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Two Muggers
A Political Caricature
© 2012 James LaFond
Two muggers, a huge guy in sweats and a tall sinister fellow in a suit, accost you as you are leaving work with your pay on a Friday afternoon. The fellow in the suit opens his jacket to reveal his machine pistol just as the giant lays his paws on you. You could resist. But it is painfully obvious that your efforts would only result in defeat.
You look around for support from the passing pedestrians: some hurry on by with downcast eyes and guilt etched on their gaunt faces; most shrug and advise you to give in; and others harangue your attackers, insisting that they take at least as much from you as they took from them. What can you do?
These men do not seem vicious, or gratuitously violent. In fact, they look like the pillars of their respective communities, working together with the tacit approval of the other pedestrians. You decide on an appeal to reason, “Gentleman, please, I have a family to support, a car payment and a mortgage to make. If you take my pay I’ll be ruined!”
The big man in the sweats seems sympathetic, “I know man, I feel your pain; I came up hard too. You just have to remember that this is for your own good, and that we are here for you brother.”
“What? You are robbing me!”
The man in the suit places a placating hand on your chest as he slides the money from your pocket with the other, “My valued friend, we are all in this together. We are simply providing protection for you. Here, you may keep seventy percent of the money that you were able to earn thanks to us keeping this neighborhood safe. For instance, how much work do you think you would get around here if those religious fanatics over on the East Side ran this area?”
“Besides”, interjects the huge man in sweats, “if they ran the show the booty bars would all get shut down—what would we do without booty?”
The man in the suit seems offended, and levels an accusatory gaze at his partner, “Let’s not get into that. For now, I would just like to point out to this industrious backbone of our society that, thanks to us, he may attend the religious congregation of his choice.”
You are beginning to see their point. After all, the fact that they provide your protection rather than the religious fanatics over on the East Side, permits you your freedoms. You look then, as the man in the suit hands you back the remains of your pay, out onto the busy street, and see that the cars are decorated with bumper stickers proclaiming the righteousness of one of these men or the other.
You feel much better as they pat you on the back and remind you that you are doing the right thing, and that it is only thanks to your sacrifice that good things may be done, by them or their employees, in your name, and for the greater good.
Now, feeling better about the mugging, you actually thank them, and turn to leave. They, however, have one final request. You see, they do not agree, the man in the suit and the man in the sweats, as to how your money should be spent. So, they are poling their involuntary donors concerning how the protection money should be allocated. The man in the sweats promises to use the majority of the money to provide soft drinks, potato chips, and expensive athletic attire for the poor. The man in the suit counters with an offer to use the bulk of the collection to buy armor piercing bullets for his hitters so that they can shoot through the body armor worn by the fanatical zealots from the East Side.
I don’t know what your answer would be. But my answer would be, “Look guys, you took it against my will and now it’s yours. Do with it what you will.”
As you leave the scene of what you originally perceived as a crime, you pass two bums crawling in the gutter. One looks up and begs for some change. Just as you are considering if you should try your hand at non-coerced generosity, the mugger in the suit walks over to the bum, curses him, warns him not to panhandle in this neighborhood, and gives him a swift kick in the groin.
With that lesson in mind you are now free to go on your way.
Of course the two muggers represent the Democratic and Republican parties, and the ‘neighborhood’ is this great nation of ours. I understand some of the folks that gravitate to this site might be inclined toward alternative political parties like the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. To you I say those are the organizations represented by the panhandlers in the gutter. And, I might add, many a panhandler, should he acquire a firearm or some other means of effective coercion, will soon begin working a protection racket, taking what he previously only begged for.
Enjoy the charity drive.
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