Well, another cycle of (s)election hysteria has come and gone in the disUnited States of Amerikkka, Inc., and, as you well know, everything in the world has transformed overnight. Now that the Demopublicans are in control of the House and the Republicrats have kept the Senate, we have all seen the drastic changes in our…
Haha. Sorry. I couldn’t keep a straight face while typing that twaddle. But in honour (that’s right, honoUr!) of my American brethren and their recent political ritual (meant to absolve them of any substantive action for another two years until they can once again stuff a piece of paper in a ballot box and go back to sleep), I thought I would engage in that age-old game that seems to be America’s other pastime: debating who was the greatest president of all time.
You know what I’m talking about.
“I think President Whiskey Rebellion was better than President If I Could Save The Union Without Freeing Any Slave I Would Do It!”
“No way! President Japanese Internment Camps was better!”
“Nuh uh! What about President He Kept Us Out of War?”
“Come on, guys! You’re all forgetting about President Kill List!”
As I say, you all know how that game goes.
Now, full disclosure: I’m not American. Heck, I’m not even a statist. As an anarchist, it would be physically impossible for me to care less who 51% of the 41% of the population that votes(s)elected to rule over everyone else. And as a Canadian, why would an American care what I thought anyway?
So I’ve decided to broaden the scope of this little debate. This is no mere American political argument about whether Millard Fillmore or William Henry Harrison was the G.O.A.T. of the Oval Office. No, that would be silly. Let’s expand the list a little and include executive office holders from around the world. Heck, let’s include off-worlders, too. And when I say the greatest of all time, I mean ALL TIME. Past, present and future. Real OR fictional.
With all those caveats in place, I think we can all agree that the greatest president of all time (and space) is . . .
Of course! Zaphod Beeblebrox! You know, Zaphod Beeblebrox! That two-headed, Betelgeusian “adventurer, ex-hippy, good-timer, (crook? quite possibly), manic self-publicist, terribly bad at personal relationships, often thought to be completely out to lunch.”
Oh, you don’t know Zaphod Beeblebrox? Well then you really must grab a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and read up on the President of the Galaxy. Or, more technically, the “President of the Imperial Galactic Government,” who, the Guide tells us, is the de facto leader of the galactic empire since the “hereditary Emperor is nearly dead and has been for many centuries.” You see, the poor, sickly Emperor is now “locked in a stasis field which keeps him in a state of perpetual unchangingness,” so an “elected governmental assembly headed by a President elected by that assembly” rules in his place.
Or, at least, that’s what everyone thinks. In reality, of course, the President doesn’t do much of anything. As the Guide informs us:
“The President in particular is very much a figurehead – he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. On those criteria Zaphod Beeblebrox is one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy has ever had – he has already spent two of his ten presidential years in prison for fraud.”
Hmmm…a purely figurehead president whose job “is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.” Does that sound like an accurate description of our current political circus?
I’ve talked about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as a way of thinking about politics many times before. For those who know about the JFK assassination or 9/11 Truth or the central bank scam, it seems obvious: The political sideshow that we see unfold in the 24/7 news cycle is just a series of shadows on the cave wall designed to distract us from the real world that is right behind us, just out of sight.
But perhaps the Allegory of Beeblebrox is just as apt a description of our political reality (and a fair bit more entertaining to boot). The presidents (and prime ministers) that are dangled before us as the “rulers of the country” are no such thing. Their only job is to distract us from the real decision-makers in society. In the world of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, we are told rather intriguingly that “Very very few people realize that the President and the government have virtually no power at all, and of these few people only six know whence ultimate political power is wielded.” Now, I don’t know about “only six,” but the idea of very few knowing who really wields the power behind the throne seems about right.
And if the president’s job is to distract us from the most important political matters facing us (the military-industrial complex and the information-industrial complex, the technocratic slave state being erected around us, the monetary prison that has been constructed by central banks and their controlled currencies, etc.), then you’ve got to admit they’re getting better and better at their job.
I mean, who cares about ending the Fed when there’s much more important things happening in the White House—like fake news journalists getting their credentials stripped in press conference altercations? Who cares about the continuation of never-ending wars halfway around the world when the size of the president’s penis is a source of non-stop news coverage?
It’s all downhill from here, folks.
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Don’t you see? Zaphod Beeblebrox is stealing the Heart of Gold! Pay attention to him!”
The funny thing is that, once again, the extent to which the powers-that-shouldn’t-be go to distract us from our real political predicament shows just how important we (and our focused attention) are and how much power we could really wield . . . if only we weren’t distracted.
Power to do what? Oh, power to build communities. Power to create community organizations. Power to start a local currency and to support your local businesses. Power to plant the seeds of revolution both literally and figuratively. Power to put aside petty differences and realize that it really is us (the 99.9999999%) against them (the 0.00000001%) unless we fall for the divide-and-conquer shenanigans of the real rulers. You know, that sort of thing.
But who can be bothered with all of that when the greatest show of our lives is playing out on the nightly news these days, am I right? Just grab your popcorn and enjoy, that’s what I say!
All hail President Beeblebrox!