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

Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Mad Hatter, Rabbit Holes, And ‘Off With His Head’ – Alice In Wonderland On The Floor Of The House

'Here', cried Alice, quite forgetting in the flurry of the moment how large she had grown in the last few minutes, and she jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury box with the edge of her skirt, upsetting all the jurymen onto the heads of the crowd below, and there they lay sprawling about, remind her very much of a globe of goldfish she had accidentally upset the week before.  

’Oh, I beg your pardon!’ she exclaimed in a tone of great dismay, and began picking them up again as quickly as she could, for the accident of the goldfish kept running in her head, and she had a vague sort of idea that they must be collected at once and put back into the jury-box, or they would die.

’The trial cannot proceed,’ said the King in a very grave voice, ‘until all the jurymen are back in their proper places— all,’ he repeated with great emphasis, looking hard at Alice as he said so.

Alice looked at the jury-box, and saw that, in her haste, she had put the Lizard in head downwards, and the poor little thing was waving its tail about in a melancholy way, being quite unable to move. She soon got it out again, and put it right; ‘not that it signifies much,’ she said to herself; ‘I should think it would be quite as much use in the trial one way up as the other.’

As soon as the jury had a little recovered from the shock of being upset, and their slates and pencils had been found and handed back to them, they set to work very diligently to write out a history of the accident, all except the Lizard, who seemed too much overcome to do anything but sit with its mouth open, gazing up into the roof of the court.

Image result for images alice in wonderland alice looking down the rabbit hole

It is no surprise that outside the Beltway most people look at official Washington and feel that they have gone down the rabbit hole.  Congress is just as upside down as the jury in Wonderland, and Congressmen all simply sit with their mouths open, gazing up at the rotunda of the Great Hall, happy only to have been set right by some powers that be after having been summarily upended and stuffed.  

“Oh, my” said one now upright but befuddled member of the House, “Where have I been?”

“Upside down”, shouted a representative from Ohio, “way down, you fool”; at which dishonorable comment the befuddled representative from neighboring Kentucky banged his desk, stood up, and demanded recognition from the Speaker. “I demand to be heard”, he said; but the Speaker had other business on his mind, something to do with the filibuster and ignored the squabble to turn to the member from the Bronx who had gotten her dander up about voting rights and the ‘slavery’ of Georgia and its Jim Crow governor. 

“We must make America free again”, she shouted. “Free from Republican dilettantism.  Free from neo-colonialist mercantilism.  Free from the….” and here the member delivered one of her most memorable speeches, a confabulation of weird history, rants about brown and black people and their ‘rusted chains’, innuendoes about transsexual hierarchies, and a final bombastic tirade against ‘The Evil One’, the Corrupter, The Antichrist’.

“Sit down”, came a gravelly voice from the back of chamber, “and shut up”.

The Speaker was outraged.  The decorum of the House had been shattered.  “Take that back!”, he shouted; but the damage had been done, the House was in an uproar, both sides yelling across the aisle, howling ‘injustice’, ‘shameful’, and ‘about time’.  The member from the Bronx remained standing, looking imperious and unruffled at the cameras, smiling in defiance, and unperturbed.  She waited for the pounding of the Speaker’s gavel to stop, waited for calm to be restored, and continued. 

The hedgehog was engaged in a fight with another hedgehog, which seemed to Alice an excellent opportunity for croqueting one of them with the other: the only difficulty was, that her flamingo was gone across to the other side of the garden, where Alice could see it trying in a helpless sort of way to fly up into a tree. By the time she had caught the flamingo and brought it back, the fight was over, and both the hedgehogs were out of sight: ‘but it doesn’t matter much,’ thought Alice, ‘as all the arches are gone from this side of the ground.’ So she tucked it away under her arm, that it might not escape again, and went back for a little more conversation with her friend.

Image result for images hedgehog

The member from the Bronx began quietly, so quietly in fact that her voice was barely heard.  “We are gathered together”, she whispered, stopping herself before reciting the entire Thanksgiving hymn of her youth, a long forgotten memory from her First Communion, beatific years; before her conversion to secularism; and before her rise to firebrand status on the Left. 

 “We are gathered here…”; and again she stopped before mouthing another terrible nostrum about reasoning, conciliation, and moderation.  We are after all not here to agree but to disagree; and the sooner the troglodytes on the Right realize that they are in a righteous battle which they are foreordained to lose the better.  “

In fact we are not gathered together at all. We are here to save America from those who want to destroy it, defile our sacred institutions, besmirch our glorious image – the image of good faith, aspiration, and conglomeration”

Image result for little puerto rican girl first communion

This last word escaped before she could stop herself.  She meant diversity and collaboration but it came out wrong, something out of a capitalist’s playbook, and she quickly retraced her steps. “Our diverse, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-everything nation is being assaulted by piggish, narrowminded, neo-colonial white supremacists.

There was rumble across the aisle and a member held up a crudely-written sign which said, “This Little Piggy Went To Market” a recondite crypto code for the Trump loyalists with insinuations about progressive pigs in a trough give-away spending; and on the back, “I’ll Blow Your House Down”, a less thinly-veiled reference to the coming conservative victories in 2022 which would revert the House to Republican control.

Image result for images three little pigs 40s illustrations

“No signs in the chamber”, yelled the Speaker as the floor erupted once again, leaving the Congresswoman from the Bronx to retort.  Again she waited until the commotion died down and attention turned once again to her.  This time she raised her fist in a power salute, bowed her head, and took a knee on the chamber floor. 

Howls of delight and protest echoed across the chamber.  Enough decorum, patience, and respectful debate. No more. She had obliterated the faux-decency of the legislative branch, and unequivocally stood for the people.

The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. ‘Off with his head!’ she said, without even looking round. ’I’ll fetch the executioner myself,’ said the King eagerly, and he hurried off. Alice thought she might as well go back, and see how the game was going on, as she heard the Queen’s voice in the distance, screaming with passion. She had already heard her sentence three of the players to be executed for having missed their turns, and she did not like the look of things at all, as the game was in such confusion that she never knew whether it was her turn or not. So she went in search of her hedgehog.

“It feels good to be a Queen”, the member from the Bronx thought to herself, and ‘Off with their heads’ is the bottom line when dealing with these ignoramuses of the Trump underground and their Congressional lackeys.  She looked over the wild crowd on the other side of the aisle and pictured each one of them decapitated in turn under the blade of her guillotine, the Mme. Lafarge of the Progressive Revolution, Joan of Fucking Arc .

Image result for images guillotine french revolution

And so it went.  The member from the Bronx was making headlines, and C-Span began publicizing her likely appearances on social media. Although C-Span is a non-profit organization, its directors are not insensitive to ratings, and Little Miss Know It All from the Bronx was a real audience getter.

Donald Trump knew all about vaudeville long before he became President and played to the crowd like no other Chief Executive before him.  As much as he considered the member from the Bronx as a piece of inconsequential fluff with a big mouth, he appreciated her sound and light show.  Turning the floor of the House into the three-ring circus that he always knew it could be was a source of delight.

  “I should have been a Congressman”, he said.  “A lot more fun there”, and so he followed Little Miss Know It All like one of her groupies, never missing an episode on C-Span, a stump speech, and appearance here and there with Al Sharpton, a side show oddity or Clarabelle the Clown depending on his mood, but always ready to be on her side and the side of any man or woman of color.

“Who ever said Washington was a dull place”, said Hiram Fletcher, interviewed by MSNBC on the seat of his tractor on an Iowa farm.  “Dad burn it”, it ain’t” and off he went to plow another furrow.

Little Miss Know It All regained her seat in the mid-term elections – she was the darling of her district, solidly multicultural, progressive, and poor – but she lost her voice when the elections went decisively Republican  Enough was enough said the farmer, Joe the Plumber, Harry Hinges, and Betty Crocker.  ‘Throw the bums out”, and they did, handily.

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