A One Act Play
Poker at Camp David
by LAWRENCE McGUIRE
Saturday Night (01/18/03)
Peacelovin' Jimmy: Former President of the U.S.A.
Willy the Slick: Former President of the U.S.A.
Oily Dick: Current Vice-President of the U.S.A.
Georgie Porgie: Current President of the U.S.A.
Georgie Porgie is watching TV alone at Camp David, eating pretzels (carefully), with a worried look on his face.
Oily Dick enters the room.
Georgie Porgie: "Look at the TV, Oily. See, I told you, in Washington, in San Francisco. And they're all saying mean things about me. Impeachment, they're even talking about impeachment!"
Oily Dick: "How many?"
Georgie Porgie: "CNN says tens of thousands."
Oily Dick : "Ah, that's rich. 'Tens of thousands'. Oh ho ho. Any fool knows that when you fill the Mall you get a hundred grand minimum. What are the real figures?"
Georgie Porgie: "I don't understand Oily"
Oily Dick: "The real figures Georgie. The REAL figures. Get on the horn and get the real figures."
Georgie Porgie: "But CNN says"
Oily Dick: "CNN says what we want them to say, and then they say 'Thanks'. How many times did your Dad and I tell you not to rot your mind with too much television! [aside] Oh, it's too late anyway. [To Georgie:] I'll call, you get the cards ready, we've got guests tonight." [Picks up the telephone] "Get me the Agency, doublequick..Yeah, it's the President you numbskullOf course I don't sound like Georgie Porgie, this is Oily Dick. How many in Washington? 468,613. Impressive. And in San Francisco? 227, 787. Hmm, any other big ones? 26,292 in Portland? Ok send me all the figures." [Hangs Up and immediately a fax machine prints out a few pages of data. He hands the sheets to Georgie Porgie]
Georgie Porgie, reading slowly: "468,613? Wow, that seems like a lot."
Oily Dick: "That IS a lot Georgie. And although we've got all their photographs from closed circuit TV, I'm afraid it's a"
Georgie Porgie: "Not a situation!"
Oily Dick: "Yep, a situation. I was worried about this. That's why I invited some family friends over tonight. A little council before the Poker match."
Enter Stage Right, Willy the Slick and Peacelovin' Jimmy
Oily Dick: "Willy. Jimmy. Have a seat boys. Did you hear?"
Willy the Slick: "Saw it on C-Span. Isn't Jessica something? Oh, I'd love to"
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "Now slow down Willy, you keep your pants on."
Oily Dick: "Sit down boys and have a drink. I'm telling Georgie here, I think we have a situation on our hands."
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "A situation? That bad, huh?"
Oily Dick: "That's why I invited you gents here tonight. Thanks for coming in the back door.
Willy the Slick: "How many times did they say ENRON today, Oily?"
Oily Dick, reading printout: "In the three major demonstrations today speakers uttered the word ENRON a total of 5 times."
Willy the Slick: "And how many times did they say the word HALLIBURTON?"
Oily Dick: "Not a single time."
Willy the Slick: "And how many times did they say the word IRAQ?"
Oily Dick, reading printout: "Uh, 97,568 times".
Willy the Slick: "So what are you worried about?"
Oily Dick: "You've got a point there Willy."
Georgie Porgie: "Well, when will they stop? I hate those faces with my puppets on them. And I want a war. I want a big war and a big victory. Daddy said if I beat Gore I would get a big war and a big victory and now those, those TERRORISTS on the street, are trying to stop me. And we have a SITUATION! What did I do to deserve this?'
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "Easy Georgie. Easy. Let's look on the bright side. I saw some other positive things at the protest."
Georgie Porgie: "Such as"
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "All that God talk. You hear how many speakers invoked the name of God? They talked about their Christian brothers and sisters, their Muslim brothers and sisters, their Jewish brothers and sisters, but they didn't say a word about agnostics or atheists."
Georgie Porgie: "And that's good?"
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "You bet it is Georgie Porgie. The more they use God's name, the more it will resonate when YOU use God's name! Best form of mind control ever invented. And the agnostics and atheists will keep their mouth shut, and keep out of sight; they're the ones to really watch, because they ask dangerous questions about how the mind works. All those orating preachers are doing your work for you Georgie Porgie. You keep on going to church, and when the going gets tough just use the God stuff, your opponents have prepared the field for you to harvest. Human rights and God, those are words that will grease anybody's path to a Nobel Peace Prize. After all, they forgot what I did with El Salvador, Nicaragua, Indonesia, and Afghanistan."
Willy the Slick: "And all that patriotic talk. 'Patriots against war'. That works for you in the long run too, Georgie Porgie. Works for all of us. We've got even our most bitter opponents sharing the basic assumptions that will keep us in power. The assumption that the STATE is a THING you can be proud of. Worshipping an idea created by the human mind. That's the second best form of mind control ever invented. As long as they worship the STATE we keep styling along.
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "So things aren't so bad after all. I mean, you didn't see any of us Democrats speaking, did you?"
Georgie Porgie: "I saw a couple. That awful woman from Georgia who suggested that I knew about a terrorist threat before September 11th."
Oily Dick: "But you did know about a terrorist threat before September 11th. Remember that briefing at your ranch in August, 2001?"
Georgie Porgie: "I know, but she didn't have to mention it in public, and ask so many questions about it.'
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "Well, she wasn't re-elected anyway. But did you see any Democratic party leadership out there speaking? No, of course not. Did you hear anyone asking where the opposition party leaders were? No. People now take it for granted that in our democracy the opposition party always supports war just as much as the party in power. That's a huge victory for us. Nobody expects the opposition party to oppose anything that matters."
Willy the Slick: "And how many people questioned the right of the U.S. to decide on which countries get to acquire nukes, and which must be prevented from acquiring nukes? The basic assumptions Georgie, that's what we have to worry about."
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "Exactly. Did anyone mention that Israel has over 200 nuclear weapons?"
Oily Dick, looking at printout: "It says here that only a few signs pointed out the obvious."
Willy the Slick: "You see, even if you don't get your war Georgie, everything is still going to be fine. And you'll probably get your war victory anyway. Oily, you remember 1991. Thousands marching in San Francisco, Chicago, New York but then the bombing starts and poof, it all disappeared. People went back to their television screens, and enjoyed the big show. They loved it! Highest ratings a war has ever gotten. Beat out the Cosby show every week for two months."
Georgie Porgie: "So we don't have a situation?"
Oily Dick: "Oh yes, we have a situation. But we don't know yet the extent of the situation.'
Willy the Slick: "First step is bomb them a little, pour on the juice about our American heroes risking their lives, and see how many of the liberals skedaddle off the street and into the easy chair. I jumped ten points in the ratings when I bombed that pharmaceutical factory in Sudan."
Oily Dick: "My ideas exactly, Willie. Once the bombs start falling on the civilians, I mean the enemy, Americans will start falling in line. Go for the quick victory. Bomb them to smithereens as quickly as possible. Show lots of film footage about high-tech weapons."
Georgie Porgie: "And if the demonstrations don't stop? What if they have more and bigger demonstrations? More and bigger puppets ridiculing me?"
Peacelovin' Jimmy: "Become a peacemaker. They'll love you for it. You'll probably get the Big Prize just like me and Henry."
Georgie Porgie: "But that will mean we lost"
Willy the Slick: "Lost! You eejit! We've turned a prosperous country into a train wreck. We've maintained the strongest economic and trade embargo on a country ever in world history. For ten years we've bombed them at will, we control their airspace, yet listen to all those folks in the anti-war movement bragging that this is the biggest pre-war anti-war movement ever! They didn't even notice the war we've been waging for the last twelve years. Think about that for a victory. We've killed over 1,000,000 Iraqis without having to deal with any major dissent. They pat themselves on the back now for anti-war demonstrations! You know what that means Georgie?"
Georgie Porgie: "Nope."
Willy the Slick: "That means the citizens in this country have internalized the new form of war. They don't even see it as war. We've got a huge new military base in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel. Any of those protestors talk about that? Any of them even mention Kosovo? We've got military bases in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, all over the world. That's normal now for ALL U.S. citizens. You'll never see 100,000 people protesting about that. The hundred or more U.S. overseas military bases have become as normal to Americans as pumping their own gas."
Georgie Porgie: "So, if worse comes to worse we declare peace and continue the sanctions?"
Oily Dick: "Sure, but only if we can't have our war. And why not? Keep the oil in the ground. Keeps the price high anyway. We'll get it all in a few more years. Meanwhile we improve and expand our military bases. Keep the pressure on. And every country in the world gets the message: oppose us and you get war, or sanctions: heads we win, tails you lose. We go forward ten yards, retreat one, net gain of nine yards. That, Georgie Porgie, is basic winning football. Now let's shut up about politics and play some poker."
Lawrence McGuire is the author of The Great American Wagon Road. He lives in France. He can be reached at: blmcguirehotmail.com