Dear Aunt Sophie,
Things were going so well for me – I’m running for president
and I’ve been winning one primary after another. I almost couldn’t believe how
well I was doing, especially when you consider that I’m African-American and my
opponent is a very experienced white politician who’s running as a woman.
They say I have a nice manner and a winning smile. These are
very important when you’re campaigning. Nobody wants to vote for a sourpuss. But
I think the biggest reason I was doing so well is that I bring a message of
hope. Hope and change are the two things Americans want more than anything. Wasn’t
that Reagan’s message?
Now I’ve hit a snag, though. It happens that in addition to
being Ivy-educated and the head of an attractive family I’m also deeply
spiritual. I have a spiritual mentor to whom I turn when I need guidance. He is
a very compelling speaker who sometimes uses rather strong language to make his
points - in fact I’d have to say he’s pretty much redefined the term “Jeremiad”
- and frankly, right now I can’t afford to be associated with anything stronger
Unfortunately his rhetoric is stuck in the 60’s. He talks
about how rich white people run the country and how America is the source of the
world’s ills. That kind of rhetoric went out of style a while back - you know,
saying “God damn America”
and things like that. If you understand where he’s coming from you make
allowances, though. Some people just don’t keep up with the times.
I personally have never heard him say anything like that. I can’t
explain it - maybe he looks around to see if I’m in church before he decides
what to say. And of course I have no way of knowing what he says when I’m not
The problem is since he’s my spiritual mentor some people are
wondering whether I think in those terms, too. I tried to blow it off by comparing
him to a crazy uncle – you know, you still love him because he’s family but you
want to make it clear that you don’t agree with everything he says. I felt bad dismissing
him like that because I’d really hate to hurt his feelings.
I’d given him a job in my organization, too, but I had to
let him go. I hope he remembers the twenty thousand dollars I gave his church a
couple of years ago. That should remind him that I still love him.
This nasty business could tarnish my image, especially since
my wife also tends to make strong statements. (A couple of weeks ago she said that
for the first time in her adult life she felt proud of her country. I don’t
know what moved her to say that, but if she says she’s proud, so be it. She’s a
pistol. Believe me, there’s no way I’d ever compare her to a crazy aunt.)
But now I’m starting to wonder if I’ll be able to win this
election. Going back to the Senate would be such a let-down.
If I don’t win what kind of work do you think I should do?
Your spiritual advisor has a lot of wisdom to share and obviously
doesn’t believe in painting a false picture of life in America.
He knows, for example, that white doctors have successfully engineered
an incurable disease that strikes only black people; he knows that black youth are
forced to commit crimes so Whitey can keep his expensive jails full. Your
spiritual advisor knows that in the twenty-first century African-Americans are
not allowed to attend Ivy League colleges and get high-paying jobs in politics,
entertainment, sports, law or hospital administration.
He knows that while you’ve been acing your presidential
primaries Whitey has been jingling the keys to your chains in his hip pocket. He
knows whose fault it will be if you don’t get the nomination and whose fault it
will be if you do, but lose the election. He even knows that if you win it’ll be
because Whitey’s guilt got the best of him. He knows what you don’t – that your
whole campaign is a set-up: rich white men are building you up so they can tear
Instead of distancing yourself from your perceptive mentor
you should be more supportive of him. Racial Tourette’s Syndrome must be very
difficult to live with and for him to repress it when you’re in church must
take a tremendous effort. Stand by him.
Don’t give in to pressure to pin a flag on your lapel. When
you hear the Star-Spangled Banner leave your hands in your pockets. And
whatever you do, don’t let on that you really know all the words to the Pledge
of Allegiance to the USKKKofA.
You shouldn’t have any trouble finding work if you don’t win
the election. With your ability to tune out embarrassing noises you’ll always
be able to get a job playing piano in a brothel.
Good luck and God bless.