Stevieslaw: Herbal Tea
I hadn’t seen Arnold Slanzky in years. The last I had heard he was working toward a doctorate in Public Health with a thesis that purported to show that the pets of the top 1% had much better access to health care than did Americans earning less than $50,000 a year. They had generally better outcomes as well.
I was surprised to see then, as Smokey and I drove through Southern Ohio, Arnie’s picture plastered on billboards every few miles. It had his portrait---a smiling face on a balding head---with the boldly lettered statement, “Throw off the Yolk of Big Government.” My old ultra-liberal friend Arnie was apparently running for Congress as a Tea Party Candidate with bad spelling.
We gave him a call and got to meet him for lunch at the local Dennys---his new favorite restaurant. After we had caught up a bit, I asked him about his candidacy.
“I was teaching and doing some research at a University,“ he said. “It’s too much work for too little pay.” “So I asked myself what else I could do.” “A job as a US. Congressman is a no-brainer, especially with this Tea Party business.” “You no longer have to know anything at all---in fact it seems the less you know and the crazier the things you say the more secure your job is.” “And Congressmen are on recess like half the year.”
“But your views are to the left of Bernie Sanders,” I reminded him.
“Still are,” he said, “but you can’t get elected with those views.” “So one day I was talking to the local Tea Party people and told them, as a joke, that I had a religious conversion over my easy over eggs at Dennys. Jesus told me to “throw off the yolk of government.” “They loved the slogan, even when I wrote it out for them, misspelling and all.”
“My campaign is going very well, He said. “My major theme is the need for American women to wear Burkas.” “It’s offensive to nearly everyone, so it’s a great Tea Party cause.”
“Once I’m elected, I’m sure I can go back to being a bleeding heart liberal.” “I just need to say the crazy stuff the right wants to hear---loudly.” “The tea party members have absolutely no sense of humor, so thinking up crazy things is like taking candy from a baby---which is also an integral part of my program.”
“I can do this,” he said. “People will someday recognize me as the first member of the Herbal Tea Party.”
“Did you hear about Obama’s meeting with witches in Salem this morning?” he said suddenly, in a booming voice that caught the attention of everyone in the diner. “He plans to carry the state by bewitching the independents to vote for him.”
“My waffle tells me that we must start watching for witches here,” he went on. “Any woman not wearing a Burka is a suspect,” he said with a loopy grin.