Oh, your red scarf matches your eyes
You closed your cover before striking
Father had the shipfitter blues
Loving you has made me bananas. -Guy Marks
In 1901 the noted American author O. Henry published Cabbages and Kings. He was writing from Honduras which in its 46 years of independence from Spain had over 30 presidents. The not quite yet celebrated author was for six months a criminal refugee in the country. While a bank teller in Austin, Texas he embezzled funds to pay his wife’s medical expenses. In the story, one president is seen fleeing the country with a baggage full of ill-gotten funds. Another president is later deposed for slapping a tax on bananas. It is the story which first brought us the term Banana Republic, long before it became exploited by corporate apparel distributors.
Today we associate the term with nations also routinely referred to as Third World Countries. This is, for me, another problematic term, for where, oh where, is the second world? We have been told by the greatest minds of ours or any other time that there is only one planet in our solar system hosting intelligent life, although a thorough study of human history makes that questionable at best. Anyway, it should be noted that many of these countries from this mysterious other world, do not produce one iota of bananas.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, they say. I don’t know who they are, but I believe I can say with a certain degree of certainty (well at least more certainty than I can attest to about that aforementioned second world) that “they” do exist simply because this term keeps popping up, so somebody must be saying it, aside from me. Unless it is just me. Or am I sounding just a little bit paranoid?
Anyway, speaking of paranoia, Jan 6, 2021. How’s that for a segue? And by segue I mean a shift in the narrative and not a two wheeled vehicle running over unsuspecting pedestrians in urban locations nationwide. No, I mean the kind of overwhelming paranoia that can take a country famed for over two centuries as the model for smooth transitions of power and transform it into a facsimile of the banana republics so often emblazoned on our TV screens, supposedly exemplifying how much better at this democracy thing we are than anybody else.
“Give the people what they want, and they will come”. This saying has been attributed to among others, George Jessel, Red Skelton, and Groucho Marx , usually in regard to the crowds attending the memorial services of certain very disliked people. Like movie moguls Harry Cohn and Louis B. Mayer. They also had reputations for picking up women in a variety of unsavory manners. They too knew what the people wanted and gave it to them in bundles. Of course they were dishing out fictions for the most part, designed to bring out the best in the human spirit in some troubling times even if they, themselves were not the best examples of that.
But the real estate man turned wannabee tyrant has never sought to bring out the best in the human spirit. One must first have a human spirit in order to do that. When one can only feed upon soulless toxins to survive, then what stems from that must of necessity drip, drip, drip with carcinogens.
On January 6, 2021 there was an attempt made by people who call themselves Americans to out banana even the most banana- iest republics. An American flag was ripped down and a bizzarro banner featuring the name of the 45th person pledged with the ultimate duty of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States was hung in its place. A woman was shot in the face, a peace officer and National Guard veteran who served this country in Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan was killed, three others died as well so that one overgrown second grader could put his feet up on the Speaker of the House’s desk and another could wave at a camera, gums a grinnin’ as he made off with the Speaker’s podium. The so-called seriousness of this entire charade was betrayed too often by scenes like these as well as reams of photos of “defenders of freedom” taking selfies as they jaunted through the halls of our most important legislative bodies looking like Comic Con attendees trying to find the bar. One resembled a cross between Thor, Grizzley Adams, and Kato Kaelin.
Among those who have since been arrested are one Richard Barnett, he of the feet on the Speaker’s desk pose, Adam Christian Johnson the souvenir shopper who made off with the Speaker’s podium and Derrick Evans, a West Virginia legislator. While it is good that these escapees from civics class have been captured along with many others since then; it is important to note that the bus rolling over them is driven and occupied by a slew of very well-connected folks who very much believe they will never face any consequences. But we should never lose sight of the fact that none of this would ever have been possible if not for the mendacious incitements they have fostered over this entire stain of a presidential term.
Of course there are the mountains of lies and assaults on decency by the president himself. I will not waste your time with that, suffice it to say that this last outrage must bear a price. If this union is to stand for our children and our children’s children, an orange jumpsuit, and a suite in one of our finest penal institutions must be made available to him and his cronies. It is comically ironic that one of the few accomplishments of this administration was in the arena of criminal reform with the First Step Act. Of course when one considers how abhorrent the rest of his record on criminal justice has been, including his Formula One acceleration of federal executions, perhaps the real reason for this was to set the stage for his own future rendezvous with the justice system.
A former NYC mayor, who once made a name for himself as the prosecutor responsible for kneecapping the mafia and who earned the unofficial title of “America’s Mayor” for his performance in the wake of the 911 attacks, now distinguishes himself as the chief consigliere of America’s first organized crime president. In search of a degree of relevance for the new decade he has thus far distinguished himself by negotiating with shady foreign nationals to find dirt on the boss’s political enemies and holding uproarious press conferences at strip malls accompanied by among others Bernard Kerik. Mr. Kerik traces his course to all this repugnance to his time as Giuliani’s NYPD driver and bodyguard when he was first elected mayor through his time as Corrections Commissioner and later Police Commissioner, a job which he was technically unqualified for. He was later convicted himself on eight felony tax and false statement charges. Guess who pardoned him in February of 2020? And just when you thought there could not possibly be a lower rung on this ladder to Dante’s Inferno, Giuliani found one when he told the blood lusting crowd prior to their march that what this country needed was a good “trial by combat”.
And then there’s Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) who at 41 seems to fancy himself as an uber-conservative, ivy-educated, new century JFK destined to inherit the throne if only he can get his lips close enough to the royal tuchus. I don’t think he realizes that his place in line is directly behind the princess daughter and the first of the animal slaughtering sons. But considering how even the most loyal syncophants are jettisoned from favor for the most minor infractions he would do well to read the parable of the scorpion and the toad. In this case he would be the toad.
Ted Cruz, (R-Tx.) whose beard is on a daily quest to eat the rest of his face, is another ivy- educated monument to hypocrisy. He issued a typically bland statement condemning the violence he himself fanned the flames of. Yet when the insulting statues of Confederate generals were pulled down in the course of this country’s awakening of racial injustice he referred to protesters as “The American Taliban”. In 2016, during the campaign for the Republican nomination, the eventual winner insinuated the Texas senator’s wife was somewhat lacking in the physical attractiveness department. He further insinuated that Cruz’s father was a part of the Kennedy assassination plot in 1963. But don’t worry, Ted has the stomach for all of this. In fact, he proved this by having dinner with the Offender-in-Chief a few weeks after the inauguration. I hear his entre that night was crow.
And how about these purveyors of indignity? Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS.), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS.), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA.), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WYO) and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL.) all first termers who seem to have quickly learned that the way to a tyrant’s favor is through his ego. Kennedy, who appears to have never willingly missed the dinner bell, once famously frowned on further unemployment subsidies because it would encourage people not to work in an economy where the availability of jobs was shrinking and the possibility of reporting for work in some places was downright hazardous. Tuberville, one of the newest members of this confederacy of dunces and former college football coach decided to make his first official act as a United States Senator one of debatable sedition by drawing up a 4th and very long play with the ball at his own 20 and 6 years left on the clock of his term. Better pull that old helmet out of storage Tommy boy if you expect to last on this gridiron. Punting would have been the much better option. By the way, the three branches of government are the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. Just thought you should have a firm grasp of that before you continue on with this senator -ing thing.
And then of course there are all of the House members too many to name. Just give them a big hand—packing their things.
Consequences must be paid, by the rooks, and all the other royalist pieces as well as the pawns. Censures, disbarment when appropriate, criminal, and even civil actions need to be brought. The constitution demands that we the people provide for a common defense. If we don’t do that now, by thorough and legal redress then we may as well rip up the whole document and petition the Brits, now that they’re done with that whole Brexit thing, to see if they wish to kiss and make up.