When last I visited the matter five weeks ago, Norman the Auto Magnate was only threatening to summon up the punitive powers of a recall campaign against the hapless and increasingly-beleaguered Carlos the Arrogant.
What a difference a month makes: Now the Braman Bull has, much quicker than expected, accrued almost twice the necessary petition signatures to mount a Norman-dy Invasion of County Hall.
One of my fave cartoons, Parker & Hart’s The Wizard of Id, regularly features the foibles of a dwarfish monarch hated by his peasant subjects who frequently, churlishly protest, “The King is a fink!” One can almost detect the scent of fear permeating the Stephen Clark Center these days as Stormin’ Norman’s petition-and-pitchfork brigade draws up to the imposing castle to demand the fink inside let down the drawbridge, emerge, and abdicate already.
Come and get your peasant revolt on, folks! County politics is about to get quite rip-roaringly loud, vicious, and animated…
( * denotes actual quotes culled from several recent news sources.)
SENTRY: Halt! Who goes there?
NORMAN BRAMAN: It’s the Braman Brigade! Send out the king! We have this fortress surrounded. There’s no escape from the wrath of the local citizenry!
SENTRY: You cannot have the king! Now leave and return to your homes at once or you will be repelled by all the king’s horses and all the king’s men!
BRAMAN: Ha! SEND OUT THE KING! SEND OUT CARLOS THE ARROGANT BEFORE WE TAKE A TORCH TO THIS PLACE, YOU KNUCKLE-HEADED KNAVE!
SENTRY (turning to King Carlos): The mob is getting unruly, sire! Thousands of ‘em! They’re bearing PITCHFORKS! And TORCHES! And… VOTER REGISTRATION CARDS!
KING CARLOS (observing from the safety of a castle parapet high above): Oh, it’s just the peasants and that stupid old rabble-rouser, Norman Braman. “Full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing.”
SENTRY: They’re all stirred up, sire! Like a hornet’s nest! Never seen ‘em so angry!
CARLOS: Really? What else do you see?
SENTRY: Looks like they’ve got a cart with them!
COMMISSIONER BARBARA JORDAN (peering down from the parapet, through opera glasses): Heavens! That’s the one they pull the condemned in! To the public square in Bayfront Park to meet –
COMM. SALLY HEYMAN: – “Madame Guillotine!”
COMM. DENNIS MOSS: What we have to do is not allow ourselves to be bullied! *
JORDAN: There is a movement going on that anytime the commission takes action that certain people disagree with, they feel that by threatening the commission or threatening the mayor it will force the commission or the mayor to do what they want to do. By giving in to that, we’re giving in to tyranny! *
[COLUMNIST'S INTERJECTION: No, Barbara, you're seriously confused. That would be democracy.]
COMM. JOSÉ “PEPE” DIAZ (shouting down to Braman): You’re a citizen. You have a right. But you’re opening Pandora’s Box! *
BRAMAN: THEN LET IT BE OPENED!
CARLOS: (touching his collar) I don’t want to lose my head! Uhhh – ask him if he’d like my two county SUVs instead.
SENTRY: The king says you can have his county cars!
BRAMAN: I don’t need cars, you fool! I sell ‘em! We want HIM!
THE MOB (chanting): SEND OUT THE KING! SEND OUT THE KING!
COMM. NATACHA SEIJAS: Let them eat funnel cake, the ungrateful little shits!
MOSS: Listen, my colleagues. If they take our king off to the guillotine, they’ll come for us next! That is why we must band together to present a united defense! They will claim we are just as responsible for this county’s mess as he is and then they’ll demand my head, and yours Pepe, and yours Barb – ALL of us will be carted off to Chop-Chop Square!
(Carlos and the commissioners stack their hands, one on top of the other.)
JORDAN: All for one…
MOSS: …AND ONE FOR ALL!
SENTRY: Sire, they’re starting to force the door!
CARLOS: Katy, bar the door!
COMM. KATY SORENSON: Nuh-uh. No way! You’re on your own. I’m outta here! I’m retiring, remember? It’s your head they want, not mine! Buh-bye folks!
THE MOB (becoming louder): OFF WITH HIS HEAD! OFF WITH HIS HEAD!
SEIJAS: Haven’t we got a cauldron of hot oil ready that we can douse them with?
COMM. BRUNO BARREIRO: Or perhaps some more property tax hikes?
CARLOS (striking a defiant stance): I am committed to serving the people of Miami-Dade County to the best of my ability until my term ends. *
[COLUMNIST'S INTERJECTION: Or perhaps until they lop off your head?]
THE MOB (chanting even louder): LOP HIS HEAD OFF! LOP HIS HEAD OFF!
CARLOS: I have always been preparing for an election, and campaigns are great opportunities to cut through misinformation and get to the truth. *
SEIJAS: But your majesty, this isn’t your typical campaign! They mean to force you off the throne like they tried to force me off the commission, impudent mierda!
CARLOS: Which is why I’ve paid my attorney, Mr. Rogow, $26,000 to mount a court challenge to this silly man and his silly recall. Also, I will have you know I’ve formed a “Citizens for Truth” PAC. The beauty of it is that it will allow me to raise unlimited sums of money to fend off this unseemly assault.
COMMISSIONERS: Ahh, do tell!
CARLOS: Already – can you believe it? – I have raised over $54,000! Nearly all of it from my police buddies in the Dade County Police Benevolent Association. I knew they wouldn’t let me down! A friend in need is a friend indeed!
COMM. AUDREY EDMONSON: You are awfully fortunate to have some reliable friends in blue in your pocket.
CARLOS: I knew they’d come through for me, Audrey! Of course, it helped that we passed that 13% pay hike for them a while back. Clever, huh?
SENTRY: Sire, we can’t hold the door any longer! They’re BREAKING THROUGH! IT’S ABOUT TO GO! LOOK OUUUUUT!…
(The great door comes off its massive irons and hinges, then slams to the ground, as the sentries behind it get trampled underfoot by the surging mob. Pandemonium reigns as the masses storm the castle in search of their quarry.)
TO BE CONTINUED…
CORRECTION: I misidentified U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s state in last week’s column. It is Nevada. Apologies to the good citizens of Arizona; condolences to those of Nevada.