Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Way Out of the Financial Crisis

In these tough economic times, we must all brainstorm ideas to help improve the situation, even if we are poets and our financial brainstorms look like tiny dust-whirlwinds on the prairie.

Obviously, if we have just a wee bit of extra money, clothes, or food, we ought to give it/them to somebody who can get it/them to those in need. That's a small-scale idea.

My bigger idea is this: The U.S. should declare its dependence on Great Britain. I know this sounds terribly counterintuitive, especially since so much of our history and identity, not to mention our status as a nation, depends on certain colonists' having declared independence from Great Britain. Then the whole founding fathers thing--you know the story.

In terms of age, however, the U.S. is essentially a teenager, and Great Britain is . . . of advanced years. If we work with this analogy a bit, we might think of ourselves as teenagers or 20-somethings who need to move back in with their parents--just until we get our finances organized, get back on our feet. No doubt from Great Britain's point of view, this maneuver will seem cheeky, to say almost the least. Also, there may be some legal hurdles to jump. Is it possible for a nation to undeclare independence? We must get a team of lawyers, I mean solicitors, working on this, and we should encourage them to wear white wigs, just to send a subtextual message.

If Great Britain goes for the idea, we could ask it to pay some of our bills. One problem, of course, is that I can already imagine people from England shouting, "We already do! You got us into Iraq, Afghanistan, and the banking crisis! You ruined our language! You stole The Office. George Bush hypnotized Tony Blair! What more do you want from us?" It's hard to know how to respond to such points, although one tradition in Parliament (I gather, from watching it on BBC America) is that you can grumble and mumble. I really like how members of Parliament do that. It's impolite and civilized both at once.

"When, in the course of human events, a certain country goes broke and needs to move in with another country, declaring dependence seems like a good idea."

That doesn't quite have the same noble ring, I grant. But it's just a first draft, and I'm just brainstorming, as a poet and a patriot; in a weird sort of way, would undeclaring independence be patriotic? Jeez, I don't know. It's hard to follow the carom-shots. But it seems less complicated than these so-called bail-out packages.
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