"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Friday, December 17, 2021

Ring Around The Rosie, A Pocket Full Of Posies–Joe Biden And Nursery Rhymes In The Oval Office

Joe Biden loved nursery rhymes when he was a boy. His mother sat by his bed in a rocking chair and in her soft, gentle voice read to him of flowered gardens, knights and maidens, and foreign lands.

UP into the cherry tree Who should climb but little me? I held the trunk with both my hands And looked abroad on foreign lands. I saw the next door garden lie, Adorned with flowers before my eye, And many pleasant places more That I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river pass And be the sky’s blue looking-glass; The dusty roads go up and down With people tramping into town.

If I could find a higher tree Further and further I should see, To where the grown up river slips Into the sea among the ships, To where the roads on either hand Lead onward into fairy land, Where all the children dine at five, And all the playthings come alive

“Tell me another, Mother”, young Joe said as his mother leafed through the well-worn A Child’s Garden of Verses, stopping for the ones that she knew little Joe loved, Bed in Summer, Windy Nights and especially The Land of Counterpane

WHEN I was sick and lay a-bed, I had two pillows at my head, And all my toys beside me lay To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so I watched my leaden soldiers go, With different uniforms and drills, Among the bed-clothes through the hills; And sometimes sent my ships in fleets All up and down among the sheets; Or brought my trees and houses out, And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still That sits upon the pillow-hill, And sees before him, dale and plain, The pleasant land of counterpane.

Image result for images original version a child's garden of verses

Joe was a sensitive boy, a dreamy boy, a boy with imagination and fancy, and his mother loved him very much.  As he got older, and too old for nursery rhymes, he still asked his mother to sit by him and read to him until he went to sleep.  Only then could he drift off into fairyland and to imaginary forests, glens, and meadows. 

By the age of eight, Mrs. Biden began to worry.  Joe’s interests had taken no maturing turn.  He was always all smiles and eagerness to please, dutifully doing the dishes and going to school but he seemed reluctant to go outside and play, and instead read simply books about castles and queens.  His father was even more worried and tried to interest Joe in football, but the boy demurred, and said he would rather not. 

 “It’s your fault, Catherine”, said Joe Senior.  “You’re turning him into a sissy”; but she protested, defending the boy as simply a child with a more embellished imagination than others.  “Just you wait and see, Joseph”, she said.  “He will turn out better than you think”.

Of course she would never have imagined that one day he would be President of the United States, and she was long in her grave by the time he took office; but she would be happy, Joe Jr. thought as he ruffled through briefing papers on Iran, North Korea, and Russia and wishing he could wave a magic wand and make them into kinder and gentler places.  

In fact in trying times and in rare quiet moments in the Oval Office, he read from A Child’s Garden of Verses, the same volume read to him as a child, smelling faintly of his mother’s perfume, the bits of confetti and feathers she had put to mark his favorite stories still there, the binding now completely broken but the pages untorn and the pictures still clear and bright.

“I’m the leader of the free world”, he said out loud as he read Marching Song

BRING the comb and play upon it!

Marching, here we come!

Willie cocks his highland bonnet, Johnnie beats the drum.

Mary Jane commands the party, Peter leads the rear; Feet in time, alert and hearty, Each a Grenadier!

All in the most martial manner Marching double-quick; While the napkin like a banner Waves upon the stick!

Here’s enough of fame and pillage, Great commander Jane! Now that we’ve been around the village, Let’s go home again.

One morning his Vice President, overeager and brimming with good news, burst in on him while he was reading.  She thought it was the Bible, inappropriate for a Catholic, perhaps, but she had been brought up in a family which read from the Bible every night after which her father explained the stories of Jesus and his disciples.

 “Each evangelist” he said, “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, tell the same story in different ways, and only by reading the whole gospel can you appreciate the miraculous good news of Our Lord and Savior”.  So despite her gradual but final weaning from the church and immersion in secular politics, Kamala still had an affection for the Book and those who read it.  She was delighted that her President might himself be weaned from Catholic cant and leave his nagging confessional guilt behind as he trod into radical progressivism.  “Can you imagine”, she said to her confidants, “that that gnarly old Pope and his Vatican sycophants actually called Joe out for his stance on abortion?”

Image result for image jesus preaching to his disciples

In any case she did not realize that the President was not reading the Bible but A Child’s Garden of Verses, and had she understood he would have had a lot of explaining to do.  A president had no time for Louis Lamour let alone bedtime nursery stories for children.

As Joe became more comfortable with himself and the office, he read the Stevenson nursery rhymes more and more, was less careful when he did so, and was observed – caught – a number of times. By this time, however, the President had become less and less concerned with what other thought and kept his own counsel and agenda.  In fact, the nursery book became not only a calming, settling influence, but an inspirational one for his work.  There was wisdom in Stevenson’s poetry, clear messages about right behavior.

For example, he and the Vice President had been in conversation about the Administration’s policy of ‘diversity and inclusivity’, and how the privileged position of the American white man and the European civilization from which he was descended should be derogated and dismissed.  People of color, Native Americans, and immigrants should be championed as the true descendants of history. 

While he had always listened attentively to the Vice President, especially on matters of race, gender, and ethnicity, this time he wasn’t so sure, nor had been Stevenson

LITTLE Indian, Sioux or Crow, Little frosty Eskimo, Little Turk or Japanee, O! don’t you wish that you were me?

You have seen the scarlet trees And the lions over seas; You have eaten ostrich eggs, And turned the turtles off their legs.

Such a life is very fine, But it’s not so nice as mine: You must often, as you trod, Have wearied not to be abroad.

You have curious things to eat, I am fed on proper meat; You must dwell beyond the foam, But I am safe and live at home.

Little Indian, Sioux or Crow, Little frosty Eskimo, Little Turk or Japanee, O! don’t you wish that you were me?

There was sense in this verse, he thought, a lot of sense.  For all the Vice President’s crowing about multi-cultural this and multi-ethnic that, didn't everyone in the world really want to be just like him? When you stopped to think about it, he and every white European male was the inheritor of high culture, intellect, empire, and glory.  Kamala had taken this inclusivity thing too far.  “I’ll have to knock her down a few pegs”, he thought.

Image result for images henry viii

Now that the cat was out of the bag – the President was not reading the Bible, the briefing papers prepared by the Pentagon, the academic treatise by the University Black Caucus, The Vilifying, Objectifying White Man, or the latest screed about climate change and the coming environmental Armageddon but A Child’s Garden of Verses – his inner circle became concerned.  It was one thing to make gaffes, go off-message, meander, and tell nostalgic anecdotes about Delaware, it was another thing altogether to live in Never-Never Land.

“Maybe this is a good thing”, said one of the President’s closest advisers. “It will keep him occupied”.

More and more Joe’s advisors were taking the reins from the President; and at first a trot, but now a gallop they were on their way to power and there was no way that they would concede this publicly and lose what had become their White House.  They felt sorry for the old man - after all it was at his behest that they were even in the White House – but circumstances change, and one must always take advantage of new opportunities, right?

It was great to be around the President in these days.  It seemed as though all the cares of office were behind him, and he had only a sweet optimism about things.   He was clearly regressing into the world of his childhood, his mother, and A Child’s Garden of Verses, but what was the problem?  His advisors were more than competent enough to sail the ship of state, the Vice President was feeling her oats and stepped out more and more in public, and the pronouncements from the White House much more eloquently presented the case for progressive reform.

Last but not least, not only had the country gotten rid of the Devil Incarnate, the horned beast Donald Trump, but inherited a kindly old codger who means well and whose smiling, doe-eyed persona – if managed well by his inner circle – is reassuring and infinitely calming.

Of course Washington being what it is, leaks and all, word got out about A Child’s Garden of Verses, and tabloid headlines shouted BIDEN’S NURSERY RHYME PRESIDENCY!!

Be that as it may – nothing in politics is surprising – the Biden presidency managed to stay upright, but had taken a mortal blow.  It was one thing to allege Alzheimer’s, but another altogether to have proof of a man drifting in the lily pads.

Joe et al will certainly survive another three years; and then Beelzebub will be back, always the anti-Biden, but now in his nursery rhyme days never more so.  What a great country!!

Image result for images donald trump

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