[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]
Dear Dr. Steve,
These are perilous times. I know everybody always says that, but I believe we now face a truly serious situation. Or not "we," exactly -- it's our neighbours. They're deranged. The United States electorate have been behaving like cross-country truck drivers after four straight days popping Benzedrine. The Republican presidential race, the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the gun control debate -- it's a raging tire fire down there. And Canada is right on top of it all, inhaling the toxic fumes. We risk asphyxiation.
Therefore I propose a radical plan: separation. Physical separation. We must remove ourselves from the danger source. Winches, pulleys, log rafts -- whatever is necessary to put some distance between ourselves and the coming catastrophe. But perhaps this is not so much a political problem as an engineering issue. What do you think?
It's a crazy plan. But then, people said Howard Hughes was crazy too. And he was. My point is, let's come back to your bold proposal later. First, an overview of the U.S. situation as we enter the calendar cycle that may someday be referred to as Trump Year One.
On the one hand there are encouraging signs. Florida Atlantic University took the positive step of firing instructor James Tracy who claimed the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax perpetrated by gun control advocates. According to the school Tracy's area of expertise is "the relationship between commercial and alternative news media and socio-political issues and events." So if you guessed squirrels, you lose.
More importantly, President Obama finally said to hell with Congress and enacted some modest gun control measures via executive action. Frankly it's not much -- closing the gun show loophole, hiring more people to do background checks. Just a few common sense measures. Still, it has put the National Rifle Association in a tricky situation. To the NRA, common sense is like gangrene -- if you don't stop it early it can really spread. Therefore they have to go batshit crazy about Obama's plan -- it's what they do.
The NRA's power comes from reinforcing the belief that they are both armed and insane. Anyone who challenges them politically must be reminded that they are a cabal of intransigent nut jobs with AK-47s. Yet the NRA must be cautious too. If they turn up the crazy to 11 now, what will they have left when someone actually tries to do something substantial about gun control? They must keep some of their crazy powder dry. It's a sort of unbalanced balancing act.
Meanwhile in Oregon: patriots! The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has been taken over by gun-toting cowboys upset about injustice. It seems one of their friends was selling loose cigarettes when he was choked to death by New York cops. Or is that a different case? Perhaps they were upset because a 12-year-old black kid with a toy gun was immediately shot dead by a Cleveland cop who was not charged? No? Well some other injustice then. I'm sure it was legitimate evidence of tyranny.
Anyway, the occupiers call themselves patriots and even carry around little pocket versions of the U.S. Constitution. Actually, the reason those constitutions are so small and portable is that they've been edited. There's nothing left but the Second Amendment. That's the important part. Certainly not all that bullshit about religious liberty. If they cared about that part of the Constitution they'd be camped out in the lobby of some Trump casino. It would be easier to get snacks there, too.
But give Trump credit -- his call to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. has proven that he is a unifying figure. He has clearly inspired the Oregon occupiers, and it recently emerged that ISIS is also using him in recruiting videos. Who else can cast such a wide butterfly net? Who else closes the circle between the loony right and the homicidal fanatical fringe? Trump is a once-in-a-generation political figure. Whereas Ted Cruz is just a garden variety asshole. Polls show that seems to be working pretty well too.
More squirrel logic
But back to your plan, Mac. You want to separate the Canadian land mass from the United States? You're obviously a visionary. Are you crazy? Sure -- crazy like a Florida Atlantic University instructor. Send them a resume.
In the meantime here's an alternative plan I just came up with. A Republican victory in the 2016 presidential election, or even just continued GOP control of the House, will result in total inaction on the global warming front. That should eventually lead to rising sea levels that will swamp the United States. Canada on the other hand seems set on recognizing its global obligations and taking appropriate steps. If so we in the north will remain high and dry as the rising waters inundate our American neighbours. Problem solved.
Or does it not work that way?
Read more: Politics