Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Parable #7: The Boy Who Cried Racist
Some babies are born a bit blue, some run a bit red. But as the doctor lifted this infant by its legs and raised it to the morning light, its mother could see this child was a deep, lovely shade of... violet!
Some would even say ultraviolet, so startling was the boy's skin.
When the doctor spanked the child, another attribute was revealed-- a stentorian set of lungs:
"Waaaaahhhh!!", it yelled. "WAAAAAAAAH"!!
As the boy grew, both his color and his lung power became more vivid. His mother learned to give the child anything he wanted, from the smallest trifle to lavish parties, otherwise he would stamp his little purple feet and scream:
"AHHHHHH!!! I WANT I WANT I WANT!!!!! GIVE ME!!!"
This is how the child got his name: More.
More grew to be a strapping young man. Well fed, of course, and tall for his age. He would strut up and down the street admiring himself in the plate glass of the neighbor shops, then saunter through whichever doorway he chose and walk out with whatever he liked. Without paying.
You see, the people of Sodom-on-Potomac were easy to manipulate, for the town possessed a shameful secret: racism. The town elders had built on land stolen from the indigenous green skinned people with the labor of slaves imported from the land of the plaid folk. Their descendants naturally felt remorse for this shameful history, despite the fact that it occurred five thousand years before. They felt acute guilt for it and were keenly conscious of practicing any injustice on a person of differing skin. The Sodom-folk (never call them the other name) were decidedly beige themselves, with a tendency towards burnt umber-- vaguely the color of toffee or toast--- so, with his skin of violent violet, More stuck out like a bright bruise upon the body politic.
The people gave him what he wanted, when he wanted, lest anyone make the horrid accusation...
"Racist!" said More, when he was seven and the local druggist refused to let him read a comic book off the rack.
"Racist!" said More, when he was nine and the umpire called a strike against him.
"Racist!" said More, when he was thirteen and didn't like his haircut.
"Racist!" said More, when he was fourteen and his teacher requested an overdue assignment.
"Racist!" he shouted, when he was sixteen and the girl he liked laughed in his face.
"Racist!" he shouted, when his mom told him to clean his room.
"Racist!" he shouted, when he wanted to ride shotgun.
"Racist!" he yelled, when he was turned down for a job.
"Racist!" he yelled, when he lost his first election for town council.
"Racist!" he yelled, when the voters threatened to vote someone else in as mayor.
He got laid, got hired, got rich, got famous, and got elected to high office. On the strength of one little word.
He did as he pleased when he pleased. He tripled the budget, emptied the treasury, threw parties for himself, passed laws to punish his enemies, and generally answered to no one. He trusted that the magic word would solve all problems, and in the face of every adversity he cried it out, bellowing with his magnificent bullhorn of a voice: RACIST!!!
Until Les came along.
Leslie Teabagger was a pixieish waif of a girl from another town over the hill. Her people did not believe that the sins of the fathers were visited upon their children. They did not feel guilt for the evils perpetrated by long-dead ancestors, for those who were dust could not possibly reflect on those that were flesh.
She moved into Sodom-on-the-Potomac during More's tempestuous second term. She moved into a house down by the fish hatcheries, where she began work.
Within a week on her new job, she had seen corruption, cronyism, distortions of law and common sense. She saw regulations that had no purpose but to please the whim of the mayor. She saw utter nonsense, manipulations and theft perpetrated by bureaucratic bullies. And, everywhere, unprecedented waste.
She was appalled.
Leslie saw that Mayor More was destroying his city, and she decided to do something about it.
So she picketed City Hall.
Mayor More heard about the situation from an aide. A crowd of protesting townsfolk? It was astonishing! But no matter. He could deal with them easily.
He strode out onto the steps of City Hall.
He looked down and the seething mass of protestors, smiled, and inhaled....
"Racists!" he yelled.
"Boo!" they yelled back.
Yelled back? How could this be? Perhaps they had not heard?
"Racists!!" he shouted, more loudly.
"Boo!!" the crowd responded, just as before.
This was inconceivable. The secret, magical, wonderful word had never failed him before! He had but to whisper it and the world would crumple to his will! What had happened? Why were the people not cowed?
"RACISTS!" He yelled at the top of his lungs. "RACIST! RACIST! RAACIIIISTS!!!!"
And More's voice finally broke.
He went silent, having stripped his vocal cords. His hand went to his throat. His powerful voice was gone.
The mayor sagged and dropped onto on the marble stair, looking up helplessly at the angry toffee-brown faces of the townsfolk.
The people parted, and a figure emerged from amongst them...
The Mayor gazed-- for the first time-- upon Les, the Teabagger woman who had defeated him, and he understood how she had done it...
He found the answer in her proud stance... in the way she held her head defiantly against the blue sky...
He found the answer in her guiltless smile....
... and in her beautiful violet skin.