Idi the Gourmet
by Jeffrey Williams
Illustration by Mediocre Concepts Ltd.
I was reminded by a trivia question yesterday that it’s been twenty years since the world’s collective conscience was shocked by the horrific antics of Idi Amin. Now THERE was an Evil Dictator. No warm and fuzzy pictures of Amin at the Children’s Hospital or supplying rice for the poor for this guy! No sir! Just declare yourself the Supreme Ruler and get to it! Killin’, torturin’, lootin’ the treasury – there’s no end to what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it. You don’t like your detractors? Eat ’em! No, I really mean it – EAT THEM! You readers too young to remember may be shocked to hear that this Evil Dictator of old was actually alleged to have engaged in cannibalism.
Nowadays, your Khadafys, Husseins, and what-have-yous spend a good portion of their time and wealth on their own personal publicity campaigns. Like they need it? Here you are, the Commander Of Everything, and you’re worrying about what some housewife in Ohio thinks about you? These are valuable resources being diverted from important tasks like building an army of fanatics, developing instruments of mass destruction, and rooting out conspiracies against you.
Of course these fellas really don’t need public support, which they’ve already forcibly wrought from their subjects. Which is also what makes their efforts to obtain it so interesting, especially in contrast to the American democratic system where the Chief’s personal popularity – thus electability – is EVERYTHING. President Bill is certainly the best example of this yet. A Leader whose very essence is his intensely palpable desire to have every last person like him was the inevitable distillation of our quadrennial, orgasmic popularity contest.
Perhaps what we need to do is test the depth of how important “being liked” is to our elected officials. What say we give the Commander in Chief unquestioned supreme powers during his or her administration, followed by a Presidential Pardon for anything done in office, by his successor? For example, Bill Clinton has been re-elected: it’s his last term, he has a change of heart about his own popularity, and proceeds to have Bob Dole dragged into the White House, where he is immediately butchered and served for dinner to key members of the National Democratic Committee and The Fly Girls (whom Bill has taken a liking to and had flown in from L.A.).
Will this reflect badly on the Democrats in the succeeding election? Will voters then fear Democrats or Southerners in general so much that they will vote for them anyway so as not to risk retribution (because, of course, election tampering, wire-tapping, and, say, busting into some opponent’s psychiatric files would all be pardonable)?
Maybe this idea is just a little too scary.