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Dear ITT Ideologist: American Exceptionalism and GOP Bondage

Pete Karman

(Illustration by Terry Laban)

Dear ITT Ideologist,

My policies are being savaged by people who believe the government is too big. Do you have any suggestions on how I can counter this?

–B. Obama, Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President,

Your problem is American exceptionalism. Americans believe that supersizing improves everything from to burgers to boobs. That includes big business and the amplitude of Tiger Woods’ seraglio. The exception that makes us exceptional is government. It’s the one thing that Americans think is too big – and too bureaucratic and bossy, to boot. Of course, that’s except for the military, which they adore even though it’s the biggest, bossiest and most bureaucratic part of government. Why? Go figure.

Therefore my suggestions are: 1) remove United States” from the names of government entities and add Inc.” at the end, and 2) put Social Security clerks in uniform. Instead of pelting the White House with tea bags, you’ll soon find Americans lining up to buy stock in the government as if they were 40-ounce gulps.

Dear ITT Ideologist,

We at SDS are heartsick at the abandonment of our noble cause by nominal conservatives. In recent days, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia claimed slavery was evil and inhumane,” while Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi said it was a bad thing.” Where are the John C. Calhouns of yesteryear, conservatives true to the Bible’s admonition in Ephesians 6:5 that slaves must obey their earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as they obey Christ?

–Sy Legree, President,

Society for the Defense of Slavery 

Dear Mr. Legree,

Fear not, conservatives are with you in their heartlessness. But some have decided to dissemble given the current confusion over bondage as once practiced in Dear Old Dixie versus that at the Voyeur Club in West Hollywood. They fear that their positive views about the former will adversely link them to the latter in the minds of voters. 

Their championing of torture shows conservatives are okay with whips and chains. But they do worry about venue. It’s one thing when the clamps are applied at Guantanamo. It’s another when it occurs on Santa Monica Blvd., and is charged to a GOP credit card.

Another problem is that social conservatives like to think of bondage as a benign institution characterized by Mammy frying cornbread in the kitchen and Uncle Remus rockin’ on the porch. They get discombobulated when it is associated with latex lesbians swinging in cages at establishments that serve liquor. 

Pete Karman began working in journalism in 1957 at the awful New York Daily Mirror, where he wrote the first review of Bob Dylan for a New York paper. He lost that job after illegally traveling to Cuba (the rag failed shortly after he got the boot). Karman has reported and edited for various trade and trade union blats and worked as a copywriter. He was happy being a flack for Air France, but not as happy as being an on-and-off In These Times editor and contributor since 1977.
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