Ad astram: star-based politics

By Andrei Codrescu

I conducted an informal survey among my friends about the president’s plan to go to the moon and Mars.

“Last time I went to the moon,” Tiffany said, “was with my ex-boyfriend. We did a fair amount of moon watching, and then he ran up my credit cards and left me with about a jillion dollars in debt. Now I’m very cautious about guys who want me to go to the moon. I’ll go, but I’ll leave my wallet at home.”

“I’m kind of excited about Mars,” said Rodney. “It’s the planet of war and I’m a warrior just like President Bush. If I was our enemies, I’d be really scared by now; that’s a hell of a planet to wear on your shield. This is the real Star Wars, no more pussyfooting around with metaphors. In fact, I doubt if this president even knows or cares what a metaphor is.”

“It makes sense to set up colonies in space,” said the ever-rational Manfred. “We are running out of prisons on Earth and those planets are perfect for convicts, especially terrorists who can do hard time mining minerals with explosives.”

“Yeah, but what worries me,” said Cleo, who’s a feminist astrologer, “is the blatant machoism: if you go to Mars you’ve got to go to Venus. Half the people are women, you know.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that,” said Justin. “The president gave NASA extra millions, but he’s thinking about giving a billion and a half to strenghten marriage. Women will inherit the Earth even if they don’t get to go to Venus right away.”

“I can’t wait to hear the Democratic response,” said Jill, the political buff. “Howard Dean will want to go to Mercury because he’s mercurial, Dick Gephardt will want to explore Jupiter because it’s big and senatorial, Wesley Clark will claim Pluto because it’s compact and manageable, Al Sharpton will want Saturn because it has a lot of rings and John Edwards will want the whole Southern Cross. Come Election Day, there won’t be an unclaimed planet, and the people on Earth will have some hard choices to make. I’d invest in astrology now, if I were you.”

“Things have been heading to outer space for a while,” said Simon, the historian, “since Nancy Reagan, who consulted the stars every time Ronald Reagan did anything. Plus, he was a movie star and everybody’s been star-struck for a while.”

My friends went on like this for an eon, but these are the conclusions:

Watch your pockets when someone makes you look at the sky.

Watch your back when martial Mars is invoked.

Take mining in school if you have antisocial tendencies.

Prepare a court brief on behalf of Venus if you’re a woman.

Get ready for star-based political campaigning.

Be wary of the Republican practice of astrology.

In other words, watch out, watch your back, study hard, mind equal rights, keep your feet firmly planted on Earth and read some history. Here comes the November election.