When the first is-there-intelligent-life-on-Earth? expedition arrives, let us hope they do not land in Washington, D.C.
This place is confusing enough if one lives here. Imagine trying to figure out what is happening (much less why) if you are a visitor denied our sophisticated brains and double-clutch thought processes.
Suppose you were sitting in some remote planet, and you received the following June progress report from your team of little green persons in Washington:
"They (Earthlings) have cut off hot water in government headquarters buildings. Will save money. The cutoff does not apply to persons designated as VIPs. Conclusion: VIPs cannot sustain life functions without hot water, lesser rank persons are better for a cold bath.
"Bathrooms have been locked in one government department to deny access to "supergraders" who once enjoyed a place of their own to go. Conclusion: Earth government officials, and teen-agers, place great store and prestige in private bathrooms.
"To save money, cooling devices -- called 'air conditioners' -- have been made to run less efficiently. To counter this, workers are bringing in primitive air-moving machines -- called fans -- which use the same form of power, i.e. electricity. Conclusion: It is more efficient to burn up energy using less efficient means.
"As any economy measure, the elected leadership of the government proposes to give retired personnel fewer cost-of-living raises. Although the raises are triggered by inflation, the leadership pretends the after-the-fact raises cause pre-raise price increases. Conclusion: It soon will be too expensive for some retired persons to continue to live.
"The nation's elected leader tells individuals -- called voters or citizens -- to conserve fuel derived from dead dinosaurs and plants and owned by persons called Arabs. Said leader deregulates airline fares so they can raise prices at will, this drives people to drive more using more expensive gasoline. Conclusion: Recommend the U.S. Government step up production of dinosaurs.
"After stern warnings to conserve energy, the leader jets off to other capitals. He is accompanied by a support crew of hundreds. And his heavy limousine is flown thousands of miles for a 2-minute motorcade. At these sessions the leader meets other world leaders who, according to most reports, like him better the less they see him. Conclusion: None.
"To improve government services, the Congress authorizes large bonuses for top federal executives. After executives sign contracts for new Senior Executive Service, congress says that bonus system has been abused -- before it begins -- and limits raises to equivalent of a few weeks pay. Conclusion: Breach of contract is illegal unless those who breach it also happen to make the laws.
"Members of Congress to preach economy and equal treatment for all demand private, free parking at the National Airport. Airport is supported by the taxpayers who are fined, ticketed and towed away if they do the same thing: Conclusion: All men are created equal but it doesn't last very long.
"While campaigning to save money (Earth people seemed obsessed with the word "save," many "save" whales, some attempt to "save" the environment) most politicians push for higher spending while advocating reduced income through tax cuts. Conclusion: None.
"This year the nation chooses a new leader. Here is assessment of the four major candidates, who listed as Democrats, one as Republican and one as Republican turned Independent.
"One candidate is said to be beaten already but too dumb or arrogant to know it; another said to be too old to be leader but too dumb or arrogant to know it; another said to be an international laughing stock but too dumb and pious to know it; the fourth said to be in the race not to win, but so that others may lose. One of these four -- in a nation of 230 millions -- will be the new leader, the best and brightest this country offers.
"Conclusion: Our planet should continue its more rationale system of government whereby leaders are selected from the first-born of the (alternate) male/female line of royal cabbage heads.
"This ends report from earth, for now. Locals cooperating with this survey team -- we are living in a youth hostel pretending to be exchange students -- advise that Washington will become even more confused during the months of July and August.
"When can we come home?"