Announcer Welcome to the Ellipse, where tonight we once again present our annual Christmas pageant. As befits the season and the new national climate, our spectacle is of a deeply moral nature. Behold "The Shape of Things to come!"

Brass fanfare. Enter the joint chiefs of staff and the secretary of defense. Chiefs

Oh, we have a fail-safe system,

Operation Oliver Twist'em --

We just pass along our little plates and sweetly chortle "More."

Now we know that Mr. Reagan

Will not treat us boys like Fagin,

So it looks like Merry Christmas, folks, til 1984. Secretary

The nation knows in times like these It's right to make civilians squeeze,

Yes, right to put some budget lids

On mothers with dependent kids;

On bureaucrats who move in haste

To cry "no, no" to toxic waste,

And tender hearts that always bleed

For every health and housing need. Chairman

Yes, we agree it's time to see some scrimping by civilians

So we may turn our fancy free with, say 200 billions. Chiefs

We'll tell the president, "Now, please,

We really need 200 Bs.

Two hundred Bs, you see, will buy

Eight copters that might really fly;

Some bright new missiles rated X,

Some planes that make no radar specks,

A mobile force in swivel chairs

And aides and braids for dress affairs.

In short, we need this nice round sun

To go first-class to Kingdom Come.

Exeunt. Enter a bevy of Schlafly Ladies grabed as Valkyries, dragging behind them in chains Mesdames Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. Ladies

Hail that bright November day.

When the Lord bestirred this nation,

When we scotched the ERA,

That and Women's Liberation. Phillis

Such as innocent amendment!

But we smoked out what they penned meant:

Yes, to open our facilities

To men's cunning affabilities. Altos

Not to mention their scurrilities

And the darker possibilities! Phyllis

Now our girls will share no foxholes

With those hoping, groping brutes;

Safely they'll be darning sox-hole,

Tucking babes in slumber suits.

As I said to Mr. Schlafly,

Everything has turned out lafly. All

Then let's swing it a cappella:

Bye-bye Betty, bye-bye Bella,

And give vent to our euphoria

With a clear Sic transit Gloria!

Exeunt. Enter, in deep conversation, the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Rev. Jerry Falwell riding backward on a flying carpet. Jerry

It strikes me always as so very odd --

Your pipeline goes to Allah, mine to God. Khom

My pipeline goes directly to the Prophet --

Yours, I'm rather sure, goes straight to Tophet. Jerry

You're turning back a thousand years? I'd rather

Not go much further back than Cotton Mather Khom

You say you'll make a hostage of the president?

We've held him all year long, the one now resident. . .

Exeunt. Enter Sen. Jesse Helms leading a chorus of schoolchildren, their knees raw from praying in the classroom. They are followed by Anonymous Lame Duck. Children

Gee, but it's fun to pray

In the new official way.

Thanks to Jesse now our prayers

Fly so swiftly straight upstairs.

Oh, our government is good --

Makes us pray as children should

Even tells us where and when

So we will not stray. Amen. Helms

I've always said that government should kindly keep its hands off;

I've fought and bled my livelong life to parry its demands off.

But now I think when children lisp their prayers to the Creator,

Our government should set rules and act as mediator. Lame duck

In Ulster's schools across the sea

The children pray from 8 till 3 --

The Papists and the Calvinists --

But when they meet up go their fists.

They punch and gouge and kick and swear

And swing each other by the hair,

Though always with such piety --

Have they not prayed from 8 till 3?

So you can see that prayers in school

Do not assure the Golden Rule. Children

Oh but we love to pray

In our classrooms every day;

Surely beats arithmetic --

That stuff makes us awful sick. Lame duck

Man's prayers to God must all be free

From government and bigotry,

Said Jefferson, and then he saw

That noble thought enshrined in law -- Helms

Lame Duck, I thank you for that slip,

For now I have you on the hip.

Did not the voters jettison

This fall your sainted Jefferson,

His party, principles and views,

And cast them off like outworn shoes? Announcer

Dear sirs, excuse me if I interject --

I give you now the president-elect. Reagan

And so you've seen "The Shape of Things to Come."

Well, more or less, but let us now remember

All kinds of hearts and souls made up the sum

Of our so glorious victory in November.

So now it's time to put the strife behind us

And turn our thoughts to those dear ties that bind us:

With Nancy now I wish you all good cheer

For Christmastime and all the coming year.