Shine, Perishing Republic: Da-da's Pre-President's Day Fable

Like Rowdy Roddy Piper said: "I am here to chew bubblegum, and kick ass.'"

Da-da was in DC last week, searching for an honest politician (a futile hobby), when he decided to take a break at the Library of Congress... but Da-da could barely get in, even with his VIP-LOC badge: the LOC was lousy with writers.

Omnipresent were folks from media-majoris and -minoris outlets and bloggicity, scribbling, exhausted, blearing peerily into dusty tomes and glowing screens, their red eyes and bloated faces mirroring those few insensate and unplugged members of Congress also present. For whatever reason, many were checking out all available copies of, Catcher in the Rye (uh oh), and, The TORPOMETRONOMICON (comedy relief). But what were these folks writing about? Their President’s Day columns and speeches, o'course.

Da-da peeked over a few shoulders and stopped, quickly divining that the Republic is doomed. It always was, despite surviving for 236 years. According to those hallowed (hollowed?) brains in attendance, we’re all: going to hell; going to war with extraterrestrials; going to war with Discorporate America; going to war with ourselves (“The Next Civil War”); too much in love with social media; not enough in love with social media; going to be destroyed by social media, etc. Da-da fled the LOC before anyone could recognize him. (“Yeah, who is Da-da, anyway?”)

He schlepped to the Lincoln Memorial. There’s always a motley crowd at the Lincoln Memorial; throngs of pre-teens and tourists in ORANGE PANTS (orange pants?) and conspiracy whackos are forever milling around poor Abe. Though this time the mob was augmented by MORE writers clustered about Abe’s huge feet, looking up at him, forlorn and stuck for a story angle, eyes droopy and goupy and snoopy. Some openly wept. Others played video games. Some were even TALKING to Abe.

“Abe, what’s wrong with America??” one journalist-wannabe goof in a pork-pie hat asked, stroking Abe's leg. Da-da kicked him in the pants. Someone had to. Of course, Abe only talks to Da-da.

“Hey, Abe.”

“Hi, Da-da. How are Bronko and Nagurski and the missus?”

“The feds finally have them cornered. Jeez, sorry about all the whining worshippers.”

The writers stared at us, in awe of Abe’s big ol’ rumbly voice.

“By the way, you know that shovel thing, Abe? Where you were supposed to have done your homework on the back of a coal shovel? That really happen?”

“Nah. Made up by some PR person.”

More scribbling from the unwashed reporting masses.

Some conservative hipster (he was wielding a bible, a BIG one) stepped forward. “President Lincoln, what's wrong with the Presidency?”

“Yeah, and what are next week’s lottery numbers?” someone else quipped.

Abe rolled his eyes and remained silent, but Da-da wasn’t letting him off that easy.

“OK, Abe. What's on your mind?”

To the surprise of those bearing witness, ol' Abe GOT UP from off his huge chair, all 18 feet of him. Trying not to hit his head on anything, he answered in a deep and mellifluous Abe-Lincoln tone.

“There's nothing wrong with the Presidency, per se. Sure, the Office has grown more powerful and misguided under division-minded powergrubbers of the last decade, but what else is new? No one really deserves to be President who WANTS the job. First offered to Ben Franklin, then Ambassador to France, Ben said, 'Ha! No way.' Only then did they ask George Washington to step up, and he wasn't keen on it, either. Today there are too many career politicians, folks who've made politics their main priority, sucking at the public and corporate teats, if you will. Alas, too many corporations simply buy the influence their execs think they deserve; it’s corporate Manifest Destiny. The White House is the brass ring, or it used to be. These days, who knows? Many seem to forget that the President's main job is foreign policy, not domestic matters; it's Congress that watches the store, though these days that's debatable.”

Abe leaned forward and pointed a huge finger in the direction of the Washington Monument.

“Remember that cool scaffolding they built over the Washington Monument a while back? In order to restore it to its former glory? We need to do the same thing with ALL these damn buildings -- and the out-of-touch people inside 'em. Politics," he snorted, "the obfuscation of the struggle between good and evil with words.” Abe slumped back into his monumental chair.

“Sorry… when it comes to my own Presidency, don't forget that I was pretty much hated by most Americans… until I was murdered. After that, everyone loved me! Go figure.” He shook his head. “You might want to talk to Jefferson. He's probably in a better mood. I'm just sickened by all this bickering and shameless moneygrubbing and fingerpointing, stealing the American people blind to pay bankers.” He raised his voice: “You can all bite me!” Abe started to withdraw back into his marmoreal self.

Da-da tried to keep him engaged. “Ok. Hold on, Abe. Tell us what we're missing.”

“Common sense for starters,” he said. “But we're gonna have to start calling it something else. 'Uncommon sense,' perhaps. It's not common anymore.”

“Is that it?”

“Is that it!?” he roared. “You can't TEACH common sense! You're either born with it or you're not. Perhaps it's not a survival trait anymore. Look at everyone texting and not looking where they're going, staring at those little screens all the time, being hit by cars, hitting other people with their own cars.” He paused to kick a teenager texting near Abe's size 40 boot. “Text this, Skippy.”

“They're not all like that, Abe. Is there anything else?”

“You know Bobby Knight, the basketball coach? He was on ESPN Classic the other night...”

“You watch ESPN?”

“Of course. Your tax dollars in action. Anyway, Bobby was asked what the difference was between the players he coached 30 years ago and players he coached before he retired. He said that kids coming into his program at the end of his tenure had no discipline, no work ethic. He suggested that parents and schools aren't as hard on kids as they used to be. This has ostensibly become one of the most coddled, medicated, mentally and spiritually segregated societies in history.” The big head shook from side to side. “Immediate gratification. No sacrifice. NO COMPROMISE. Me me me, mine mine mine; get all you can while the getting is good.”

Da-da looked around. The crowd had tripled, but few were comprehending what they were seeing and hearing. “So, what can we do?” someone asked.

“Look. I've been sitting here watching you folks a long time. Most of you don't realize what you're here for. Half the time you're self-medicating with all manners of pleasures and distractions so you don't have to deal with the pain of existence. The other half of the time, you're working jobs you hate in order to pay for the first half. But you're not here to buy things. You're here to learn, and grow.”

“What else?”

“Let bygones be bygones. Forgive. Overlook. We're all the same, all part of the same enormous non-local spirit-being having a local experience, as innocent as the day you were born, all connected to the Source. So stop worshipping money and technology and... I dunno... go meditate or something. Sounds trite, but the best thing you can do is live your life and be the best person you can be and learn as much as you can and follow love, not fear. We're all brothers. Be nice to one another. You might see better if you took some time away from the endless streams of useless information."

"Like Da-da's blog," Da-da muttered.

"No, I like your blog. People need to laugh. Anyway... try to unplug once in a while. Reflect. No one reflects, anymore. It's as important as breathing.” Abe stopped as a woman with feathers in her hair stepped forward.

"President Lincoln, why was the Universe created?"

"So you could have a place to hide. Ah, that's enough for now. I better go before someone starts worshipping me. DO THAT AND I"M GONNA GET MAD! Sorry. Next time don't ask a marble statue questions: they tend to ramble.” He grinned, weakly. “Happy President's Day, Da-da.”

“You too, sir. Later.”

Abe returned to stone and people shuffled off to ponder his words and their meaning.

“Dude, what did he say?” someone in the back asked.

“He said we all be BROTHERS and sh*t.”

“Right on.”

"Seven score and seven years ago, your forefathers would've thought you people were nutjobs."

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