"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
The Mass Murderers Debate
Column by Glen Allport.
Exclusive to STR
With popular celebrity-killer Charles Manson having signed on for the second debate, the People's Socialist Conservative Party debate series was now assured of higher ratings and, finally, a real impact on the nation's voters.
Popular mega-killers defecting from the near-defunct Old Power Parties had participated in the first debate, and had been joined by an abrasive, rich, tell-it-like-it-is businessman who – while he hadn't actually killed anyone yet – was clearly chomping at the bit to do so. The debate had still been a bore, some thought – pro-forma and with only superficial excitement. It was a good sign, however, that the wealthy newcomer insisted on even more intrusive spying on the public, on more savage torture of detainees, on “bomb[ing] the sh*t out of” a popular brand of Bad Guys, and had made clear in other ways (by his profitable use of eminent domain, for instance) that despite popular fiction to the contrary, The State was The People's master – not that he would say such a thing in plain language; the man was a buffoon, not an idiot. In any case, voters would never have taken the man seriously without his tough-guy stance; how are you going to become an epic mass-murderer if you can't even throw little old ladies out of their homes and at least talk convincingly about torturing the Bad Guys? If one wants a decent replacement for Vlad the Impaler, one doesn't go looking for some milquetoast afraid to inflict pain. If you want an omelet, you gotta actually break the eggs.
Of course, the public wanted – NEEDED – to believe that every elected Vlad was really a pussycat, using remote-controlled missile-launching murder drones, modern torture dungeons called Black Sites, aggressive war abroad, dozens of heavily-armed Secret Police agencies at home, and other tough-love against the Bad Guys only reluctantly, and only because the Vlad had sworn an oath to protect the people of this Great Land. That wasn't strictly true (it wasn't true at all, in fact) because all that violence and murder provoked terrorism and actually made the public LESS safe and because the oath was specifically a promise to defend the Rulebook that the government was supposed to follow – the oath said nothing about protecting people from dissidents and religious fanatics and various other, mostly imaginary, evil-doers; the oath was really just that the new Vlad would do his or her job “faithfully” as outlined and limited in the Rulebook.* The political and personal behavior of most Vlads made the idea of the next one behaving faithfully, in any sense, seem hilarious. Or grimly sardonic. Or something. “Preserving, protecting, and defending” the Rulebook had become such an absurd notion that Secret Police agencies in the nation had labeled people who supported the Rulebook as “potential domestic terrorists.” You'd think that would have made things clear, but some Muricans still hadn't gotten the message.
* The Presidential oath, in its entirety: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Odds-makers thought the rich businessman's opponent in the Big Popularity Contest would be the wife of a previous Vlad who had actually been impeached – not for his obvious war crimes and other serious criminal behavior (war crimes in particular being what we pay these guys FOR) but for lying about an adulterous affair with a young woman. The Vlad hadn't actually started a declared war during his tenure, although using warplanes, missiles, cluster bombs, and other horrors on Kosovo (including over 38,000 combat missions) must have seemed like war to the families who were affected in that vague, somewhere-outside-the-United-States part of the world. Each of those cluster bombs “could shred anything in an area the size of ten football fields” (from Barry Lando's book Web of Deceit, as quoted in link above), which would certainly feel like war to me were they ever used on my personal neighborhood. But then, I'm squeamish about such things.
One might expect any Mrs. Vlad to be a kinder, gentler version of her warrior husband, but in this case, the wife – although a self-described Progressive – appeared to be an entire Mongol Horde* of aggression all by herself (no, Vlad was not a Mongol, but I'm way beyond mixing metaphors here). An old-school Progressive commentator had this to say about her:
“Among an array of deplorable Republican and Democrat presidential aspirants, [Mrs. Vlad] stands out as the most dangerous and sinister of the bunch – an unrequited war goddess, risking nuclear confrontation if elected.
“Her record in office and since leaving government shows support for imperial lawlessness, indifference to human suffering, and addiction to self-aggrandizement, along with using her high office to accumulate great wealth.”
While Mrs. Vlad had actually served as Secretary of Statism, most of the other debate participants were only members of the Government Rubber Stamp Squad, voting for laws that their lobbyists friends and corporate benefactors handed them, or that the current Vlad had had HIS friends and handlers write. The Rubber Stamp Squad had frequent opportunities to support aggressive war, pass huge military budgets, expand every aspect of secret policing at home and abroad, continue the vicious War on Drugs, and do lots of other things that resulted in dead Americans and dead foreigners, but each individual Stamper was only a small cog in a large Rubber Stamp machine. Mrs. Vlad, on the other hand, had actually been a high-ranking Poobah in the current Administration, and had been a major player in destroying an entire country somewhere Over There, the motive for which, some said, was to prevent this particular Nuisance Nation from issuing a currency based on (gasp!) real gold coins. A lot of people died and an entire nation's infrastructure was largely destroyed but the good news was: We won!
Naturally, the New York Times enthusiastically endorsed Mrs. Vlad, calling her “one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.” So did the Boston Globe (saying “The best reason to support [Mrs. Vlad] isn’t the weaknesses of her opponents; it’s her demonstrated strengths and experience.”). And despite strong public support for a Rubber Stamper candidate who promised (paraphrasing here) “to give an endless river of free stuff to everyone who votes for me”, Mrs. Vlad retained what may or may not have been the lead in the race, and had certainly nailed down more of something called Superdelegates than her “free stuff” opponent had. And really: although the “free stuff” guy had supported aggressive war occasionally, he was hardly believable as a genuine Vlad. On the other hand, the military / spy-agency / industrial complex would hardly let the qualms or conscience of a weak Vlad stand in the way of What Had to Be Done to Keep Murica Safe; John F. Kennedy could tell you about THAT, if he hadn't been shot dead in Dallas all those years ago.
Neither Mrs. Vlad, the Rubber Stampers, nor any of the other candidates of ANY party had done anything (that they were willing to talk about, anyway) as cinematic and thrilling as murdering a group of people with their own hands, nor had they put together a small group of hand-selected zealots who would literally kill people on command and without the legal sanction of the State.
Charles Manson was the obvious response here: Finally, something new amidst the sea of chickenhawks and corrupt Rubber Stampers and occasional doctors and businessmen; finally, someone with the gumption to actually do what other candidates and elected officials only did by proxy: take innocent lives directly, without pretending something patriotic and moral was going on. Manson was a spree-killer, a maniac, an actual psychopathic murderer with blood on his hands.
The public went wild at the thought of such a man in the debates. Advertising for the coming debate sold out immediately after Manson's participation was confirmed and news programs on every station were beside themselves with glee. Manson's inclusion in the upcoming festivities was – already, a week before the debate itself! – the best thing to happen to the news business since those tall buildings fell down in New York just after the turn of the century.
The salivating public waited with breathless fascination to see what wonders the next Debate of the Vlad Hopefuls would bring – as did (with trepidation instead of fascination) the world beyond Murica itself. Who would be invaded next? How many innocent lives would be lost – fragile human bodies shot, shredded by bombs, dismembered, burned beyond recognition, tortured to death, or otherwise torn apart, on the orders of the next Vlad? Duck and cover, children! Duck and cover! A new Vlad comes this way, soon!