Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Impending Inauguration

(If you're new here, this column consists of weekly letters written to my grandchildren, who exist, to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead, and my great-grandchildren, who aren't here yet.)

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies,

The coronation inauguration of Donald J. Trump is upon us. In less than a week he will be crowned sworn in and officially become our 45th king president. The snarky cross outs in the previous sentence are not directed at the Donald. If I were being snarky about the Donald I would point out that a 70-year-old man with yellow hair, an elaborate combover, orange skin and ever-shifting political positions will soon be king our president.

But I'm not. Let he who is not a 6339-year-old with an enormous head, a lazy eye, a pedestal for a neck and a tank shaped body who is about to have a defective hip replaced cast the first stone!

I'm merely pointing out, that in my semi-humble opinion, the phrase 50 united states implies 50 relatively powerful entities united for certain purposes, spelled out in our constitution, and having much more autonomy than they currently enjoy. What we have is The Gubmint, which, if it continues on its present trajectory, will become, THE GUBMINT.

What we have is so large, complex and powerful, that the phrase permanent campaign not only means governing with an eye on the next election it means all politics, all the time, for every-one.

The chattering class, the more or less permanent bureaucracy, the Gubmint wannabes, the political industry and Gubmint dependent real industries are all carrying on as if we're about to crown a divine right monarch.

Perhaps it's even worse than that. Does America have daddy issues? And/or do we, in spite of our supposed sophistication, long for an alpha male (alpha person?) to feel safe?

Can he can't he? Will he won't he? "Of course this is just speculation on my part but...". Is it true he likes McDonald's food? Didja hear most of the major designers refuse to dress his wife?

Joe Biden, recent vice-president, who was a lawyer for a minute before becoming a professional politician whose major accomplishment is a long career as professional politician announced that he's running for president in 2020.

Mr. Obama has rented a mansion and will be the first president since Wilson (suffering from the aftereffects of a stroke) to not get out of Dodge once he was evicted from the White House.

Mr. O. sez he's sticking around because this multimillionaire champion of the little people, this former community organizer, doesn't want to pull his youngest kid out of high school because she still has two years to go. She attends the Sidwell Friends school, current tuition $39,360 per year (but that includes a hot lunch). Golly, I wonder how he'll kill time between science fairs and PTA meetings?

Can't fault a man for being a good dad, but almost every time he's given a speech in the last eight years that wasn't delivered inside the beltway he made a point of telling his audience how great it was to get out of D.C., him being an outsider and all, and hang with regular folks.

While I appreciate this sacrifice for his kid, Chicago, the town he calls home, that's run by Rahm Emanuel, a former Obama chief of staff, has a notable homicide problem that you may have heard about.

I think I'll send him an email suggesting he spend as many long weekends as possible in Chicago till the problem is solved. If he were to lend his talent and prestige to his buddy Rahm they could no doubt get 'er done. I'd tweet it at him, but Cranky don't tweet.

He could straighten out Chicago and have an excuse to leave the fever swamps of DC on a regular basis, Win-win!

Sorry, I'm obviously suffering from Obama derangement syndrome, which clearly indicates I'm a closet racist in denial. Honey, get my therapist on the phone!

Moving on...

 An inauguration ain't supposed to be a coronation. According to Merriam-Webster:

Inauguration: a ceremonial induction into office
Coronation: the act or occasion of crowning

George Washington allegedly was offered a crown and said no thanks. Historians tell us that this never actually happened, that it was no truer than that shtuff about chopping down a cherry tree and readily confessing to the crime rather than trying to weasel his way out of it.

I'm so old that I can remember being taught the cherry tree story in school and believing it -- different world. I'm so old, and cranky, that I can imagine a country without a semi-imperial presidency that's not about to spend $200,000,000 (more or less) on parties and ceremonies to commemorate the Donald solemnly swearing or affirming that he will try to do a good job and follow the rulebook, the constitution.

The presidential oath of office, the only specifically worded oath in the constitution, has 37 words. This means we're gonna' spend roughly $5,400,000 per word. I have a better idea.

When I was a kid, 25 words or less contests were a thing. "Send us a letter and explain, in 25 words or less, why your family loves Powdermilk Biscuits and win free Powdermilk Biscuits for life!"

How about a nationwide contest promoted via radio to keep the cost down?

 "Send us an email and explain, in 25 actual words or less describing why you prefer a term-limited president to a divine right monarch. Win one million dollars and an all expenses paid trip to Washington DC to be the people's official witness to the Donald's inauguration and meet the new president! Attend a potluck dinner for the POTUS, congress, and the supreme court afterward! Free carnival games and face painting for the kids!"

Savings: $199,000,000 bucks, minus the cost of the radio promotion and renting a hall for the potluck.

The commercial ends with the announcer babbling the following words at twice the speed of sound.

"All winnings are subject to federal, state and local taxes. Employees or relatives, no matter how tenuous the connection,
 of the Donald are not eligible in order to minimize the number of inevitable future congressional investigations. No emojis or social media/texting truncations and abbreviations permitted in order to weed out trolls. Only one entry per documented citizen please, violators will be tossed over the wall."

The Donald, well known for his modesty and good taste, is setting a good example. Our next POTUS will utter the 37 words mentioned above at the Capitol building (home of the people's representatives, many of whom have been selflessly serving us for decades). Next, he'll jump in an armored Cadillac limousine, one of a fleet of a dozen or so (shhh! it's a secret!) built at cost of about $1,500,000, each.

He'll then travel in a motorcade, for about two miles, to the White House while dispensing royal waves and thumbs-ups to the little people.

Little but.

The limos in the parade will not display the traditional special license plates created to commemorate inauguration day. This is giving the collectors of such plates the vapors. The Donald's camp is refusing to say why, but I think I know.

The Donald, well known for his subtlety and discretion, is quietly making the statement that he's just one of us. Make America less tacky again! Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.