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As chief executive officer of the world’s only hyperpower, my approval rating has fallen to just 37%. One of my senior aides was indicted for political dirty tricks. No one seems to like me anymore. What should I do?
Worried in Washington
First of all, count your blessings – you still are the leper with the most fingers. There isn’t a single functioning government among any of the major Western nations. You are lucky that you are not the president of France (see below), or the chancellor of Germany (which doesn’t have one). You might be the prime minister of Italy, whose Mediaset Corporation just had its Swiss bank accounts seized by police for money laundering. You might be the prime minister of Britain, whose closest ally, David Blunkett, resigned from the cabinet over some shady business dealings, and who nearly lost a vote in the Commons on his government’s flagship anti-terrorism bill.
Second, stop worrying about what to do. In fact, do as little as possible. Right now there is nothing you can do to mar or bless the fortunes of your country. Economic policy is in the hands of the central bank, and foreign policy is in the hands of God. Americans may not like what is happening in Baghdad, but they are gratified that they do not live in Paris. Let Chirac worry.
I am the president of the world’s grandest nation. Muslims are rioting throughout my country and won’t stop. Neither threats nor promises seem to help. What should I do?
Perplexed in Paris
You might consider the American approach, which is to reduce the population of potential trouble-makers. In 1968, when urban riots troubled American cities, there were 200,000 prisoners in state and federal jails. Now there are nearly a million and a half. No more riots! One out of three young black men has been arrested for a serious crime. Your country has only 55 prisoners per 100,000 of population, compared to over 700 in the United States.
Of course, the Americans stumbled onto to this solution by accident and put it into effect piecemeal, incarcerating troublemakers one at a time. With your grandiose intellect, you could do it faster and cheaper. Rather than build prisons, simply deport all the undocumented North African aliens, who number between 1 and 2 million. Announce that you will draw a bright line between citizens of France, and foreign undesirables. Say that Frenchmen require sympathy and subsidies, while the illegals merely require passage on the next boat home. That will get their attention.
Of course, this does not address the other matter of what your Grande Nation will do as your native population turns grey and shrinks. Sorry, only one answer per inquiry.
A few months ago I was elected head of the world’s largest religion. For years I have been warning that moral relativism has weakened the foundations of European civilization. Now I speak from the pulpit of St. Peter, but they still won’t listen to me. What am I doing wrong?
Restless in Rome
Relax. Lay in a supply of popcorn and keep your television turned to the news from Paris. They will listen.