast who speaks a foreign language and is about to eat
Americans alive, they’d be home free. They could draw up a big bill, cram it full of whatever appropriations they like, and it would sail through.
But I digress. Hillary, Evan, please: no notes. You’ll want to be able to say you weren’t here.
I guess at this point in time we just have to accept the crisis we’ve got before us, phony as it may be. I want you to let go of whatever is left of your conscience, for the duration of my chat. It’s just weighing you down. For crying out loud, when did you all lose your sense of humor? And by the way, I haven’t noticed anyone moving to Canada or Europe yet. Last I looked
Teresa Heinz was still bingeing in Pittsburgh and Alec Baldwin was still chasing the waitresses at the Marmot.
Ok. The fact is the conservatives are actually weak right now. That’s right. We just have to marshal our forces on a completely imaginary issue, and we’ll be back in power in ’08. I kid you not. Would I lie to you? How did you get elected anyway? By listening to me. But that was long ago, back when we had moxie and some grasp of unreality.
So, we’ll accept this crisis, this terrible, debilitating crisis of Social Security exactly as it is presented, as sheer, imminent bankruptcy. But we’ll propose our own solution.
One of the interesting things I might observe at this particular moment in our culture — if I may digress again and I am running this little get-together so I will — it’s pretty obvious that, despite recent missteps, the conservatives have a stranglehold on politics and increasingly on culture. Everything is a retread: we want the comfort of what we’ve seen or heard before. Culture has become the realm of regurgitation.
The thing that’s causing the reactionaries such agita is that the culture in harness, the culture that keeps getting spun back, and back again, is what’s left of the radical culture of the 1960s, and they can’t do anything about it. If they could just come up with an alternate culture that wasn’t dead on arrival… That’s the holy grail of the conservatives right now: How to make their police state an attractive buy. At the same time life expectancy is way up. Those ageing radicals are gonna be around for a long, long time, taking bucks. And as long as they’re around, they’ll be pulling their considerable bucks out of Social Security.
We have to ask, who does this effect? Why, the younger generations who are going to have to put up with the radical superiority of their elders far into middle age.
There’s some tension there, folks. Maybe you haven’t noticed. So we have cultural differences and we have the fact that all those people under 50 are going to be carrying a burden for those over 50 until the latter group is 100 plus.
When you remove a boomer or two, you free up the culture and you lessen the strain on Social Security. What exactly are those ageing boomers going to contribute now that the sun has set on their youth, except a few liner notes to some ancient album?
Here’s a way to put all those guns the liberals are so afraid of to good use. People should be rewarded for eliminating the old hippies, anybody over 55. That means Greenspan can take his saxophone home and Cheney’s got to watch his back. No exemptions. This isn’t ideological. It’s time to turn over a new leaf, turn the culture over to the young.
Conservatives and liberals alike decry the lack of worship and ritual in our society: all right, how about a good old hunting season, two months of every year, open season on Boomers. Thin out the herd. Just do this and you get the young, you get the hunters, you get the psychos, and at the same time you lose all those quibbling lefties who never voted anyway. And suddenly Social Security has a real bonus, a bonus that isn’t in the hands of Wall Street — best of all, we Democrats are the ones who’ve saved it.
We could even create a special holiday or two, Spring and Fall. “Shooting Day.” Get religious backing. At this point the Southern churches are so far to the right of Torquemada that the preachers will be grabbing the guns out of the kids’ hands, and doing the shooting themselves. I’m sure it gives them permission, somewhere, in the Bible.
Let’s start in Florida on a trial basis. Thin out the codger population up in the Panhandle and we’ll have a reasonable chance at winning the presidency in ’08 or ’12 or whenever we get around to nominating a candidate who’s both living and breathing.
You know what the best part is? Bush will sell this plan for you. He has to. As soon as you announce it — the “Leave No
Seniors Behind Act” — it’s checkmate time. Because he’s already been practicing it on the young. You’re just doing the equitable thing, and making it available to everyone.
Something to think about, friends. Sometimes ya’ gotta’ cross the line to get to the other side.
I’m going out to practice my marksmanship. Anybody care to join?