With crisis comes opportunity. As The Onion's headline put it, "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job." White people decided it was safe to pass up power for once. Know what could be better than letting an African-American take over during the worst economic disaster since Dad wore short pants? Getting one with "Hussein" in his name to do it.
I was reminded of that by the news that Johanna Sigurdardottir has become the world's first openly gay prime minister. It took the near total collapse of Iceland's economy. Until recently the Icelandic economy was based on money. Now it is securely founded on rocks. As rocks, for export, are never in short supply, Iceland's new economy can't ever get worse. So the heterosexuals figured this would be as good a time as any to put a lesbian in charge.
This is clearly a good time, politically speaking, to be an openly gay African-American woman with an Arabic middle name. Maybe we could get one to be mayor of Seattle. If not, I would like to recommend that we find a homeless person to do it.
The advantages to the rest of Seattle are obvious. Housed people will not be blamed as the economy goes further down the toilet. The homeless person gets the blame and the daily headaches of trying to save it. When it's flushed as far as possible toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a housed person can take the job back and take credit for saving Seattle.
Homeless people have been blamed for this country's economic problems before. The usual argument is a variation on the proof that hippies caused Nixon and Baby Boomers caused the Iranian Hostage Crisis. It goes like this: "If homeless people only got off their butts and got jobs and contributed to the economy and paid taxes like the rest of us, the economy wouldn't be in the mess it's in." For fun, read that sentence with the words "illegal immigrant" in place of "homeless people." If only those homeless people would take our jobs! But they can't, because they're already taken! And nobody wants to hire someone without a permanent address!
Sometimes people say to me, "Hey, Dr. Wes, why don't you run for mayor? I'd vote for you!" Hey, sure, thanks, and why don't I stick red-hot pokers in my eyes? But seriously, I am currently housed, so I'm not the one you want. You want someone who'll really appreciate the office. Someone who'll appreciate the office's electrical outlets, its roof, its walls, and its insulated windows.
You need someone to hold the office/potato until it cools off.
There's a precedent. Back in 1926, Bertha Knight Landes became mayor during a period of such political corruption in Seattle that most men were ashamed to be in the running. She cleaned up the politics of the city in one term, and then the city went straight back to electing men for mayor all the time, so no permanent harm was done. City Hall now has a room named after her, away from where the politicians meet.
Today we can take the opportunity to advance the cause of homeless people the same way. Who better to put in charge of the city when unemployment is the highest it's been in almost 40 years than someone who can't get a wage-paying job anyway? Who knows better how to live within a meager budget than someone who never has any money? In its time of economic shortfall, Seattle needs to be run like a homeless camp. They don't waste money in homeless camps. And the best person to get to run Seattle like a homeless camp is someone who is currently living in one.
Then, when Seattle's economy is as stable and sound as Iceland's, firmly resting on the ground, so to speak, the city can go back to electing housed men for mayor all the time and put the nightmare behind it.