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Fear and Clothing
Writing about your dreams is a little like writing about your cat. Nobody is very interested. Since I have already ignored the cat caveat (just once, though), I might as well go ahead and tell you about my weird dream.

I am not going to relate a wild, disjointed adventure featuring all kinds of creatures and celebrities. Those kinds of dreams can never be adequately conveyed in the waking world. That’s one of the reasons they are boring to hear about. We all enjoy those kinds of grand scale, all-star events, but they just don’t travel very well outside our own subconscious. No, this dream was pretty simple, really. It was the naked dream. That got your attention, didn’t it?

Anyway, you know the one — you’re out in public somewhere, and all of a sudden, you discover that you are completely naked. Not a stitch of clothing, and people are looking at you with alarm. They are too nice to say anything, it seems, but the looks on their faces are quite telling.

I hadn’t had one of these in a while, but my reaction is always the same: brazen it out, pretend that everything is okay. No need to be concerned, folks, I’m naked on purpose. See how casually I’m acting?

I wasn’t exactly sure what meaning such dreams have, so I googled “naked dream” just to see what the head doctors have to say about it. Well, it turns out I am a sniveling coward with a persona shot through with crippling insecurities. Also, I am likely hiding some hideous secret that would repel anyone who found out. Of course, I already knew all that, but it is kind of sobering to have it confirmed by a panel of experts.

This might be the point at which you would ask, “Okay, he was naked and embarrassed. So what? Kinda funny, but now I’m bored again.” To which I reply, “Please, bear with me. I haven’t gotten to the surprise ending yet.”

In this naked dream, I wasn’t completely without camouflage. Apparently, I had been out shopping in my dream when the nakedness struck, because I was carrying a shopping bag. That is strictly a waking world deduction, of course, because dreams don’t usually make sense in the way we’re used to. And yet, it was sensibleness that made this dream so remarkable. If you don’t count the inexplicable attack of nudity itself, the rest of the nightmare actually made sense. In spite of my embarrassment, I took careful stock of my situation and settled on the best course of action.

Buy some pants! Right? If you need pants but you don’t have any, that is what you do. So I walked into a men’s store (in a dream, it’s right there in front of you). The guy behind the counter immediately knew what I was looking for. He didn’t ask why I was naked (too polite, I’m thinking), though he did shoot me a suspicious look.

I found a nice pair of blue denims. They looked as though they might be meant for a younger man, but they were 36/32…and they were on sale! Unfortunately, that’s where the dream ended, so I still wasn’t sure if the fit and style were quite right. But that is okay. The point here is that I had not panicked. I had confronted my problem and solved it — quickly, confidently, and in a flattering color!

Indeed, I am quite proud of myself. I may still be a craven weakling with a terrible secret, but I’m also a capable, can-do guy. In my dreams, at least.
Knowing Better
I am willing to admit that Marjorie Taylor Greene, the new U.S. Representative from Georgia’s 14th Congressional district, does not know any better. She does, after all, believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory that claims the deep state and powerful liberal politicians are cannibalistic pedophiles running a global child sex-trafficking ring.

I don’t think any of the aggrieved parents of those children has actually stepped forward to complain, but never mind that. In Marjorie’s mind, her online sources are unimpeachable. You wouldn’t expect her to know better about any subject, no matter how insignificant.

On the other hand, you might expect U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley would know better. And you would be fully justified in that expectation. Both attended elite private high schools and went on to study at the best universities (Cruz at Princeton, where he graduated cum laude and Hawley at Stanford, where he graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa). Both went on to study law (at Harvard and Yale, respectively) and clerked for U.S. Supreme Court justices. After that, they had successful legal careers and rose to hold public office at several high levels of government.

You’re damn right they know better. And yet, they participated in Trump’s transparent lie about a fraudulent election and clung to that lie unapologetically even after the Capitol was overrun by murderous domestic terrorists. All the while knowing better.

Many politicians make decisions based on their own political interests rather than on the good of their country. That is a sad truth grounded in their human weakness. It is rare, however, to see that weakness metastasize into ambition so naked that it becomes a thing of evil. They are not alone in their knowing better. With the possible exception of the QAnon believer, just about every pol who voted not to certify the electoral college results knows that their position is dishonest and dangerous.

I guess that we should advocate to have such people removed from office and forever shamed. That sounds good to me, even though that would leave Marjorie the whackjob in charge. On the other hand, at least we’d all be safer.
For the Greater Good
Here we are in a new year, and we’ve got our work cut out for us. There’s the pandemic, of course, and global warming, and the rise of authoritarianism, and…well, the list goes on. One thing that catches the eye, however, is the surge in worldwide poverty. And right next to that phenomenon, we can’t help but notice the corresponding explosion in the wealth of the world’s richest people.

One might be tempted to link those two data points and suggest that the rich thrive on the poverty of others. Or, you might be led to think that, under a capitalist system, that mass starvation and plagues are good for business. I will not go that far here (although it’s an appealing digression). I do, however, have some practical suggestions that might help bring some balance to this teetering misalignment.

Before I get started, I think it would be fair to alert the super rich about my plans for their wealth. Guys, we’re going to be needing that money. Not all of it, of course (we don’t want to kill your entrepreneurial spirit), but, like, 95%. Maybe a little more, depending on how things go. I hope you’re not upset. We wouldn’t do this if it weren’t absolutely necessary.

Don’t worry, you can keep your mansion. The chateau at the lake, too. But that island (you know the one, with the nuke-proof underground paradise with a thousand-year store of supplies) has got to go. You (or rather, we) can’t afford the upkeep.

Furthermore, it is only fair to tell you that we’ll be forced to take most of your annual income as well. Under my plan, the more you make, the higher percentage will be reserved for the public good. That just seems fair. I’m not saying that your effort to make more and more and more money is the cause of all the misery in the world, but no one other than your most slavish toadies in politics believes that it’s actually helping.

I know that some people (your toadies, mostly) will say that such measures would stifle your drive to compete in the marketplace. That argument does make sense — until we remember that you are, at heart, a greed addict. I’m not judging here, mind you. Greed is a perfectly natural human motivation. Even your obsessive, runaway avarice is part of the grand human scheme. In fact, I am counting on that mindless drive to keep you striving even if you’re only keeping .0000001 percent of what you haul in. It’s for the greater good.

The super rich, no doubt, will not see eye to eye with me on this. They might hesitate at first to relinquish their bloodstained, infected treasure. I get that, but I have faith in my fellow human beings. Reason will carry the day. So, in that spirit, let me just say to my hideously rich friends — we can do this the easy way, or we can do it the hard way. Thank you for your cooperation.
See the Light
Is that what I think it is? Is that the light at the end of the tunnel?

It’s still a long way off, but if you squint you can see it up ahead. There is what appears to be the carcass of an enormous lame duck blocking the way, but we’ll be by that in a bit. The smell of it, though, might be with us for a while. I’m going to burn all my clothes once we’re past it and maybe do a deep body cleanse.

Once we’re past the rotting hulk, it will still be tough going. There could be a cave in; those timbers look like they could give way at any moment. And (let’s be honest, given the year we’ve had) that light we see may turn out to be a raging fire, in which case we are all doomed.

But I’m trying to avoid such negative thoughts right now. It’s a new year and a chance for a fresh start. In fact, in this moment of hope and positivity, I’m thinking that maybe the light we’re seeing isn’t at the end of a tunnel at all. As long as we’re hoping for something good, why not go big?

That light could be something completely different. Like the first light of morning! And we’re all about to wake up and discover that 2020 was just a very bad dream! Coincidentally, the very same bad dream for all of us!

If we can just believe hard enough, it could happen!
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon