(en) Welfare v. Space Travel

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7 February 1997 STTF World Wide Wire Service DATELINE--State of the Union Exegesis

A wise man once said "Don't take away a lame man's crutch if you can't give him something better."

President William Jefferson Clinton has done one better: he's taken away the safety net for America's poorest, most broken-down families and given them something they can really use instead: interplanetary space travel.

We must continue to explore the heavens -- pressing on with the Mars probes and the international space station, both of which will have practical applications for our everyday living.

Why? What secret strategy lurks beneath this political genius with womanizers for advisers and a torrid history of marital infidelity? Could it be that this Jefferson Clinton has finally resolved the fundamental crisis of the American democracy: the discrepancy between de jure equality for all and de facto poverty for the many?

My fellow Americans, the state of our union is strong. (Applause.) But now we must rise to the decisive moment, to make a nation and a world better than any we have ever known. The new promise of the global economy, the Information Age, unimagined new work, life-enhancing technology -- all these are ours to seize. That is our honor and our challenge.

Yes. Space probes and race wars will go hand in hand on the Bridge to the 21st Century. Yes. Jefferson Clinton's plan is to absorb the anti-social force driving America's newest technology industries and to turn the spirit of "life-enhancing" alienation loose on the unwitting public-at-large. The road to the stars is now being paved with fiber optic cables. What "unimagined new work" could President Jefferson Clinton have in mind?

The "practical applications" of fantastic voyages to neverlands are only just beginning to be understood. The digital networks which thus far have divided the rich from the poor will now permanently release the poor man from the shackles of American citizenship.

But we cannot stop there. As the Internet becomes our new town square, a computer in every home -- a teacher of all subjects, a connection to all cultures -- this will no longer be a dream, but a necessity. And over the next decade, that must be our goal. (Applause.)

Our duty, as Americans, is to assist the President in his visionary plan to accelerate the very processes which are now debilitating our nation's oldest and noblest social traditions. Tear out the moments and places of casual communication: install the means for instantaneous gratification. Even the chronic loneliness built into an economy of constant labor (so that one may enjoy the consumer goods of the upper class) can now be remedied by means of intravenous Internet (yes, IVI):

And I challenge the private sector tonight to start by connecting every children's hospital as soon as possible, so that a child in bed can stay in touch with school, family and friends. A sick child need no longer be a child alone.

Without Food Stamps, Medicare, and the income supplements welfare could once provide a strained family unit, American children, the fastest-growing segment of America's poor, can now be assured the true conviviality that an ISDN hook-up with an inner-city public school can offer. We pity the fools who suggested that psychiatric and psychological relief centers be worked into mainstream American society: what America's dispossessed and depressed really need is a modem, a 900 number, and, as always, a faster connection between their terminal and the master computer of their choice.

Therein lies the clandestine plan of the Jeffersonian man who wants to be known as the "President of technology and children" or, alternately, "the Father of technology's children" -- whoever, or whatever these might be.

Like the promiscuous "Father of our Democracy" who begot the Lazy Susan, the Dumbwaiter and a handful of illegitimate mulatto children, this Jefferson Clinton's true legacy will be a race of disinherited miscreants. William Jefferson Clinton's slave children are destined to die in poverty; glorious man-machines, they are the abandoned offspring of a mind pregnant only with itself.

Copyright South to the Future (STTF) 1997

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