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The Quixotic nature of American politics

By Steve Coons

Whether mistaking one solitary windmill as the solution to the global energy crisis, or declaring war against steroids in an attempt to fight terrorism, the modern American politician inevitably bears a strong resemblance to Don Quixote de la Mancha. The difference is that Don Quixote was more than willing to simply blame a wizard for any misstep.

Well, I assumed that they would be less willing to behave in such a manner. Times have changed, I thought, and pointing the finger at demonic warlocks after every minor setback is no longer in vogue. Then, as if by magic, I found a book that contained damning evidence of the frivolous fears of this country’s most prominent politicians. I took the liberty of composing some verses in honor of this momentous discovery:

Deep in the vaults of the Library it lay,

until I chanced upon it one summer day.

Suspiciously current it certainly seemed,

and with strange supernatural light it gleamed.

The quality of writing was only so-so,

Invocated in the name of Dulcinea?

?of El Toboso!

And what luck. On the first page, I chanced upon the president placing blame at the feet of that most terrible of enchanters, Malambruno. “Foulest of wizards,” George said, “that hath turned my horse into a dog, my wife into a horse, and my coup into a quagmire, that hath spread a haze of sexual confusion amongst my brethren, so that they cannot tell between man and woman.”

“But, why, does he torment you so, m’lord?” asked an intern.

“Isn’t it clear?” the president, turning to him, asked. “To deprive me the glory of victory. Malambruno’s dark sorcery precedes me everywhere. He switches waffles for falafels, yogurt for Go-GURT, and prisoner tea parties for torture?according to the Geneva Convention?” he said, hesitating, “?which I choose not to recognize.”

The president’s chapter ended thusly, but the book continued onward.

“Balderdash,” Mitt Romney said.

“What is it?” Danny Ainge asked.

“It’s?” said Mitt, clearly flustered. “It’s this damn Munaton the Wizard. He has shaken my stalwart convictions. I appear as a?flip-flopper.”

“Don’t you mean Freston, the wizard?”

“Yes?of course, of course I meant Freston,” he said with a grin. “I knew it ended in -ton, is all.”

“It could have also been Fresmun.”

“Yes! Yes! Fresmun! I am sure of it. Why doth that arrant rascal torment me so?”

“Oh, dear. Oh, dear,” said Danny, patting his friend Mitt on the back for old times’ sake.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama was also lamenting the machinations of an enchanter. “Oh, I shall revenge myself upon the malevolent tyrant who has thus hidden my triumph from the world,” he said. “That awe-inspiring swordplay, those thundering speeches, that backhand cut that sliced five giants in two.”

“Oh, Barack,” said Mrs. Obama, in a swoon. “I wish you wouldn’t yell to the heavens so. Such a display of sheer power makes me feel weak in the knees.”

“My apologies,” Barack said. “I did not mean to frighten you. I just wish this enchanter would show himself so that I might see how he would avail against my doughty blade.”

Barack is left staring up at the heavens, deep in melancholic thought and with mighty sword in hand as the story ventures onward.

“I do not trust him. I do not trust him,” said Hillary, pacing across the room.

“Why? Why don’t you trust the one called Obama?” Bill asked.

“Because?he looks upon me with a malicious eye, and?he has the support of the peasants.”

“Fear not, dear bride,” Bill said. “For we shall fetch the helmet of Mambrino, and it shall redound to your greater glory.”

“Yes,” she said with a smile. “My glory shall redound across the globe. Amadis of Gaul himself did not have such a redounding of glory. Bring it to me, William. Bring me the helmet of Mambrino.”

Bill got out of his chair quickly, running outside without even closing the door behind him.

And thus ended the tale of the malevolent magicians and the politicians who were unable to be pinned down. Will our heroes survive? Who are the heroes? Is there a point to any of this? Who will win the election? Isn’t that still a year away? And just whose side is Malambruno on?

Join us next week for “Part the Second: The Trouble with Sancho” (title/article subject to adaptation/cancellation).

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