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How to Serve the Public 

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[Re: "Their Own Worst Enemies?," June 25]

A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Childish Political Activists in Chicago, Illinois, From Being a Burden on Their Community or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public.

Recently it has been brought to my attention, through various and sundry illicit and explicit communications, that turmoil and melancholy have again embroiled the gay and lesbian community in the great kingdom of Chicago.

To wit, that one gay politico may attempt to run against an elected straight friend of the community; that said gay politico has no support; that the elected straight friend of the community brokered an important deal on behalf of the community, using gambling as a bargaining chip; that the brokered deal was brokered not by the straight friend of the community but by a gay elected official who is also a friend of the gay politico and supports the gay politico's run; that neither the gay elected official nor the straight friend of the community brokered the deal but, instead, did the bidding of the Righteous Feudal-nation for Illinois Humans; that said gay elected official suffers from various forms of dementia brought on by HIV or Hyper-Garcia-ma; that the Feudal-nation leadership (Prince Richard the Wrong and King Arthur of Alcohol) are actively spreading rumor and innuendo about the health and mental status of Sir Larry the Likable; that Prince Richard and King Arthur support the gay politico privately; that Prince Richard and King Arthur do not support the gay politico privately; that Prince and King will, in any case, withhold support for Sir Larry's election, or actively oppose it; that the gay rights bill has been doomed by Sir Larry; doomed by Sir Larry at the urging of Prince Richard; doomed by Prince Richard at the hand of Powerful Pate; doomed by all parties at the hands of all involved; and, that no one in the community, neither publisher, politico, politician, nor person(s), can overcome their fear of Prince Richard and King Arthur, smite them generally, or stop the feast of their own making, in which they and all of us are currently eating our own.

What an awful and terrible commotion, so onerous and so vociferous, that those on both coasts can't hear themselves think for the din and constant ruckus arising from the nation's heartland.

It is true and accurate that years ago, I inhabited the kingdom, so briefly, and experienced the artful and delicate consumption of our own--my own persona being eaten figuratively--only to retreat to sunnier landscapes, quieter political lifestyles, and more humane havens.

And now, as I look back on the constant feast and fear that is Chicago queer politics, I offer this, a modest proposal for those childish activists who rule with an iron fist and hollow heart, in the great city by the lake.

My proposal is economically correct, for it avoids the hours of squabbling, the endless fund-raising, the multiple salaries, and the constant need to keep people in power who require power for power's sake. These are, after all, halcyon times in our nation, times when we should be able to do anything. Instead we waste our precious resources and more precious lives on sustaining a system that feeds on itself, repeats itself, fights constantly for its own justification, and rarely, if ever, wins true freedom, influences truer friends, and defeats our truest enemies.

My proposal ends the heartache of internecine conflict, the constant harping of he said/she said, the ghostwritten letters, the confiscation of credit, the media manipulation, the late-night threats, and the meals, figuratively served, of our best and brightest.

My proposal unifies our community at the table of our own making, will strike fear in the hearts of our enemies, give us sustenance for the great fight, and keep us focused on future endeavors.

My proposal is simple. Rather than eating our own in the media, behind closed doors, in concert with our enemies, and at the expense of our power, we do so in actuality, in the pure light of day (or in the mellow light of Ann Sather's) with fixings, side dishes, wine, and a dessert of sweetbreads, taken directly from the carcass.

Yea, though this may seem a brutish endeavor for the weakhearted, think of the benefits that a meal made of activist meat would have on our community and our culture. No more behind-the-scenes maneuvering, no more infighting, no more backstabbing, no more pushy press releases, for every activist would know that the more poorly they were behaved, the more likely they were to be devoured! Imagine the money that could be raised and the unity that could be created by the annual gathering of hungry friends, eager to sink their knives, forks, and teeth into the well-done flesh of their antagonists, finally able to right years of wrongs and political malfeasance. And around the table, as the meaty juices dripped from the ravening mouths, actual strategy could be plotted for legislative victories and political triumphs. Candidates could be born over the sweet meat of manipulators, pledged truly to serve their community, above ego, headlines, and the lust for pure power. As we prayed over the steaming meat of our latest leader, we could feel the power of unity coursing through our beings, while personal political protein coursed through our veins.

Who would choose and who would be chosen, you ask? Let the belly be the ballot! A vote, of course, of the dues-paying members of Chicago's gay and lesbian organizations. Think! What a boon to the membership rolls if we could offer cannibalism as an inducement to join. Membership does have its privileges!

But, in the first year, I would recommend not a democratic vote, but a sacrificial stew, serving His Royal Highness Richard the Wrong as the inaugural meal. It may be a stringy, tart, and tough offering, but surely the fine Swedish cooks at Sir Tunney's Sather's could find a way to season the sting, soften the skin, and moisten the meat, hardened by years of hateful harping and heinous high jinks.

Surely the press coverage alone could lure Richard the Wrong from pulpit to pot, and his legacy would then be secured as the man most responsible for bringing us together when, in fact, He and the Master whom He serves have been most responsible for tearing us apart. And future historical tomes could trumpet: Garcia the Gastronomical! Leader of few! Tyrant of many! Meal of the masses! Finally, Prince Richard could actually take credit for an action and outcome that would be of his own making, not someone else's. That alone would make the feast a historic event.

Ah, you may think me indelicate and lacking sincerity, but I am sincere, for I would offer my own flesh as one to be voted for the table, having served (or attempted to serve) the great kingdom of Chicago. Yea, boil me or broil me, certainly saute me, sensationally serve me, and then get on with the business of fighting for your freedom.

I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold as to attempt an answer, to ask themselves, how different is this regal, democratic, and strengthening supper from the current lunacy that surrounds their community, where friend devours friend and progress is measured in the number of gay and lesbian organizers and activists fallen victim to the prey of their purported leaders?

Nothing is so civilized as a fine meal, served with panache.

Carnivores unite! Let's eat!

Thomas Swift

Former Executive Director of IMPACT

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