As revealed by Saint Larry the Divine
1 I looked and there in City Hall a door stood open. 2 And I heard a voice say, "It's time to do something." 3 At once I was in the chambers, and there stood a podium with the One strutting before it. 4 Behind the podium was a wide dais and on the dais sat nine councilors and in front of the dais sat department heads who had dominion over all the city works. 5 And behind the One stood 12 ministers from the churches of the city. 6 And I heard him say to them: "If we can have a National Day of Prayer and nobody gets upset, don't get upset about this one here, and even if you get upset, get upset. We're still going to have it."
7 Then I saw in the hand of the One a great silver folder with a proclamation written inside it. 8 The folder bore the seals of the city, a top hat with the skyline springing out of it.
9 Then I saw the One break the first of the seven seals, and I heard the voice of one of the four executives say, "I stand here today encouraged as we turn the page to a new chapter in the history of our city."
10 When he opened the second seal I heard the second executive say, "I can't remember a time when I've seen more excitement, enthusiasm and interaction. And people are all on the same page. That's what leadership is all about."
11 When he opened the third seal I heard the third executive say, "We really need to be in lockstep."
12 When he opened the fourth seal I heard the fourth executive say, "We can't let this mayor fail."
13 Then I saw the One open the fifth seal, and in front of the podium I saw the great multitude who had cast votes for him. 14 They cried out in a loud voice, "Mayor, how long will it be before you build us a Dome?" 15 They were given free bus fare and promised an equestrian center and natatorium, and the One told them to wait a while longer, because the Dome and the transit would not be ready for at least another 18 months.
16 When he opened the sixth seal I saw a great tax on all things bought and sold, and a new tax was levied on all those who did business in the city. 17 The nine councilors on the nine thrones on the dais approved of the new taxes, and among the masses there was much gnashing of teeth. 18 I heard the Mayor say, "If a penny is going to break you, then you're already broke anyway." 19 The many merchants threatened to flee the great city and men and women proclaimed, "From now on I'm shopping in Hoover."
20 When the One opened the seventh seal there was a great silence from the press, and I saw the nine councilors who stood before the Mayor, and nine bowls of wealth were given to them to pour onto their districts. 21 And the wealth in the bowls was ten times ten times ten thousand.
22 And the Voice of the One proclaimed that there would be free laptops and scholarships and healthcare and bus fare and wi-fi Internet access, but the masses were still waiting because the Voice of the One had said a lot of things before that never came to pass.
1 From across the park I heard a great cry, and four bankers stood at the four corners of the courthouse and they said, "Behold the hour of judgment is come, and the One cut us a deal and you had better pay up."
2 And on the throne of the county sat a woman with a wide hat who had blasphemed against the Mayor, and the masses turned against her, for the water was clean to drink but the sewer bills were too great to bear.
3 I heard a loud voice proclaim, "Fallen, fallen is Jefferson the great! She has made the many investors buy the bonds and suffer the debt of her corruption." 4 And the county was cast into a pit and the pit was called Bankruptcy where the VisionLand had gone before.
5 And out of the pit came the dragon, and the dragon they called the federal government. 6 And from the pit arose two beasts.
7 The first beast was called the DOJ, and the federal government gave it power and great authority. 8 One of the heads of the DOJ seemed to have been wounded, as if struck by a former HealthSouth CEO, but the wound had healed over and the people were amazed. 9 The beast had the power of subpoena and the authority to call together grand juries. 10 And the people asked, "Who can fight against it?"
11 The second beast was called the SEC, and the federal government gave it the power to subpoena and sue. 12 The bankers feared the second beast and the beast compelled them to confess their sins and speak against the Mayor and his works.
13 Then I heard the Mayor say, "I'm a kind of a clothes person. I like clothes," for the Mayor wore many fine garments and jewelry of gold and silver given to him by his many faithful servants. 14 And the Mayor cast the SEC and the DOJ from his mind and into a bottomless pit of denial. 15 And he said, "The SEC did not give me my good name and they can't take it away."
1 Death and bloodshed plagued the city. 2 And I heard the mayor read from the proclamation, and he said, "The City of Birmingham like the City of Nineveh has experienced violence and murder that pails in comparison to the City of Nineveh of the Old Testament, Book of Jonah; and has become the fourth violent city per capital in the United States of America." 3 But unlike the City of Nineveh, the City of Birmingham had no one to proofread its proclamations.
4 And the Mayor called together his faithful in a place called Boutwell, and there they donned sackcloth and the ministers marked the foreheads of the faithful with ashes.
5 The Mayor said, "I could care less what they write about it or what they say about it, because - let there be no misunderstanding - just like Satan is at work, God is at work, too."
6 And the faithful filled the great hall. 7 Their numbers were more than 1,000 but less than the 2,000 burlap sacks the mayor had bought. 8 Many ministers of the churches of Birmingham did not attend, but the Mayor said to the people that it took only a remnant of the people to change the city.
9 Then I heard a noise go up from the people and there was crying and speaking in tongues, and like thunder the voice of Darth Vader filled the hall with scripture. 10 The followers flung their bodies on the floor and shed tears on the ground. 11 The ministers praised the mayor, saying, truly he is chosen by God to lead the city. 12 One minister said, "Here is a man who ran for mayor and beat everybody. That is God." 13 And they decried journalistic terrorism and they swore to silence those who would question the Mayor.
14 Then I saw them lay hands on the Mayor and he was filled with the spirit. 15 The Mayor asked the people, "What in hell do you want? There must be something in hell we want because we are fighting so hard to get there."
16 Then I saw a great Dome descending from the heavens. 17 It was bright, like neon, and round like a worn stone. 18 It glittered like gold, but it was not golden. 19 I was given a rod to measure the Dome, and it stretched for three city blocks in width and length, and its height was half its width. 20 And on its gates were inscribed the names of the councilors, ministers and executives who had worshiped the Mayor, but the names of the betrayers were absent from the Dome.
21 Then I heard the Mayor say, "If you don't like it, then you don't have to go there." 22 And the enemies of the Mayor were locked outside the walls of the Dome with the nonbelievers, murderers, thieves and anyone who believed in the separation of church and state.
23 Inside the Dome, the faithful rejoiced. 24 The ground was covered in green carpet and bright lights shone from above like the sun and there was no night there. 25 And the faithful were given seats and the executives were given skyboxes. 26 And on the Jumbotron was the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
27 For surely, the Mayor comes like a thief in the night, and he will serve on the throne of the city forever and ever. 28 Amen.
War on Dumb is a column about political culture. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org