…With apologies to Nicolas Roeg
(We take you to a cheap hotel room in West Berlin. The year is 1987. THE PREACHER, THE ACTOR and THE NEOCON are seated around a small round table, awaiting the arrival of their guest – THE AGENT. They stare at their hands and grind their teeth without speaking. Finally, in response to a gentle tap on the door, the NeoCon rises and welcomes the visitor inside.)
THE AGENT: Thank you so much for meeting me here, today. We have much to discuss.
THE ACTOR: We sure as hell better. I’m being blacklisted by all the Hollywood liberals because I support Reagan.
THE PREACHER: You think you have problems? My contributors have all stopped contributing because they think Reagan fixed everything and we’re all moral, again.
THE NEOCON: Give me a break. I have to deal with Bush. He’s been muttering all this shit about being “kinder and gentler.” I think he’s losing his mind.
THE AGENT: Yes, with President Reagan not as, um, vibrant as he once was…with the Gorbachev government in shambles…we all have to do some thinking about the new world order that figures to emerge once both are gone. And the kinder, gentler America…that’s sounds just a bit girly, don’t you think? I don’t think the people of Russia will find that beast very menacing.
THE ACTOR: Can’t we just shoot Bush?
THE PREACHER: The Bible says using an automatic weapon in the name of Christ is just fine. But shooting a white man might be a sin.
THE ACTOR: What if we just wound him?
THE NEOCON: Shoot him in the face with birdshot!
THE AGENT: I suspect we will need a subtler approach than that. Tell me, what single thing matters more to your people than any other single thing?
THE ACTOR: Guns!
THE PREACHER: God!
THE NEOCON: Money!
THE AGENT: Precisely. I love all those things, too. And if we work together, I can ensure your people will receive all the things they desire. America can once again become a Christian nation, armed to the teeth and wealthier than its ever been. But if we cannot find common ground, we could well be entering a world without terror. Nations only accept bellicose warmongers as their leader if they’re afraid of other bellicose warmongers. I can give you your terrifying adversary. But we need to ensure continued Republican control of the American government after Reagan is dead so that you can make me the same promise. One peace sign could be all it takes to take the legs out from under all of us. And you don’t want to go back to all that peace, do you?
(The Actor, the Preacher and the NeoCon whisper between themselves as he awaits their response.)
THE NEOCON: Okay. Just tell us what we have to do.
THE AGENT: Excellent! Don’t worry – you won’t have to murder your adversaries with radioactive poison the way I do…
THE NEOCON: Shit.
THE AGENT: …because we have discovered a much simpler method to establish a Republican monarchy. We just need to use your Constitution.
THE ACTOR: But the American Constitution is designed to prevent the rise of a dictator.
THE AGENT: Well, that may have been the case a couple hundred years ago. But you really have to keep these things up to date. When your Supreme Court ruled political contributions are protected as free speech, it opened the door for a lot of amendment twisting and reinterpretation. We have done studies and we are confident most of your Bill of Rights can be similarly contorted to obtain the exact opposite effect as what its drafters intended.
THE ACTOR: But you’re suggesting we should subvert the fundamental basis of American Democracy!
THE PREACHER: Shut the fuck up, Moses. My contributions are down 80%. Let’s hear him out.
THE AGENT: Thank you. We have identified two sectors of the American public that are extremely vulnerable to propaganda by tracing their acceptance of your “trickle-down” lie. And, by the way, I want to compliment you on that one. It was a real doozy. The poor people most willing to accept it were also members of the evangelical church and the NRA. Many are the same people. We believe that if these groups were adequately funded by our government we could effectively direct public opinion in your nation pretty much indefinitely. With sufficient contributions funneled through these groups we could also purchase enough Congressmen to guarantee our control over political opinion, as well.
THE NEOCON: You know, that actually might work.
THE PREACHER: I know the churches could control their flocks. The Lord gives us the power.
THE ACTOR: Nothing’s more powerful than a good old shoot ‘em up. The movies will inspire them!
THE AGENT: Then we’re all in agreement?
(The others glance at each other, then nod.)
THE PREACHER: I never knew subverting democracy could be so easy!
THE AGENT: Nothing to it, really. It’s maintaining it that’s the bitch.
THE NEOCON: Sounds like a win-win-win-win. Hard to see a downside – well, except for ninety-nine percent of the public, of course.
THE AGENT: Well, there is one little thing. But you really don’t have to worry about it, now.
(The others stare at him in anticipation of the additional information.)
THE AGENT: For my plan to work the way its supposed to, you have to elect a moron as your President in thirty years. Someone so incompetent his subversion will be viewed as stupidity.
THE NEOCON: That’s it? We just fucking did that.
THE AGENT: Excellent. You are three very impressive men who were recently just as important as impressive. I am about to become very important. When the Soviet Union collapses, the nation’s wealth will inevitably be redistributed. I think we all agree that it serves our purpose best to have it in as few hands as possible. White, male, Christian hands.
THE ACTOR: Cold, dead hands!
THE AGENT: Excuse me?
THE ACTOR: Sorry. I was working on a line.
THE NEOCON: Brando would have delivered it better.
THE AGENT: As I was saying, I can assure you our white, male, Christian mega-wealthy will have the same agenda as yours.
THE PREACHER: You’ll be arresting black people for carrying weed, too?
THE NEOCON: And arming the mentally ill with automatic weapons?
THE ACTOR: And turning your sports leagues into propaganda machines for the military?
THE AGENT: Well, not exactly. But we’ll be having a wonderful time watching you do it. And, of course, rewarding you for your efforts.
(The others glance at each other and nod.)
THE PREACHER: Then I think I can speak for all of us when I say, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! We got money to make!” #RussianInterference