Shared Sacrifice & Nausea

It’s moments before the President’s scheduled news conference; the world is in peril, the economy teeters on the edge of collapse and a people in search of leadership drift toward the nearest CSP. Thank goodness for the Ministry of Communication who only months before, in responds to The Committee on Media Harmony’s issuance of Social-Justice Mandate – SJM # 319, installed Community Sooth-Ports (CSP) in an effort to reach the growing number of state-sponsored ascension-zones(CZ). CZ’s are being developed through Federal block-grants administered by the Environmental Thought-Transparency Forum and we are told that the public appreciates their utility.

“We need a hook, a solid sinker! We need to give the President a thought provoking anesthetic-in-words sufficient to ease the public’s anxiety; an elixir of pleasing and aromatic refinement, robust in purpose, visionary!” commands Xavier the Minister of Musings who the President affectionately refers to as “My savior Xavier.” He’s been credited with hundreds of nuances many having penetrated the public forum and become integral to the civic lexicon of socially conscious poli-babble. Among the most celebrated being:

“Let’s win the future of tomorrow.”

“The Ignorance of Moral Cause Symposium”

“Re-Education: A Fresh Look at Truth.”

“Relativism: The Rebirth of Enlightened Justice”

“Extinct Species Fine”

“Wealth – 6 Letters of Injustice.”

“Equitable Enviro-Banking & Monetary Policy Forum”

“Eco-Friendly; Grounding the Future.”

“Global Equality Forum”

“A New History from the Ashes of the Past.”

“Embrace your inner Zen.”

“The Tyranny of Productive Capitalism”

“Enduring Housing Fund”

“Thought-Free Zones”

“Co-Dependent Entitlement Act”

“NeuterAll: The first word in gender-free bias.”

“We need something powerfully meaningless, a phrased transcending causal forces after all we mustn’t hi-lite any failures in fact we should be conscious that, well, you know we’ve all had to sacrifice a bit now and then,” Xavier opines. “The governments is doing all it can and with the demands of office who can really blame them. We simply can’t allow the burden of ignorance and negligence to be used to measure their performance! If we were to permit such an affront, who among us would survive so rigorous a standard? Would we not all share the same con..se…. qu…..ence?” He pauses to lingers in thought for a moment tormented and yet teased with  curiosity then suddenly he puffs in sheer delight, “I’ve NAILED IT: Shared Sacrifice! Brilliant!”

With rousing applause the room effervesces with near apoplectic fervor accented with thunderous and uniform chanting “he’s done it, he’s done it, he’s done it AGAIN!” and then as if orchestrating a Pentecostal revival meeting Xavier extends his arms above his head, beads of sweet accumulating on his brow and as his body writhes with excitement the entire staff falls hypnotically silent. With all eyes focuses on the Saviors lips the favored of his five personal assistants interrupts the silence; “But Sir, what exactly does it mean?” His eyes turn abruptly toward the familiar voice, he smartly composes himself with a rotation of his shoulders, resetting the positioning of his chin and tie and with a clearing of his throat he speaks with his customary rhythmic routine:

“This is the beauty of the world we’ve created my child; we are able to make it mean precisely whatever we want even if it is to mean absolutely nothing at all. The mystery of what we do here is no mystery but merely the illusion of creating the appearance of the mysterious so as to appear to be worthy of acclaim for an accomplishment all the while avoiding having to define what it is that has been accomplished! We camouflage culpability with the appearance of righteous indignation while redirecting the public’s contempt toward a villain of our own making. Let me explain it this way: You see the key is to excise truth, duty and responsibility from the equation, the interplay between the perception of what it is we sell to the public and what it is that the public perceives to be what it is they have been sold. The art of governance is to avoid being tethered to the archetypical and antiquated notion of duty and accountability to the merits of the same. The true and enlightened ambition of governance lies in the ability of the process to deliver only the illusion of Government so as to busy the People with yet another illusion all of which is designed to reform their belief in such a way as to have them willingly accept that what they have received is equal to what they have been told is their entitled right. There is a benign sort of beauty in this if you think about it, a delightful symmetry as it were. You see, we can actually teach people to believe they’re getting something with no price or cost associated with it! It is all so simply marvelous when one considers the social benefit. To be able to craft an illusion and by shear repetition orientate people to believing, willingly believing mind you, a complete lie. Indeed, you can tell them whatever you want and you can persist indefinitely so long as you never tell them what it is you are actually doing or saying!”

The room continues its silent hypnosis however their eyes now turn toward Xavier’s assistant who’s face is now sullen and pale drawn to an internal battle of conscience. Xavier observes her intimate expression and he’s quite familiar with the very same battle as it is one he’s suspended long ago. In an attempt to disrupt this personal query and keep it from migrating throughout the room he must move quickly; “Come now my dear and lift your face from the dreary and malignant battle of conscientiousness. Consider your fellow brood and permit their embrace to ease your pain. The community of mankind will share your burden of longing and if you will indulge yourself with their company you will find a remarkable companionship of enduring compassion for which you are entitled. They are your friends and together you will find healing and protection from Them who are out There (as he points to some unknown location) and it is They who are the cause of your heart and minds dissonant theme. Together, in the company of our new mantra, our new message of Shared Sacrifice we will ease our collective anxiety with the elixir of a meaningless message that is as faithful as it is refreshing in its numbing verse. Truly my child as the President and every Politician is aware, there is much comfort in the value of efficiently applied misdirection!”

The President smiles as the image scrolls before him; his first view of the speech which only moments before electronically transmitted to the oval office and he is most pleased. “Once again, my savior Xavier has crafted an artful compromise. The perfect marriage of theater and hope packaged in a perfectly balances misuse of fact and nuance, truth and interpretation, form and trite redundancy. Shared Sacrifice, sweet Nausea! Xavier I do believe you’ve eclipsed even President Roosevelt’s ‘…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” pitch and you’ve done it in a scant two words. Powerful, simply powerful indeed! I’ll even go so far as to say it is remarkable, it can mean damn near anything!”

Across the Nation millions of people gather around their local CSP’s listening to the President weekly national address:

“…and so my fellow Americans, as we collectively work toward overcoming the stain upon our nations soul and as we emerge from flawed generational adherence to the tribal rituals espoused by this nation’s founding fathers we have shown how we can win the future from the ashes of the past, through reeducation we gain a fresh look at truth and if we commit to the ideals of Shared Sacrifice, we can reclaim new victories by modifying what we alone define as failure….”

Outside the White House a hand-picked assembly stands in the shadow of the Washington Monument listening to the Presidents broadcast; a few are clearly agitated by the deliberate and predictable cadence they’ve heard on far too many occasions and now seems only to compete with the drone of the CSP digital voice announcing the 10:00Am and 6:30Pm call-to-meal announcement. One individual standing at the rear of the crowd looks to the ground as he shakes his head from side-to-side in silent protest and believing none pay him mind, he mumbles: “His share, our sacrifice…this guy must think we’re all complete idiots.” In one fluid movement he lifts his head and turns to walk away when his eyes lock instantly with the person standing in front of him. Xavier’s Assistant looks at the man and say, “Yes, he does and there’s an entire process in place to see to it that you remain so.” She turns and points to the crowd, “Look at them standing there, hundreds perhaps even thousands listening to this nonsense week in and week out. They (as she points to the executive residence) are able to weave their web simply because the people have learned to expect nothing more and that’s a standard quite easy to meet.”

The camera lights dim and the President walks to his private office for a few moments of shared sacrifice with his trusted Minister, Xavier. “Well, my savior Xavier, share your thoughts with me. How do you keep farming these remarkable scripts week after week?” Xavier suspends in thought for a moment then turns to the president and says:

“It actually quite easy to compose these scripts for you Mr. President particularly when one has no duty to rely on the truth of what you say. As long as they keep listening we’ll continue creating something for you to say that keeps the people from discovering what it is that they should know!”

In the closing moments of their time together a momentary conversational hiatus casts its stillness about the room. The single source of light, a solitary desk lamp, positioned on the corner of the President’s desk seems a rather appropriate compliment to the dour mood of the moment as both men move toward the window from which they can view the Washington Monument in the distance. Xavier looks to the President and asks, “Sir, what exactly does that Monument stand for?” The President, somewhat startle by his Saviors query composes himself and blithely replies, “…oh come now Xavier, you should know the answer to that question! Why it’s whatever we say it stands for even if it stands for absolutely nothing at all.”

“That’s exactly it,” replied Don Quixote, “that’s just how beautifully I’ve worked it all out – because for a knight errant to go crazy for good reason, how much is that worth? My idea is to become a lunatic for no good reason at all.”

Don Miguel de Cervantes, 1605

Curtis C. Greco, Founder

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