Dedicated to all the disappointed elves

She worked her magicks in the darkest recesses of a D.C. conference room, her navy blue pantsuit blending perfectly with the shadows.  Lady Hillary bent her head over a makeshift altar and chanted the incantations that would turn her into the Ruler of the Free World.

Just as she was halfway through her TPP spell, the door of the room flew open and a slim silhouette appeared.

She turned from the altar and sighed heavily.  Naturally, it was one of Bernie’s elves.  Many of them had by now acknowledged defeat and scurried back to their woodland communes to tend their tiny herb gardens, but a couple of die-hards here and there were still trying to mount attacks on her.

The Bernista had flowing locks and big, bright eyes.  She was followed into the room by her unicorn sidekick.  Lady Hillary glared at them with impatience.

“You’re never going to give up, are you?”

“It’s not too late!”  the elf proclaimed with a trembling voice.  She threw her hands up and wiggled her fingers in the air.  “I cast my positive vibrations upon you, oh dark one!  Acknowledge that you are not the rightful nominee!”

Lady Hillary cackled.  “Spare me this amateur stuff.  You do realize, of course, that I have persuaded the majority of those in the Democratic Party to vote for me.”

“It’s all lies and fraud!  It cannot be true.  Bernie is the chosen one for this time.  Did you not see the Goddess send down the little bird at his rally?  Do not question the bird!”

“Enough about that stupid bird already…well, never mind.”  Lady Hillary softened her tone. “Look, you and I both know that the only way to defeat the Donald is to make an alliance with me.  Be reasonable, my little one.  You want to believe in good witches, but that’s not how the world works.  Although I do so admire that pure heart of yours…I feel as if…I must have it…”  She reached out her hand toward the glowing center in the elf’s chest.

“Don’t touch me!” the elf squealed, backing away.

“Or what?  Your Bernie will save you?”

“Bernie will save everyone in Americaland.”

“Ha!  You think his wizardry is truly powerful enough to make all his promises come true?  He will have to raise taxes.”

A slight smile played upon the elf’s lips.  “Ah, but you do not know about our secret weapon. Our unicorns aren’t just adorable…they also fart money.”

“Is that so?”  Lady Hillary stared at the unicorn with great interest.

“I feel a little put on the spot,” the unicorn said.

The elf tilted her head.  “Now will you concede the battle?”

“Concede?”  Lady Hillary laughed.  “Clearly, you do not understand the kind of power you are dealing with here.”  As she said this, she expanded and grew in stature, until she towered over the Bernista.  “I am not merely the Democratic candidate for President.  I am also a crazy leftist and a sell-out Republican at the same time.  Simultaneously responsible for too much war and too much appeasement.  Too calculating and too loud.  Too easily influenced by corporations and by socialists.  I contain it all, the left and the right, the masculine and feminine, every policy and none of them.  I am the everything and nothing of politics.  Try to stand against me and you will be consumed by the void.”

The elf covered her face, but she was past saving.  Her bright eyes turned black–she had gazed into the heart of the political machine.  One more moment, and she vanished into a puff of glitter.  The unicorn pooped out a little pile of cash and fled.

Lady Hillary shook her head.  “Always the same with these creatures.  So much fire, so little strategy.  It’s a shame–this one was cute.”  She turned back to the altar.  “Ah, yes.  What should I do next?  Where is that spell to get Bernie’s endorsement?”

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I don’t want Donald Trump’s money.

I know I’m supposed to want Donald Trump’s money. We’re all supposed to want Trump’s money. He’s the embodiment of the American dream we’re all supposed to aspire to. The fact that he’s got billions and billions of dollars–as he frequently likes to remind us–automatically makes him a human being of value. A human being worthy of our respect and emulation, and possibly our vote. He had the skill and the talent to make all that money. Or at least he had the cunning, and that’s good enough for us. If we don’t respect him, we’re likely to be sour grapes sore losers who envy his wealth.

But I don’t envy Trump’s wealth, especially if it comes with Trump’s fame and publicity. That seems like a heavy burden to carry. Perhaps I’m a weak person, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with that, and if it meant getting Trump’s personality issues as well…oof.

That doesn’t mean I’m not guilty of jealousy…isn’t everyone? I’m jealous as hell of Jimmy Carter.

I envy Jimmy’s serenity, his calm faith. What is his secret? What causes him to accept a cancer diagnosis with a smile and a remark about how this is going to be a “new adventure”? I mean, hypothetically speaking I can think of death and the afterlife as a new adventure too, but if I were faced with a terminal illness diagnosis in reality, I’m not so sure I could keep my cool like this. I envy how he’s been able to focus his existence on a higher purpose, on what is really meaningful–without allowing himself to be distracted by a gazillion doubts, the way I usually do.

So don’t give me any of Trump’s billions. Can I steal just a little bit of Jimmy Carter’s peace of mind? Can I have just a smidge of his kindness and patience? He is so rich in them already, he won’t miss it, right?

Yeah, I’ll admit it–I’m a sore loser, green-eyed jealousy monster. Call it spiritual sour grapes.

I’m not sure I can handle it.

The trashy pink lights. The corny classic rock soundtrack. And oh, those horrible performers.

There’s Hillary, sitting on a potential donor’s lap. “See? I can be warm and friendly,” she murmurs.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are working the pole, gyrating their hips as hard as they can, while the Koch brothers make it rain cash on the stage. Maybe they’ll get more money if they make out with each other?

Poor Chris Christie is sitting at a table alone, all forlorn in his bra and garter belt. Nobody cares about him anymore.

And off in a dark corner of the club, Rand Paul is doing his own weird dance. Only a few are turned on by him–those who are into the kinky masochistic fantasy of living in a pure libertarian state.

Watching this spectacle doesn’t exactly cause feelings of arousal. It’s more of a mixture of disgust, despair, and a complete loss of self-respect. But this is the best we can do, or so we’re told.

Yeah, the 2016 election season…it’s going to be the worst striptease ever.

The important thing to remember is that there is a rational answer to every question.

“Teacher, they’ve been draining my blood for a long time now. I’m starting to feel weak. When will it stop?”
“So you want the people who pump your blood to lose their jobs? And the people who transport it, and sell it? What do you think that will do to the local economy?”
“But I will probably die if this goes on.”
“Well, the free market gods don’t owe you your life. How selfish can you be?”

“Teacher, our food is trash. Can we request better quality food?”
“You do realize that will make it more expensive, right? Is that you what you want, for everyone to have to pay more?”
“I guess not.”
“Exactly.” *dangles smart phone in front of student* “Now look at the shiny toy and relax…relax…”

“Teacher, I’m ill. Do I have the right to medical care?”
“Oh, sure–medical care! What will you ask for next? Free Internet? A limo and a mansion? Why do you want to get something for nothing?”
“But I work for you.”
“So? I don’t have to give you enough to live on in return.”
“I don’t think I like this arrangement.”
“If you don’t like it, move on. Find someone else.”
“All the other free market gurus are assholes too. I don’t think they’d treat me any better.”
“That’s not my problem.”

“Teacher, I’ve lost my retirement money in the stock market.”
“Well, that’s your own fault. You chose to invest it.”
“So you’re saying I should keep my money out of the stock market?”
“Of course not! You can’t do that. If you don’t invest, you’ll never have enough for retirement.”
“Huh, I’m confused. Now what?”
“It’s up to you! Isn’t it great to have all this freedom?”

“Teacher, I’m working harder and harder, and barely surviving. I’m not able to afford health care, or an education, or a retirement. I’m paying a fortune for wars around the world. I need your help…what am I supposed to do?”
“You’re supposed to show gratitude for how great your life is! Say thank you.”
“Thank you, Master.”

These days, the United States is frequently compared to the Roman empire. Usually the comparison is made by those warning about our demise, either because we’re militarily overstretched or too accepting of homosexuality as a part of our culture.

But as tempting as it is to imagine myself reclining on a luxurious feast couch and eating grapes–the truth is, we kind of suck at being an empire.

Take Iraq. It’s pretty obvious that it’s become a colony of ours. We can make noises about leaving, but let’s face it, we’re over there to stay. Well, the Romans were at least smart enough to claim taxes from the nations they conquered. We seem to be doing the opposite–I’ve been paying from my hard-earned money to build stuff in Iraq. Why? Our own infrastructure could certainly use the help.

What I’m saying is, let’s be honest about what we’re doing. Enough with the bullcrap about being a democratic society trying to bring our democratic ideas to Iraq. Does anybody really believe that Americans believe in that cause? So if I’m forced to be the evil invader, I should be accepting some kind of tribute right now from those we’ve conquered. I should be getting loot and booty from the place we’ve taken over. That’s how this sort of thing works. And if that’s not happening, then what the hell are we doing?

Ah, but of course, there are select people in my country who did, in fact, get to loot Iraq’s resources. The companies who walked away with huge profits from our overseas adventure. So perhaps, we are more talented at being an empire than I thought, and perhaps, I’m getting a painful lesson in what it’s like to be one of the little people in an empire–one of the little people who helps fund our military exploits, but doesn’t get to share in any of the spoils. Not even through lower gas prices. Okay, I get it.

So then, could we at least throw some good decadent parties?

Holy Ronald the Great, patron saint of laissez faire capitalism, help us preserve our conservative faith.  Help us remember what we believe in.

Save us from unrestrained government spending and the temptation to raise taxes.  Sure, you ran deficits and raised taxes, but you did it to defend us from the anti-American enemy.  And anything done to defend us from the anti-American enemy is sacred in our eyes, amen.

May your spirit inspire us to appear patriotic.  For we know that we will fall short of the glory of real patriotism in our deeds, but the virtue of appearing patriotic will redeem us.  Yea, our Democratic opponents will be accused of weakness when they walk the road of diplomacy, but we will be able to trade arms for hostages and still call ourselves true patriots for all eternity.

Rescue us from division and splintering, from multiple factions and an abundance of primary candidates.  Grant us unity, and do not permit us to have any doubts about our platform, nor to listen to deceitful suggestions that we should change it.  With your aid, we will live our lives in your image–with a cheerful indifference to the facts, joking about the things which we do not understand, knowing we will be right no matter what.

Above all else, we are gathered here in your name to worship and praise that most holy of holies, the Almighty Dollar.  May it ever increase and multiply.  Even as we are broke and struggling and crushed by the heel of great corporations, we remain steadfast in our belief that one day, you will bestow upon us the blessings of wealth, just as you have upon your other servants who tell us to vote Republican.  So we say, let the wealthy remain wealthy, today and tomorrow, now and forever, wealth without end.  Amen.

And possibly born into the wrong generation.  (I’m supposed to be either X or Y, don’t remember which letter of the alphabet).  The more I hear about the millennials, the more I see that I agree with their values–which are often portrayed in a negative light.

Millennials don’t think of owning a car as a necessity.  For those raised in our car-centric culture, this seems downright un-American.  I happen to love being a non-driver.  It all depends on what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for.  Living in an urban area where you can take the train–or better yet, walk!–everywhere is a beautiful thing.

Millennials also don’t consider homeownership to be as important as their parents and grandparents did.  Again, this is viewed as a failure of this generation, or as a sign that they are giving up on the American dream.  But maybe the dream is simply changing.  I am a homeowner at the moment, but as time goes on, downsizing to a condo or apartment is looking more and more attractive.  Taking care of a home with a yard is a hassle, and living in the suburbs is a screaming bore.

Millennials believe in a work/life balance, and they’re right about this one as well.  We exist with the delusion that our lives will be better if we sacrifice them on the altar of work.  But what’s the point of making the money if you don’t ever have the time to sit back and enjoy what you’ve earned?

They are also socially liberal and accepting of diversity.  I’ve always thought this was a no-brainer, but unfortunately, recent events in the news show us that it isn’t.  Maybe this new generation will finally get it.  And they tend to be spiritual rather than religious.  Religion adds structure to spiritual practice, which can be useful, but spirituality is where the true connection with God is found. So it seems the young have their priorities straight.

There is only one area in which I will have to part ways with the millennials–they are disillusioned when it comes to politics, and mostly not engaged in political activism or even voting.  I can’t blame them for feeling this way, considering the way our political system works these days.  But I still believe that it’s crucial to be active.  No matter how cynical you may be about it–and I am–it’s best to be alert and involved with your lawmakers, otherwise the day may come when your lawmakers decide to become involved with your life in ways you didn’t expect.

So I guess if nothing else, I’m younger in spirit than I am in body.  Now where’s my latest time-bending invention?  I have to make sure to be born in the correct year this time.