Jonathan Swift suggested that the solution to the Irish Problem confronting Britain during Swift’s day was to use a ready source of meat – Irish children – as a food source for the Mother island.
Or it was something like that.
(The contributing historical fact to Swift’s obvious irony was that the “Corn Laws” were in effect.
And those laws made food really expensive in Britain.
Except for one percent of the population.)
But I may be inventing all of this.
As for A Modest Proposal: I haven’t read it.
And that is good.
Because I take great pride in an ignorance fostered by not knowing about things that really intelligent and educated people know.
But Swift’s suggestion seems to me – if it indeed had ever been proffered – to have been a good solution to a vexing problem: too many immigrants.
Or maybe it was too many potential immigrants.
But what more facile solution to the problem of all those little scofflaw kids running away from mayhem in their native Latin American countries could we propose in 2014?
What more elegant solution to a need for meat for MacDonald's could possibly present itself?
Ol’ Ted Cruz has signed on.
Or so I think I have heard.
He has suggested that we use some of the portable sausage factories that McDonald's has deployed in South Texas and South Arizona as “a source of valuable protein for the American people and a means of eradicating the scourge of illegal immigration”.
After all the foo foo dust has settled upon the glittering generalities of how a “great nation” such as – the profferer of the cloud of foo foo asserted last evening – we are, one needs to wonder something.
At least I do.
What I wonder is, how do we use air power, which has been a major force in military “tactics” over the last sixty or so years as a suddenly reinvented “strategy”?
Understanding the meaning of the word “strategy” easily answers that question.
But no one anymore knows what strategy means.
So that is why the word is so misused.
Sad for about 330 million of us.
But let’s move on.
No point in crying over spilled blood.
The tactical success of air power shouts its strategic flaw.
It doesn’t and didn’t stop groups like the Viet Cong.
But I am dating myself.
But I will assert that in sixty or seventy years we have pretty well proven in the laboratory of the battle field that air power doesn’t win wars..
And our President, last night declared what I consider to be war, against the islamic nuts in – wherever.
So we are, I guess, at war.
So – how does this all come out?
There seems to be an interesting answer to that question.
But if we flail around long enough implementing this “strategy”– for long enough, the President will serve out his term and will be able to go on to the Presidency or Harvard – or, wherever.
Now, that is a strategy.
Once upon a tike there was a piece of the world that was different from now.
It was different from now because it occupied a segment of time five thousand years ago.
That is five thousand years ago from now.
That goes back to times that none of us of the internet generation can even begin to really comprehend.
We, after all, have 140 characters of comprehension span.
That doesn’t encompass much time.
But that distant time was also different because of the people that were part of that world at that time.
They had come in droves from somewhere, but no one knew where that somewhere might have been.
There were, of course, theories as to where that somewhere might have been, but those theories never attained the status of certainty.
They remained theories.
“They came from upriver.”
“They came from downriver.”
“They came from the Sea.”
No one knew.
But everyone had a theory, even those about whom the theories had been spun.
“The Lady of the Lake sent us here” could be heard among those.
“When Arthur died we left” was another common refrain.
Or, “Adrianna was once Morganna” was another commonly heard murmur around the campfires that were the center of the homes of the clans so murmuring.
It all went to little or nothing, but it added fiber to the cloth of the mystique of those people who were from somewhere other than where they currently existed.
In any event, those stories persisted.
And there was one other story.
It was known around the campfires, and even in the adjacent villages, as “The Tale of the Boatman”.
It was a sort of glue that was used to hold the other disparate stories, in all their variety, into a common starting point.
And that is where this tale, about to be told, commences.