|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|The Morning Mendacity
Saturday, January 1st, 2006
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? email@example.com|
|"If the American people really want to know what George W. Bush is up to, the best place to look is the candor of Grover Norquist,"* according to Ralph G. Neas, the President of People for the American Way.** We caught up with the globe-trotting Mr. Norquist as he strolled along a devastated beach in Sri Lanka. He was carrying a large bundle of tee shirts, each emblazoned with the logo of his Leave-Us-Alone Coalition. The logo is a composite picture of the White House and dome of the Senate, enclosed by a red circle with a diagonal red slash across its diameter. The fat, bearded man was sweating heavily in the sultry Indian Ocean heat.
“Mr. Norquist, as a an anti-government activist who compares bi-partisanship to date rape and considers taxation a Nazi mugging, who wants to shrink government to bathtub size so he can drown it, who is against every form of government social program, what are you doing here?”
“Handing out tee shirts. It’s important for these people to understand that government is the enemy, that government hand-outs are a fatal toxin in the body politic, that freedom, the freedom to home-school, to carry a concealed weapon, to pursue your dream, is what matters most.”
“But Mr. Norquist, these people had next to nothing to begin with, and now they’ve lost what little they had. Home schooling is impossible because they’re illiterate, they couldn’t afford to buy a concealed weapon even if they had enough clothes it conceal it under, and their dream, unattainable for most at this point without aid, is a square meal and clean water to wash it down. This was a country whose impoverished and corrupt government never built proper infrastructure, so food and medicine can’t get through to the people who need them. Do the policies you advocate really apply under these conditions?”
The fat, bearded man paused to wipe his brow. “More than ever” he replied. “They’re starting from scratch, right? So it’s vital that they get off to the right start. Now’s their chance, now that the playing fields and everything else have been truly leveled, to avoid rebuilding any of the structures that held them down. Sometimes you gotta destroy in order to build. That’s what’s happened here, and that’s what my Americans for Tax Reform plan to do with the federal government in Washington. Starve the beast, that’s our motto. Look around at this landscape. Everything is flattened, utterly destroyed. Someday the Leave-Us-Alone Coalition is going to have the same effect on Washington, for the betterment of us all. Here you go buddy, take a shirt.”
Norquist handed a Leave-Us-Alone Coalition tee shirt to a ragged young man sitting huddled against the stump of a downed palm tree. He appeared to be asleep, but Norquist’s nasal voice made him look up. His glazed eyes wandered uncomprehendingly from the outstretched tee shirt to Norquist’s earnest, bespectacled face.
“Take it buddy, it’s free” Norquist urged. Shrugging feebly, the young man accepted the tee shirt, balled it up, and put it behind his head for a pillow. Then he closed his eyes again and relapsed into stricken apathy, too exhausted and weak for anything else.
“See that?” Norquist asked proudly. “There’s your spirit of innovation right there. That guy takes the tee shirt and uses it for a pillow. Why, if I gave him my whole bundle, he’d probably set up a little pillow business, right here on the beach. Ten years from now this guy’ll be living in a mansion and driving a Porsche. If only government stays off his back, that is, and doesn’t tax and regulate him to death.”
Inspired by his own words, Norquist shook the ragged young man’s shoulder and dumped the bundle of tee shirts by his side. “You keep ‘em all, buddy. Happy New Year” he said, and strode briskly off down the beach. The young man’s eyes flickered open before they closed again, I feared for good. Norquist was already a distant speck. He was probably taking mental notes on his exchange with the stricken Sri Lankan, to turn into an anti-government parable at his weekly gatherings of the high and mighty back in Washington. As for the tee shirts, they served as well for a shroud as they did for a pillow.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2005
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