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By David Podvin
When I was young, my friends and I would play an evil game called “Airplane”. In this malicious exercise, we assigned seats to ten passengers on a flight that was doomed to - for want of a more diplomatic phrase – crash and burn. It was a truly childish pastime that sought vicarious pleasure through the misfortune (however imaginary) of other human beings (however deserving).
Having matured admirably over the years, I now unequivocally condemn such corrosive thinking. It is in that spirit that I provide the following gruesome example of why wasting time on this horrid little fantasy is so terribly, terribly wrong.
Passenger Number One: Antonin Scalia
We’ll miss you, Fat Tony. Fortunately, Clarence Thomas will still be around in order to quell any subversive uprisings of democracy in America. Maybe we can honor you by appointing the one person who will implement your philosophy of states rights with the same level of integrity that you have shown. Oh, dammit… John Wilkes Booth is unavailable.
Passenger Number Two: Highly Classified
I really don’t want a visit from the Secret Service, but suffice to say ol’ Number Two is aptly named. Rest assured, fella – flight attendant Peggy Noonan has been instructed to supply you with all the Rolled Gold you can handle. In homage to your foremost accomplishment in life, this plane is going to, uh, land just outside of Miami-Dade, right between a black church and a Jewish retirement home.
Passenger Number Three: Bill Frist
During the 2002 campaign, you directed the effort to defeat Southern Democratic senators by attacking their opposition to the Confederate flag. This would be the same Confederate flag that symbolizes S-L-A-V-E-R-Y. Now, you have been made master of the Senate as a Republican show of good faith on racial matters? Rod Serling would undoubtedly appreciate the surrealistic irony of it all, but I don’t. Turbulence or not, pass the airsickness bag.
Passenger Number Four: Rupert Murdoch
No worries, mate; rumor has it that really shitty situation comedies and extremely biased right wing propaganda masquerading as news are currently all the rage in Hell. Remember to save a place for Roger Ailes – he’ll be arriving on the next flight. And, just to show there are no hard feelings, here’s a word to the wise about spending eternity Way Down Under: when the Marquis de Sade is standing directly behind you, don’t bend over to pick up the soap.
Passenger Number Five: Abby Joseph Cohen
After an interviewer asked if Wall Street should apologize for luring millions of older investors into buying stocks that wiped out their retirement accounts, you indignantly responded that such a question was “inappropriate”. You made tens of millions of dollars by ruining the lives of people who naively trusted you, and now you are deeply offended that anyone noticed. An aisle seat for you, Abs.
Passenger Number Six: Newt Gingrich
Like a really bad meal, you just keep coming back. Paul Wellstone’s body was not yet cold, and there you were on national television outrageously slandering Walter Mondale by falsely accusing him of wanting to raid the Social Security Trust Fund. This is like Hitler accusing FDR of wanting to invade Poland. At some point in human history, there might have been a sleazier, more dishonest lowlife than you, Newtie, but I’ll be Goddamned if anyone comes immediately to mind.
Passenger Number Seven: Frank Carlucci
You formed a corporation, the Carlyle Group, that represents everything that is wrong with this country. Its very reason for being is depraved – having former high government officials from around the world collaborate to use power and influence that was gained during their “public service” to now cut sweetheart deals and rob the taxpayers blind. In a true democracy, there would be special place of honor for you, George Herbert Walker Bush, John Major, and the rest of your exclusive corps of statesmen entrepreneurs. It would be called “prison”.
Passenger Number Eight: Colin Powell
You watched approvingly as your benefactor stole the election by illegally disqualifying black votes. You have been a loyal member of Team Bush as they have gone on a crusade to confiscate freedom at home and impose hegemony abroad. You are especially contemptible because, unlike Cheney and Rumsfeld, you actually understand that being evil is wrong. Unfortunately, this realization hasn’t stopped you from going along for the ride. That cabinet position must be awfully sweet, since you have eagerly sold your soul in order to keep it.
Passenger Number Nine: Richard Nixon
I know – you’re already dead. Still…
Passenger Number Ten (right over the fuel tanks): Alan Greenspan
Don’t take this too personally. You are not so much a human being as you are the embodiment of the greed and sedition of your masters in Corporate America. Unfortunately, our seating capacity will not allow us to accommodate all of those richly deserving captains of industry who have helped to pervert democracy with their unpatriotic behavior. By corrupting the political process with bribes and co-opting the media so that there can be no widespread reporting on the corruption, big business has reinstated the principle of taxation without representation for the average citizen. Corporate America is the twenty first century version of King George, but the good folks in the countryside seem not to notice. Where is Paul Revere when you really need him?
Ladies and gentlemen, your pilot for this voyage of the dam-, uh, flight, will be the Honorable Tom DeLay. So, Tommy, you named Katherine Harris to the Republican House leadership. Kind of the ultimate “in-your-face” to liberals across America, right? Good one.
Have a nice trip.
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