Friday, March 07, 2008

Two-Step to Empire

ClubOrlov officially endorses Richard Cheney as the candidate for US Emperor. Dick is superbly suited to serve as the imperial figurehead for the few months or years that he and/or the US Empire will continue to exist. Thanks to the efforts of the Bush/Cheney administration, the constitution of the United States has been reduced to a largely inconsequential historical document, and this should make the transition from Republican to imperial administration an even simpler matter than it was in Rome under Julius Caesar. Since Cheney has already pronounced the Office of the Vice President to be a new, fourth branch of government, all that remains is for him to to rename it Office of the Emperor, and to prune back some of the other branches.

Such evolutionary measures would be timely. Many American commentators have pointed out that a new cold war and an arms race should be starting up between the United States and Russia. That the Russians remain largely unimpressed by America's hostile overtures towards them is a clear indication of how ineffectual American pseudo-democracy has become. In comparison, Russian pseudo-democracy appears to be evolving by leaps and bounds. Just a few days ago, a new Russian President was elected, with a minimum of fuss and zero uncertainty as to the outcome of the election. The successor was appointed by his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, and the electorate cheerfully ratified his decision. His choice of successor is most felicitous: the new president's name is Dmitry, as is mine, he is about my age, about my height, from my home town (St. Petersburg), and from a similar family background (academic). Clearly, he is a swell fellow, and only an enemy of ClubOrlov could dislike him.

In comparison, the menagerie of American presidential candidates leaves much to be desired. We have an Eva Perón sort of candidate: not unexpected, since having the wife of the president run the country is a great American tradition (Latin American, until now, but that distinction is fast fading into insignificance). Whatever happens, don't cry for her, Argent... um... América... del Norte! We also have a tempestuous geriatric, who would like to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran. He believes that the lack of military success in Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq or Afghanistan is due to civilian meddling in military affairs, and has nothing to do with the idiotic choice of missions, such as his idea of attacking Iran. Last but not least, we have the son of an anthropologist, an empath with a special ability to create a powerful psychological suction. The vacuum he creates sucks in his followers' hopes, whatever they may be. He might do for us is what Jane Goodall did for the chimps: hand out bananas and watch the chimps fight over them. Some of us chimps have the audacity to hope that your bananas will become ours.

All of this playing at politics is completely unnecessary. Democracy is for those capable of self-governance. Americans are not interested in governing themselves, but in watching television, and the political spectacle does not make for particularly compelling television viewing. To make it more interesting, I would like to propose a process of political reform which I call "Two-Step to Empire." Step 1: McCain chooses Cheney as his running mate and, come November, Diebold comes up with some numbers to show that they have won; Step 2: Cheney renames "Office of the Vice President" to "Office of the Emperor" while McCain gratefully fades from view, his mission completed.

As Emperor, Cheney would be able to drive to completion some of the projects he has championed as Vice President. He would reorganize the Secret Service and the military into a single large, for-profit institution called, say, the Praetorian Guard. He would streamline the federal bureaucracy along imperial lines, eliminating such redundancies as congressional oversight and an independent judiciary. And he would be able to directly charge into battle against all enemies foreign and domestic, real and imagined, directly leading his troops. This last endeavor is not without risk, and may cause Dick to end up like the Roman Emperor Valerian, who was captured, killed, and had his corpse stuffed with straw, mounted, and put on permanent exhibit at a Mesopotamian temple, in perpetual ignominy. Or the Praetorian Guard, finding these numerous conflicts dangerous and unprofitable, might arrange for their fearless leader's untimely demise and replace him with his named successor: Empress Condoleezza.

In due course, US Empire would become ungovernable as a unit and be forced to split into two, just as the Roman Empire did. Empress Condoleezza would remain as Empress of the East, while Emperor Arnold would ascend to the throne as Emperor of the West. While Emperor Arnold can very well drive his own chariot at the Coliseum, mashing terrorist captives into a bloody pulp under the wheels of his speeding chariot, Empress Condoleezza would need to appoint a body-double, to avoid frightening the horses. Naomi Campbell might be suitable.

I believe that this imperial approach would make for much more compelling and riveting television viewing than the current tawdry and meaningless electoral spectacle.

7 comments :

Bigelow said...

I enjoy my Cheney-Satan '08 bumper sticker very much.

Rob Coats said...

As a history teacher, I love your continual comparisons to the Roman Empire. I must admit that I shamelessly plagiarized your comparison between the collapse of the Soviet Union to the collapse of the United States. I had to cut out a little bit because they're tenth graders. The important thing is that they got it. You know you punched kids in the stomach when they gulp audibly and start asking serious questions, and then the whole class actually listens when I give a long, complicated answer. Although their attention spans dwindled by the tenth slide, they GOT it. You helped me to get a group of 27 15 year olds to ask some painful questions and sit through the painful answers. Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

Dmitry,

Is there a difference between imperialism and metropolitanism... emperor and metropolitan?

Thanks for any insight.

hallie flanagan

hadashi said...

Classic! I love it! Can't we fit Charton Heston in there too somehow? His 'Planet of the Apes' and 'Ben Hur' appearances alone would warrant it.

jack said...

one slogan really encompasses it all

c'thulhu '08: why vote for the lesser evil?

Anonymous said...

I am such a fan of yours Dmitry. Your writeups really help me keep all this ridiculosity in perspective. I love the knify dry humor in this. I think people who can really get your approach are a cut above. "Two Step" is a classic. Thanks for your efforts. America's portrait these days resembles nothing more than a Ralph Steadman drawing to me. Never thought I'd live to see all this.
best,
john t., La Crescenta, CA

Peter Dow said...

Empress Condoleezza Yahoo Group