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Moral nap time.

Potty-training in my less-than-direct family involved the exhortation to do big things for --." Fill in the blank with the name of a family member or a T.V. personality. As if Dale Evans were going to come walking into our bathroom, hat in hand, in one of her big, fringed, square-dancing shirts with her kerchief knotted perfectly and bobbing around her neck, singing "Happy Trails to You"--to admire what we had done.

That's all I could think about when President Again Bill Clinton intoned in his second inaugural, "Big things don't come from being small." I winced, not just because the sentence was such a thudding case in point, but because he had the nerve to pause for applause. And then, I felt bad for Donna Shalala.

The speech was a Cliffs' Notes version of the great speech he would have given if he'd had more time. My fellow citizens, it's late afternoon in America, join me in a nice moral nap. Bridge? Did someone say something about a bridge?

David Wrinkly was right. With speeches like that, you don't think, "Next stop: greatness." You think, "Next stop: boredom." On the oratorical scale from one to Barbara Jordan, it was a three.

Maybe it was the flu I had at the time. The flu to end all flus. Total fluness. Thank goodness I'd had a flu shot. The first and second families had started to look like those Duracell families, and when I saw Barbara, not Barbra, sitting up on the dais, I thought I must be whacked out on phlegm phlegm.

One big thing that could come from the little guy is campaign-finance reform. Both Bed-and-Breakfast Bill and the Nutty Professor Gingrich are proof that it's needed. It seems that someone who has run his last race, had his last piece of rubber chicken, stumped his last speech is just the duck to do it. The day after the inaugs, President Clinton II went after soft money. Talk about lame ducking.

Soft money--if that isn't the biggest pile you've heard in a long while, let me know. The Metamucil of campaign-finance reforms after Watergate caused soft money. Whining that the Republicans' pile is bigger than the Democrats' is not leadership on the issue.

Not just money but the length of campaigns must be limited. And I know just how to do it.

First we throw a bag of chips into everybody's T.V. The technology is there. If I can call in to ET, to vote on whether or not Liz Taylor should lose weight, I think I should be able to vote for President and other elected officials through my T.V.

Campaigns will take place only in the final six weeks of the football season. Debates are at half-time. If you don't watch the debate, you don't see the rest of the game. Post-debate analysis is done by John Madden, Bob Costas, and Wolf Blitzer. Citizens vote with T.V. remote (see "Remoter Voter"--the Will Durst archive of great ideas) at Super Bowl half-time. The new President is announced after the game.

The other half of the population, not at all interested in football, can vote between the garden and garnishing segments on the Martha Stewart Show.

We can get whole families involved in franchising enfranchisement. If they get their Mommies and Daddies to vote, they can choose from either the Republicans' Tickle Me Bob Dole (it doesn't giggle, it snarls) or the Democratic Snackin' Doll (uh oh, it just ate Tom Daschle's hair plugs).

Bill Cohen, our new Secretary of Defense, is ready to put the gee! back in geopolitical. Perfect. Because the rest of the world is a mess. Boris Yeltsin is in final auditions for The Newly Dead Game, a very popular game show among Russian leaders before Gorbachev.

Meanwhile, the Delaware DuPonts invited Alexander Lebed to the States to meet with businessmen in New York and D.C. His haircut looked better than The Donald's. When asked what he thought about NATO, Lebed said, in that fun-joking way he has, "If the rape is inevitable, you relax and enjoy it." Maybe he should go to one of the DuPonts' wrestling camps.
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Title Annotation:Unplugged; humor - Bill Clinton's 2nd Inaugural
Author:Clinton, Kate
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Column
Date:Mar 1, 1997
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