MY WALLET – When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the only money found in his pockets was – get this – a Confederate five-dollar bill. Whether Abe was a double agent on the Rebels’ payroll is doubtful, but Fox & Friends is suspicious. The reason I mention this is, in the words of Capital One, what’s in your wallet? In my case it is a Union one-dollar bill. (They won.) On this bill is printed all kinds of things including a picture of George Washington, and for newcomers who may need help, under his picture is the word: Washington. Hidden in a seal are the words: Novus ordo seclorum, Latin for, “New order of the ages,” or for Sean Hannity, “New World Order.” A hidden code, so that may need changing. The bill also states: “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” Considering the rampaging national debt that we can’t pay and are passing on to future generations, that might may need updating. Maybe something in Latin like: Lotus fortuni, inheritus (Lots of luck, grandkids).
My fear for these and other changes is based on a suggestion by Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who was asked on NPR whether the words of Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus,” inscribed on a bronze tablet exhibited in the museum at the statue’s base, remain “part of the American ethos?” Cuccinelli replied: “They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor — who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” To refresh your memory, that part of the inscription reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Cuccinelli’s reply tells us a few things besides the fact that, given his name, his ancestors probably did not greet the Mayflower, but some of them may be sleeping wit da fishes. He is opposed to: (a) allowing in anyone who is tired, that is, arrives on any rubberized wheeled vehicle, (b) the poor, which includes school teachers, journalists and most of the Democratic Party, (c) huddled masses such as attendees at a rock concert, NYC subways at rush hour or between each play in the NFL, (d) wretched refuse who must remain in Baltimore, (e) the English language since we grammarians know tost is a simple past tense and past participle of toss. He also shows that (e) he is an idiot. Cuccinelli only wants those who can stand on their own two feet. This eliminates leg amputees.
His statement reveals a secret: There is a group working in the bowels of the White House, the Name Change Agency, whose job it is to correct titles, slogans, names and phrases to please the current administration. Soon the Pentagon will become the Military Industrial Complex and the Marines will sing, “From the walls ‘round Montezuma,” but the EPA won’t need to change its name because its building will sport a “For Sale” sign. In these days of political correctness, the Bureau of Indian Affairs should probably be renamed the Bureau of Native Americans or the Agency of Exploited and Persecuted Original Inhabitants, but under the Trump administration, look for the Unwashed Savages Bureau. So long, our national motto, e pluribus unum (out of many, one). We will have narcissus ad nauseam (out of many, me).
President Trump plays down or denies outrages against minorities, so the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice will become the Fake Noose Division. Meanwhile, the poor, beleaguered FBI, whose reputation is being destroyed, will retain its initials, but will stand for the Fake Bureau of Incompetents. Will the White House be renamed the White Palace? We shall see, but the Oval Office (hereafter named the Red Square) is getting a throne and Air Force One is getting a crown (or it might be called Air Force We Won). Smokey the Bear is no longer an endangered species. Actually, there is a bounty on him, according to the Deforest Rangers. When the NRA becomes part of the Defense Department, it will be known as the National Rifle Administration. Given that the White House and cabinet are filled with bankers, brokers and hedge fund oligarchs, maybe Occupied By Wall Street is a better term.
The Name Change Agency is working on other fronts. “Oh, say can you see? Those aren’t bombs bursting in air, that’s wonderful coal smoke.” How about this? “I pledge my allegiance to the President and to the Republicans for whom he stands, one nation under our God, more or less indivisible, with liberty and justice for almost all.”
Of course, renaming government institutions is nothing new. The Navy, Army and Air Force Departments were merged into the Defense Department in 1947, the year the Army Air Corps became the Air Force. The Coast Guard was formed in 1915 by the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service (est. 1790) and the Lifesaving Service (est. 1848). Coast Guard is shorter. The Navy had a department called the Bureau of Yards and Docks. It dealt with yards and docks, but as of 1966 it became the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. It deals with yards and docks. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) eventually became the CIA, although, like the FBI, it has been thoroughly defamed and insulted so much that soon CIA will stand for Clowns In Angst. The influence by the Name Change Agency may well extend to other sectors. Will the San Antonio NBA team be renamed the Bone Spurs? Will those building block toys be called Mar-a-Lego? Georgia, forget calling yourself the Peach State anymore. That’s a little too close to the possibility.
I look at my one-dollar bill more closely. Isn’t it supposed to read: “In God We Trust?”
Ashby is renamed at firstname.lastname@example.org