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Political Animal

Have a Banana

By Brian Morton | Posted 8/18/2004

Grab your bags, make sure your passport is up to date, and take your shoes off, because we’re about to head through the metal detectors and get on a plane for a coast-to-coast tour of the planet’s newest banana republic. Like many banana republics, it’s safe for tourism. (How else can you get money for the cronies of the Fearless Leader if you don’t have tourists?) And as always, there’s plenty to see and do.

In this banana republic, like most, the currency is at a good exchange rate, because the people in charge tend to have a lot of overseas investments that they want to get a good return on, so feel free to cash in some gold, and let’s go.

Our first stop is in the warmer, southern climes of the nation, a neat little place called Rio Rancho in a charming parish called New Mexico. The Deputy Fearless Leader spoke here just a few short weeks ago, at the end of July, to 2,000 of his faithful followers. If you look on the ground, you can still see a few of the oaths they had to sign to pledge fealty to their leadership. A newspaper called The Boston Globe reported Aug. 9 that 72-year-old retiree John Wade, of that quaint little town Albuquerque, asked, “Whose vice president is he?” when presented with the form when he went to get tickets for the event. ‘’I just wanted to hear what my vice president had to say, and they make me sign a loyalty oath.”

Quite the amusing customs they have here. Step lively now, we’re getting back on the plane.

This little country is famous for its farming and agrarian traditions, so we’ll touch down in the middle of the country to see some of the peasants as they go about their chores. Maybe you can pick up some colorful trinkets during the stop.

Don’t be surprised if you see some local dissent in our next stop, a sleepy hamlet called Dubuque—some of the folk here haven’t been happy since the last coup. Why, a local veteran of the military, a 64-year-old guy named Nick Lucy, had a ticket to see Dear Leader speak in May, but the police were told to escort him out because he wasn’t a registered member of the Party. Lucy said he’d seen every leader speak since the old premier, who just died back at the start of June, but they still wouldn’t let him in.

Reminds you of 1970s Latin America, doesn’t it?

Before we continue, the captain has asked us to listen to an announcement being piped in over the loudspeakers. It seems the presidential palace has issued a terrorism warning, and we must be on our guard. The announcement, coming from an unnamed palace official, says there is no new information causing them to issue the alert, but they are saying that there is a possibility that, right before the elections, there is a good chance of some sort of attack from the enemy.

“You will get intelligence which suggests they’re targeting the election time frame,” an unnamed palace official, as reported Aug. 13, told reporters of a little news sheet called The Washington Post. “In addition to that, you get other intelligence that suggests there is planning for an ongoing operation that may not specifically mention the election.”

The same official said, “No question some of this information was accessed in 2004 and indications are more recently than January—spring.” However, the palace official added, “I have seen no indication of an imminent operation.”

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we want to remind you not to let these periodic announcements ruin your vacation—so make sure you spend that money.

Our local “minders” have informed us that in order not to run afoul of government information ministers we are obliged to announce that the newspapers in this country are not tools of the government in any way. Just to prove that this is the case, we will be handing out to all passengers copies of the apologies printed by two of the country’s bigger and more popular papers, The Washington Post and The New York Times, where the editorial staff have recently acknowledged they gave more credence to the claims made by the Fearless Leader than they did the opposition. You’ll note some of the scandal sheets are more humble than others: the Times printed its apology back in May, while the Post issued its just last week.

But that’s enough of the local current events—won’t you have a tale to tell your relatives when you get back home. But before you go, we have been given one last note to read to you, from the attorney general; something he said right after the last terrorist attack on the country. He said, “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists.” So, with that, we hope you enjoyed your stay, and don’t forget the duty-free shop in the airport. Gotta keep that economy humming!

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