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Performer Mayyadda singing at the University of Minnesota Juneteenth Celebration “We Are The Noise: The Echoes of Our Ancestors” captured on Saturday, June 15.
Best photos of June '24
Published June 23, 2024

Shadow government offers chance to serve

In recent weeks, a news story emerged explicating the current George W. Bush administration’s use of an Eisenhower plan creating a shadow government to mind the shop should the course of world events get a little harried.

In secret bunkers somewhere on the East Coast, a group of apparently not really missed civil servants sit and wait for 90 days until relieved by an equally pasty-faced group of shadow elite.

Why the secret bunkers are on the eastern seaboard and not somewhere completely innocuous like Canada is beyond my grasp. I can only imagine the amount of overtime pay for these secretive groups sitting 24 hours per day in concrete bunkers, surrounded by an inspirational decor of military greenand overhead, phosphorescent lighting illuminating copies of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Perhaps the bunker reading list also contains copies of Antonio Gramsci’s “The Prison Notebooks,” and maybe an antique-paper-style reproduction of the U.S. Constitution. On second thought, who’s kidding whom? We left that silly old piece of paper guaranteeing a representational democracy on a pile of burning Floridian chads in 2000.

Many social and political critics have spilled deep wells of ink regarding the shadow government situation; I have read those essays with great critical attention. In the final analysis, I think most commentators have fundamentally missed the important aspects of the Bush administration’s “Continuity of Operations Plan.”

As with some other recent cultural gems produced by rampant American nationalist delusions (incidentally, thanks to those who continue to help my cause with the American Council of Trustees and Alumni), I am deeply hurt by one thing: I am not directly involved in the Bush administration’s shadow government. In no uncertain terms, I want into the elite group of bunker dwellers ready to ride shotgun with Vice President Dick Cheney when some counter-Americans need smokin’ out of their holes.

Brief pause: I am struck by the odd homoerotic overtones of Bush’s rhetoric when discussing military action. But to be clear regarding my commentary, I am not asking, I am not telling and I am absolutely not pursuing – since the grounds for expulsion from the United States appear rather shaky in our current historical moment.

To restate my central point: I really want to be one of the secretive civil servants locked away in the bunker, fantasizing about ruling with supreme power in a crisis state of martial law while sipping bottled water. In order to facilitate my dream, I have compiled the following list demonstrating my qualifications for the elite job of bunker sitting.

Since my father is a funeral director, the proper paperwork could be arranged so my 90-day disappearance would allow me to claim my own unexpected death, thereby freeing me from ever paying back any of my student loans and/or credit card bills. I am ready to die for my country in this time of national crisis, and nothing says qualified bunker sitter better than a dead man who’s still alive.

I did not vote for Al Gore, and I imagine that must carry some kind of political capital with the Bush administration. I do frequently vote in most elections, however, so that might be a problem.

I have never invested in Enron or any of the energy companies frequently stroked, er, I mean, “consulted” by the Bush Administration, thereby guaranteeing a balanced opinion on whether or not to smoke out the tree huggers with sniper fire.

As an actor proficient in mime and performance poetry, I could keep fellow bunker mates entertained for hours with my syn-co-p-a-ted verse and slow motion walking on invisible tight ropes behind glass walls. I’ve also been known to sing a show tune or two, but that might be crossing some lines, so I would refrain from presenting my interpretation of “Memories” from “Cats.”

I am a white, heterosexual, college-educated male who likes to wear cowboy hats.

Since 1992, I have subscribed to The New York Times, thereby guaranteeing my full and complete understanding of how the liberal media establishment operates.

In a few years, I will complete my interdisciplinary studies doctorate. And I think being locked in a concrete bunker for 24 hours per day with complete strangers would be an excellent opportunity to test my theories on group behavior resulting from prolonged exposure to explications of 19th century medical writings on human sexuality. A sublime experience for all involved – just ask my students.

I can lift heavy objects.

I never eat pretzels.

Assuming the entire world went up in flames and I was responsible for re-populating the earth with my pre-selected female bunker buddy, I could promise good results. For the sake of full disclosure: Sure I tried to work for a sperm bank once and got rejected twice because not enough Marines were reaching the beachhead, but that was a long time ago. I guarantee no more stems and seeds circulate through the old system that would cause plumbing problems to my bunker-ready body.

Now I know some people will say I am being too glib, a little too cheeky regarding the apparent constitutional issues involved during this time of national crisis blah, blah, blah Ö the ruins of Europe in back of me. Yes, yes, the issues involved are complex, but as long as the stock market stays strong, the axis of evil keeps producing the fruits of the devil and the Twins baseball franchise gets a new stadium – who really cares?

If Abraham Lincoln can suspend the writ of habeas corpus, then by all means the Bush-Cheney power-sharing agreement can operate a secret shadow government organization prepared to run a country legally required to hold democratic elections. The first President Bush did quite well with those situations in Central and South America during the 1980s, and I am sure the current President Bush can ask for his father’s help 24 hours a day.

Meanwhile, I hope to soon be deep within a bunker, fingers on various buttons attached to launch codes, thinking about more critically engaged times in American history.


John Troyer’s column regularly appears alternate Fridays. He welcomes comments at [email protected]. Send letters to the editor to
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