Citizenship in Stalag 13

by Jason Peters on August 14, 2012 · 6 comments <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Politics & Power


Rock Island, IL

It was bad enough that a van and a really snazzy trailer sporting the phrase “Using Technology to Enhance Worship” whizzed right past me yesterday, reminding me once again that in the land of what Miss O’Connor called the Do-It-Yourself religion I am being left behind like the bad Krustian I am.

Would that the Kontakion and Apolytikion—or, no, wait! the Trisagion and Cherubic hymns!—could be PowerPointed across the iconostas: then the music of the ancient faith, like all that new stuff, could also be off the wall—literally.

But then the sight of two other businesses, “Freedom Firearms” and “Patriot Fuels,” passed before my eyes. Nothing like these kinds of All-American enterprises to remind me of what a bad American I am.

For, in truth, though I just bought my older boy his first pellet rifle (and, I admit, enjoyed watching him perforate a Coke can with it), I have no real investment in the gun controversy that seems to galvanize so many voters these days. Nor do I hold out much hope that putting corn in my gas tank is going to help wean the nation off of foreign oil, especially given what I’ve seen of the cornfields in Illinois recently.

It’s all so damned depressing.

Now don’t misunderstand: I live an otherwise dazzling sort of life, filled with jocularity and japes and jests and Jesse James Outlaw Bourbon, which takes the laurel for an A-1 Blue-Ribbon American label. But such days as yesterday remind me that I’ve been called to what Thoreau named a “higher life,” filled with something better than a Gee-Whiz Religion, its Kick-Ass Patriotism, and their unimpeachable creed: Freedom Isn’t Free (though apparently it can be perpetuated by a mere cliché.)

But sometimes, when I expend too much effort looking around, I can’t make myself believe that the higher life means anything more than living bovine-like in one of the two separate Red and Blue but otherwise absolutely United States of America, recently rendered more undifferentiated by the Ryanation of the Romney Ticket. I mean, what could be more better than the same only more worser?

Not that the Obama ticket is sufficient to pull an otherwise jocular and japish FPR-type out of his funk. Must a hungry man always choose between lima beans on the one hand and liver on the other? And not an ounce of Islay single malt to wash it all down with?

For the sake of one tiny little hit of Laphroaig a man could almost get on board with the prevailing D-I-Y version of the ancient faith plus guns for all Kindergarteners and corn in the gas tank of every American energy addict indifferent to all those malnourished welfare babies.

Because, of course, welfare babies deserve to starve while the rich imbibe at a comfortable distance.

Major Hockstetter said that Colonel Klink was a man who might have been great, except he wasn’t very good. It was a fine line delivered well among many well-delivered lines.

Come November, we could do worse than elect a clueless incompetent moron who sports a monocle. Then, Hogan-like, we could go about our business of undermining his operation. But that’s not one of our options. No one as harmless as Klink is running, and no one as clever as Hogan is voting.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Kevin August 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

Isn’t it a bit inconsistent to proclaim disengagement with American national political life and go all “woe is me” on the candidates in the same essay? Where do you think these candidates come from? Smoke-filled rooms? If you want better ones, start the Clueless Incompetent Monocle-Sporting Morons party.

avatar Gene Callahan August 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm

No, it isn’t inconsistent Kevin. The candidates “come from” huge corporate powers that are quite beyond the power of the average person to influence. It would be a complete waste of time for Jason to do as you recommend.

avatar Kevin August 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Huge corporate powers are the new smoke-filled rooms, then? There are ways to be involved in politics — I have friends who are. It’s not my cup of tea, because it’s a lot of work, the payoff is unsure, and, well, I just don’t like it. But pretending that some bogeyman creates candidates in a lab is just an excuse.

avatar wufnik August 22, 2012 at 11:59 am

Kevin is right–run for the school board or something. You’ll feel better.

avatar Mile Marker August 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Despair and depression. Both are rightly felt at this point. Jason is just their poet. Solon, Peisistratos, Cleisthenes, help us now.

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