In a surprise campaign development U.S. voters are increasingly unable to distinguish the politics of Osama bin Laden, arch-terrorist, from those of Barack Obama, democratic candidate for U.S. president.
"I know one of them is a rich man who supports mass murder because he hates Israel and the other one is a rich man who supports mass murder because he loves Israel, but I'll be damned if I can keep straight which of them is which." So spoke Darryl Springarn of Topeka, Kansas, who plans to cast a write-in vote for a peace candidate - as soon as he finds one. "Six months at the outside and I"ll have my man," said Springarn optimistically. "The word is that there's a politician who supports peace right here in Kansas. He's working at a car wash in Wichita."
According to research provided by the Advanced Institute For the Study of Less Advanced Institutes, dangerous levels of "moral relativism" in the U.S. general population are responsible for this kind of voter confusion. Apparently, today's voters find all mass killing without justification and are increasingly uninterested in trying to remember which slaughters are supposedly justified and which reprehensible. "I want all the killing stopped," says Norma Clifford, of Evanston, Illinois. "But if someone must die, let it be the politicians who organize all the wars. I wouldn't mind shooting some of them myself."
This increasingly common "peace through peace" attitude has provoked alarm in the campaign headquarters of all this year's presidential candidates, who worry that an outbreak of peace-for-its-own-sake might not bode well for the armaments industry that donates huge funds to their campaigns. "The voters are naive," claims Dick Doofus, spokesman for the Clinton campaign." "Only peace through war is realistic. If there were a general peace, the economy would collapse."
Meanwhile, Carl Downing, who has resigned the presidency of Hotheads for Islamic Subjugation to accept a position as John McCain's campaign manager, points out that peace without conquest is like an omelette without eggs. "After all is said and done, there's not much left."
The Obama campaign has launched a feverish effort to educate the voters on the righteousness of killing for Israel and the wickedness of killing to oppose Israel, but apparently voters are still confused as to who is who. This has the normally unflappable Obama showing increasing signs of strain. "I don't live in a cave," he snapped to a young autograph seeker asking for "Senator Osama's" signature at a recent campaign stop.
Eager volunteers swarming Obama's campaign headquarters in Illinois say he is the only candidate who can bring peace to Israel. "All he asks is that Palestinians accept being wiped off the map," they say. "Dr. King never thought of that."
-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "The Madness of King George" (illustrations by Matt Wuerker) and "Portraits of Empire," both from Common Courage Press.