The following piece is fictional. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Any resemblance between the subjects addressed and issues current in America is purely coincidental.
Cardinal Butch Scarpia of the Antakyan Seaside Church announced Thursday that his congregation had made an important decision based on the increasing politicization of its activities, including its opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights and the cardinal's desire to endorse the presidential candidate of the Mugwump Party. The church will give up its local, state and federal tax-free status because, the cardinal said, "any church that needs to depend on the American taxpayer instead of on its own believers to finance its activities does not deserve to continue to exist."
The prelate added that he would be convoking a religious summit to which the heads of all faiths in the United States would be invited to propose that they all relinquish their tax-free status. The tax load on an increasingly burdened American population would thus be reduced. Given his generally combative habits, the cardinal, also known as "Red Bird," also said that from now on leaders of his church would be addressed as "Mourning Dove," not cardinal, reflecting its believers' attachment to peace.
Based on the cumulative loss to America occasioned in recent months by gun-bearing assassins, some of them of questionable emotional balance, in Blacksburg, Va.; Tucson, Ariz.; Aurora, Colo.; Pittsburgh, Pa., and most recently at the Empire State Building in New York City, with a death toll of nearly a hundred innocents, CEO Wax LaBite of the National Ratshooters Union announced Friday that the organization would disband immediately. The NRU would turn over its treasury and any future contributions, including those from U.S. firearms manufacturers, to the families of victims of gun crimes.
Mr. LaBite said he also would convene a nationwide meeting to devise a plan to systematically disarm the American population. The intention would be to end the meaningless slaughter that the virtually unregulated sale of firearms and ammunition has produced across America. Mr. LaBite said that for him the last straw had been the wounding by New York police of innocent bystanders, although the slaying of 9-year-old Christina Green in Tucson had been nearly more than he could bear.
In the face of an increasing number of outrageous campaign ads and charges that have massively insulted the intelligence of Americans across the country, President Wary Yomama, the Plutocratic Party candidate for president, strode onto the stage unexpectedly at the Publican Party conference at Flipper Bay Thursday, embraced Publican candidate Bear Gummy and made the following startling proposal: Given the danger to American democracy and honest governance represented by the millions of dollars pouring into the presidential race, he proposed that both parties suspend spending on their campaigns, leaving publicization of their positions to unpaid media reporting. The money in all party coffers and any future campaign contributions would be diverted instead to America's 100 neediest schools. "Neediest" would be defined as those schools whose students had in 2011 received the lowest scores in national and state testing.
Mr. Gummy, the Publican candidate, wholeheartedly endorsed what he called "the correct reflection of America's real priorities" contained in Mr. Yomama's proposal. Both candidates said they would turn over the money at the start of this school year. Both acknowledged this as a realistic target since both campaigns are presently geared up to rapidly deliver cash.
Both leaders, discouraged by the fact that America has not won any of its recent major wars -- Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan -- while spending itself into massive debt waging the last two of them and having effectively trashed all three countries in the process of losing and, finally, being faced with massive needs at home in terms of infrastructure, health care and education, declared jointly that America no longer needs to keep armed forces in an estimated 140 countries. Tens of thousands of expensive U.S. forces are in Afghanistan, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Japan and South Korea, with no preemptive justification for their presence there.
The presidential candidates, congressional leaders and those attending the two national political conventions agreed that Americans should now enjoy a peace dividend and that, to lead it off, the Department of Defense budget should be cut in half, applying all of the savings to reducing this year's $1 trillion budget deficit. A second halving of the Pentagon budget in 2013 would be applied entirely to reducing the $16 trillion national debt. America's prestige in the world could then depend reliably on the strength of America's economy, its remaining potential to rearm quickly and efficiently if threatened, and on its general size and strength as a nation.
Finally, in the face of the increasing number of Americans -- especially children -- living below the poverty line, agreement was reached between the leaders and parties on reform of America's unjust tax system. All families would now tithe at the 25 percent level, with no deductions, even for dressage horses, until the national debt was erased. Then, when America could hold its head up again -- not owing China, Japan or the rest of the world a nickel -- taxes could be lowered, but only with a "no excuses" balanced budget mandated forever.
Dan Simpson, a former U.S. ambassador, is a Post-Gazette associate editor (email@example.com, 412 263-1976).