Friday, December 5, 2008

A few modest proposals (an open letter to the Obama Transition Team)

From America’s Working Federation of United Leprechauns (AWFUL):

Dear President Elect Obama:

Congratulations on your heroic campaign and successful election to the office of President of the United States.

We Leprechauns (and associate members: Gnomes, Trolls, Elves, Sprites, and Dryads) watched from the Headquarters of AWFUL with breathless trepidation and awe as your votes piled up on election night. When finally the election was declared in your favor, we rejoiced in high-pitched ecstasy. Windows, mirrors, and even a few cheap, plastic, banquet-hall wine glasses were heard to crack under our resonant squeals of delight. At that moment, we knew, for the first time, that we had an ally in the White House.

In return for our early and unfettered endorsement of your campaign, we ask for nothing.

But, we would like to remind you of a few of the things we hold dear and consider bedrock values of our ancient and honorable culture.

First, while our traditional means of employ is known to be cobbling, during the last eight benighted years of unregulated capitalistic fervor we met the ballooning demand for trinkets and charms of good fortune by cultivating vast fields of clover on federal lands. Now burdened with windfall gains, we must insist on reduced taxes for Leprechauns who toil in the dark of each and every night for an entire two weeks every planting and harvest season, and so by our enterprising efforts (and free gov’t. land leases) earn over $250,000 per annum. If you think finding a four-leaf clover is hard on a fulgent summer’s day, try finding one under cover of darkness as we are bound to do according to our tradition, which precludes daytime work. Joe the Leprechaun will tell you: our efforts justify our salaries.

Second, to augment our profitability and further the production of a vital national resource we respectfully request that generous government subsidies be granted to provide floodlight illumination of all 90,000 acres of American clover fields during planting and picking seasons. While we acknowledge that such lighting will cost enormous sums, consume gobs of electricity, and make a substantial contribution to global warming, we contend the gain far outweighs the cost and would merely compliment current agricultural policy. Doubters need only contemplate the downside: the grim faces of hapless gamblers in the Las Vegas and Wall Street dens of iniquity when they are unable to acquire acrylic-embedded four-leaf clovers (FLC’s) with which to forestall misfortune.

Thirdly, to insure steady demand for our beneficent product we suggest an Executive Order requiring all patriotic American citizens to carry on their persons (or in their pockets) an example of the aforementioned acrylic-embedded FLC. While pagans and miscreants insist that such talismans are merely superstitious, we subscribe to a literal interpretation of our sacred Book of Hypotheses (BOH), which states: “all manner of spirits evil may be held at bay with a raising of the sacred Leaf of Four.” While arrogant proponents of Science often pretend to have all the answers with their so-called facts, methods, proofs, and self-congratulatory peer-reviews, we humbly proffer our Book of Hypotheses, which does, in fact, have all the answers -- assuming of course that you don’t ask any heretical questions (why would you want to?).

Fourth, it is often assumed that we Leprechauns are possessed of great fortunes of gold, squirreled away in sturdy pots somewhere underground. Each time a glistening rainbow follows a roiling thunderstorm, we are met by strangers with cold, lingering stares, freighted with the expectation that we will reveal the location of our bountiful pots. Let us state for the record, once and for all, unequivocally: there are no pots. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is a myth. Our wealth, what little of it there is, is safely ensconced in offshore hedge funds. Furthermore, ours is a story of assiduous labor and constant striving. We were not born rich. At least, our great-great-great-great grandparents were not born rich. We are descended from struggling immigrant stock who came to this great nation during its infancy when it was but a sprawling wasteland of un-roaded forests, un-dammed streams, un-fenced wildlife, and peopled with un-friendly natives. We found our niche in the nascent nighttime shoemaking industry, and through diligent exploitation of other less cunning and ethically unburdened immigrants, built a solid foundation of wealth in our community. Our noble ancestors fought hard to equitably redistribute wealth, to justly concentrate capital in the hands of those who benefit our great society the most: the leisure class. Thusly, out of respect for our great heritage and our spirit of noblesse oblige -- we contribute over one-one-hundredth of a percent of our annual after-tax earnings to worthy charities -- we request that the capital gains tax be reduced to 0.1%, and that the death or so-called “inheritance” tax be repealed entirely. We encourage this bold stroke of justice with the recognition that all citizens will benefit via the well-known and highly regarded Trickle Down theory.

Our fifth “suggestion” (keeping in mind, we humbly reeled in an estimated ten-million grassroots votes on your esteemed behalf via cautious and judicious use of faith-based hexes and charms) would be for the relaxation of fuel efficiency standards for privately owned vehicles. We believe, and our sacred text so states, that it is every free persons’ divinely granted right to “go forth in mighty chariots so that he who is troubled by diminutive stature or modest mental girth might feel justly inflated and duly glorified.” Thus, to move about the land in immense, fuel-squandering vehicles of life-threatening proportion is taken by all Leprechauns (and associated members of AWFUL) as not a privilege, but a right to be upheld and protected. It is silly and unprincipled to suggest that lumbering about in six thousand pound buckets of iron could be anything but righteous when doing so makes us feel so big and so powerful, big, and powerful, and big...and powerful. Deny us this satisfaction, and what’s next? Will the churlish energy misers knock on the doors of our modest four thousand square foot McMansions, perched on meager 2-acre flag lots, and demand that we move into cramped tenements?

Our sixth proposition: to insure the continued flow of cheap and profitable energy to our floodlights, SUV’s and McMansions, free our great patriotic and generous oil and coal corporations from the restrictive, soul-draining regulation and taxation so despotically imposed on them by left-wing purveyors of socialism. Indeed, we urge you to also do away with whimsical and costly restrictions on pollution and land use. Ours is a nation built on the blind unwavering faith that those who appear to exploit our land and coastlines for personal gain are in fact doing so for the benefit of all mankind. Our titans of industry have followed their flocks of pre-tax profits to the warm and sunny Cayman Islands and found such fruitful climates good. By heroically dumping suffocating quantities of CO2 into the air, these proud barons unselfishly seek to make our entire nation as warm and cozy as those islands. By unselfishly dumping mercury and radioactive isotopes into the air, they strive to make us a tougher, more resilient people, able to stand up to the importuning, cry-baby, energy-scarcity-obsessed masses who clutter old Europe, and Asia, and Africa, and South America, and Australia.

Our seventh, and final request -- we proudly being a weak-limbed, flaccid class -- is that all restrictive firearm laws henceforth be repealed. All patriotic citizens, at least those of us possessed of great fortunes, must protect our birthright by any means necessary -- even if that means taking up arms (or hiring delusional proxies to do it for us). So, in the spirit of our wise founding fathers, we beseech you to release all patriotic American arms dealers from any and all restrictions on those weapons they might proffer to patriotic patrons. From pitchforks to slingshot, to surface-to-air missiles and wolf-hunting Apache helicopters, such items should be available to any and all with the means to pay for them (credit cards accepted) provided said patrons are willing to state earnestly and for the record that such weapons will be used for defensive purposes only. The unfettered distribution of arms is the only sure way to defend against the unwashed masses, hailing from liberal East Coast bastions of lawlessness, who may rise up and trample over our citadels of free enterprise; our cherished gated communities (with beach, pool, tennis and 18-hole golf course access).

The proud members of AWFUL salute you, President-Elect Obama, and on your behalf you can be sure we’ll apply all-manner of hexes and charms at our disposal to further your ambitious agenda -- provided you do as we say. To show our goodwill and to insure your ongoing providence, we have forwarded an FLC key-chain bearing the regal insignia of AWFUL.

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