The Common Good
December 1994-January 1995

It's Morning in America. Again.

by Ed Spivey Jr. | December 1994-January 1995

A new day has dawned in our country. Unfortunately, that day is some time in the 1950s.

Anew day has dawned in our country. Unfortunately, that day is some time in the 1950s. The Republicans are back and have absolute control of the U.S. Congress, which is really not a problem unless you happen to be poor, uneducated, unemployed, a person of color, unin-

sured, undocumented, underpaid, or a woman. Did I leave anybody out? Oh yeah: white guys in suits. If you're one of those, then this is your lucky day. Celebrate, my friend! Do something wild and wacky. Come on, walk on the wild side with me and loosen that tie! Your time has come. Robert Dole is majority leader of the Senate and the Gingrich has stolen Christmas (not to mention the House).

In giddy celebration of its historic takeover of our government, the Republican Party even came out with a nifty new jingle:

Happy days are here again.
You can buy an unregistered handgun again.
You can hit on the gals in the office again.
You can speculate on questionable real estate investments again.
You can spend billions on unnecessary military hardware again.
You can ignore grievous social injustices again.
You can...

You get the idea.

The GOP heard the American people crying out for a change of leadership and they responded with decisiveness: Jesse Helms, Bob Packwood, and Al D'Amato are now chairs of the most powerful legislative committees in Washington. And you can be sure they'll take good care of our nation's finances, urban affairs, and foreign relations. Heh, what's the worst that could happen?

The GOP's "Contract With Ameri-ca" will go into effect immediately, providing wealth and prosperity for those who deserve it the most: the wealthy and the prosperous.

And you can happily say goodbye to all those wasteful government programs the Democrats have supported: Nutrition programs for poor children? Hah! Get real. Job programs for ex-offenders? Whoa, what planet are you from? A Clean Water Act? Look, the water tastes fine to us, so why bother?

And if that wasn't enough to make you happier 'n a middle manager listening to an off-color ethnic joke, then consider this: Our nation could be the first in the world to elect an admittedly rabid sociopath to the presidency: Good old Salivatin' Phil Gramm. ("Mr. President, the press is waiting to see you, sir. Do you mind walking upright until they leave?")

And Speaking of BiMonthly...

The editor says it pretty succinctly on page 6 (see: "The Reasons Behind Our December-January-February-March-April-'n-Parts-of-May Issue") when he explains some of the ways we're trying to trim costs. We're also cutting way back on our on-site organizing of oppressed casino workers in the Bahamas ("We've got to be there for them!") and our monthly vacations (er, meetings ) in the Alps.

Unfortunately, all this belt-tightening could have been avoided had the so-called "financial experts" of this place listened to my ideas for raising money. I've got two words: pew ads.

That's right, pew ads. Lots and lots of pew ads.

I see them in all the other major Christian magazines, such as Christianity Today, Charisma, Republican Spirituality , and Male Headship Monthly. And they look nice, too, what with the stylishly dressed woman gesturing expansively over rows and rows of empty pews. If that's not a vision of the true church, I don't know what is.

Yep. Two little words with big potential. Pew ads.

Others in Need of Therapy

A daring new program in California is offering free psychological counseling in exchange guns.

I certainly like the idea of making counseling services more widely available, particularly for those who cannot afford this kind of care. And I'm sure most therapists would welcome appointments with armed clients.

But I have a couple of questions about this program. For example, what happens when your counseling session is over, but you still have more to talk about? Do you have to bring in another gun? Do you get more time for a bigger gun? And what will these counselors do with the guns? How will our society be affected by a growing number of heavily armed psychotherapists walking around just looking for trouble? Am I the only person worried about this? Should I get counseling? But I can't afford the gun to pay for it. Ihave insurance...I just don't have a gun.

Darnit. I hate the health care system in this country.

And in case you have too much time on your hands:

Our 180-page economics resource -Who Is My Neighbor? Economics As If Values Matter-has become so popular with churches and study groups that plans are under way for follow-up publications. Soon to be released are:

Who Is My Neighbor, And Can I Borrow His Lawnmower?-a study guide for people committed to environmental and fiscal responsibility by occasionally annoying the folks next door. Sample chapter title: "If they didn't want me to borrow it, they shouldn't have bought it in the first place."

Wu Is My Neighbor? No Wonder His Kids Are Smarter Than Mine . In this study guide, Harvard's best 18th-century minds tackle the controversial subject of race, IQ, and the shameless parroting of antiquated pseudoscience. Also included in this timely package: using leeches to cure headaches and what to do when you find out your best friend is a witch.

Where Is My Neighbor? I Need To Show Him What His Dog Did To My Vegetable Garden-a thought-provoking study on building electric fences for peace.

Ed Spivey Jr. is art director for Sojourners.

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