I'm an intense, hyperactive woman with an imagination in overdrive who loves her Husby, her two Wonder Wieners, and her emerging career as an author and photographer.

Wednesday, August 2

Does this essay make me look fat?

Maybe I'm a socialist. I know I'm a utopianist. Here's where my head's at recently.

The Emperor's New New Clothes

The U.S. Military Industrial Complex has been granted personhood. He is the Emperor, strutting about the world, presuming rule by the sheer force of sartorial splendor. He's lulled into a false sense of imperiousness, enamored but unarmored by what he believes to be the craftsmanship of his tailor. Critics ineptly attack his loud handkerchief, nattily tucked into his breast pocket, to which the eye is immediately drawn on first impression. This bit of red Presidential cloth, monogrammed by Cabinet embroidery, is flashed to distract the angry bull when necessary. It is as easily plucked out and discarded, in four or perhaps eight years, when no longer in vogue.

This token of the man's affectation has only slightly less staying power than the Emperor's cuff links, a matching set of House and Senate, baubles dangled on the sleeves of corporate interests. When out of session, they're thrown on the top of the dresser, facing the drudgery of gathering constituent dust mote votes.

The shirt itself comes cheap, easy to represent as new, with one of any $1.29 same day Lobbyists around the corner pressing the flesh of it—dry cleaned, starched, and plied with pins, tissues, and cardboard—to disguise the same Old Man in neat rows of fresh pinstriped issues.

A silvered chain of Supreme Court Justices keeps the Ruler's rich tie of purchased precedent from blowing in the angry winds of activism and protest. Secured with the Windsor knot of wealth and gated confidence, his tie is snugly cinched around the Emperor's neck, cutting off ever more circulation to carotid arteries as his corpulence expands.

Our Potentate's merged and surged suit is of fabric dearly bought, through trade agreements dating as far back as the silk road itself. It is woven of acronym strands—NAFTA, WTO—pulled across the loom of exploitation, spun in gold threads from the chaff of child labor. As he preens in front of the mirrors in the halls of his peers at the finest campaign dinners and fundraisers, he is blinded in his belief that all who matter dress in equal rags of riches.

The Emperor's feet are bound by the polished wing tips of the Stock Market and Nasdaq, mirror images shouting money at each other, going toe to toe until the bell rings. His shoes are tied and manipulated by the strings of the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. He must follow where they lead, wearing shiny spots in the marble of the corridors of power.

Does he wave as he Rove's among the lesser peoples of the world? It doesn't matter, because all they can see is his Dick Cheney bobbing, wielding brainless greed and insatiable need wherever he goes. His smooth tongue talks in delusions of organized religion and divine right.

His Rumsfeld-colored sunglasses shield him from seeing how nakedly vulnerable he truly is. For threads of the finest gold, studded with conflict diamonds dearly bought, protect not against the winds of change. Those currents are heavy with the stale sweat of bloodshed, building heavy ionic clouds of hate, primed to unleash invisible droplets of revenge, be they chemical, viral, or nuclear.

As he sits on a throne boiling over with the global warming caused by his constant conspicuous consumption, he extends an olive branch of trade and aid in one hand, the other held behind his back with the finger on the button of arbitrary war.

Until enough are willing to see his true nakedness, to refuse to grant him false dignity, the world will die for him, those who choose to do so and many unwillingly and unwittingly. Until we rend the ill-gotten gains from his body and cut off all suppliers, he won't give us our shirt off his back. We have to take it from him by force of collective will. So point and laugh. Jeer and shout. Be publicly angry. Let the world know you see through the devil's disguise.


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