This story originally appeared in The jambalaya News on May 17, 2012 and was selected as a Finalist in the HumorPress.com writing contest for the 2nd Quarter of 2013.
Another Contraband Days festival has come and gone here in Lake Charles. The Buccaneers who seized the city for the duration have returned control to its duly elected officials. Here in Louisiana, this of course means that it is back in the hands of real pirates.
During Contraband Days, the City of Lake Charles operates under a unique system of government. A band of pirates who call themselves the Buccaneers land their ships at the lakefront, seize the mayor, and send him on a short walk, which is exactly one step further than the length of the pine board that extends from the side of their flagship. The Skull and Crossbones is then hoisted up the flagpole, and their captain—one Jean Laffite—assumes control of the city throughout the festival. This system of government, known as a “Piratocracy,” seems to be going viral. This year, for example, the mayors of five surrounding cities joined the Lake Charles chief executive on his briny walk. We can only hope that this trend will spread further, like maybe all the way to Washington, D.C.
Let’s face it; pirate rule would represent a vast improvement over the current system of federal governance. Our current representatives in Congress cannot even agree on a budget. If pirates were in charge, they would come to an immediate consensus, with the majority of federal funds earmarked towards grog. (The rest would go to gunpowder.)
Elections would be a thing of the past, which does not sound so good until you realize that it also means the end of negative campaign ads. Instead of debates, which have all the allure of a reality show about people who write Wikipedia articles, the networks would show the candidates engaging in swordplay while swinging from the ropes of a galleon anchored in the Potomac River. The losers would be drawn and quartered, or worse yet, dropped off alone on a D.C. street at two A.M.
True, Piratocracy is a one-party system. But that is not so bad, either, when you consider that the party is centered around a barrel of rum.
We would no longer have need for Homeland Security. No Al-Qaida terrorist in is right mind (if there is such a thing) would dare stage an attack against a country that flies the Jolly Roger. The Secret Service would also be obsolete, as the president (or captain, as the office would be re-named) would use his own crew for his personal protection. Of course, they would be bound to the same code of conduct, except that the only scandal would involve those who did not visit a brothel while on duty in South America.
The Department of Education would certainly see some changes. I could envision the “Race to the Top” program having its objectives revised to somehow involve a crow’s nest.
Those who want to do away with the Federal Reserve System would have much to like about a Piratocracy. There would no longer be a need for it. All of the government’s monetary assets would simply be buried, its location recorded with an “X” on a map that could only be read under a full moon through a looking glass of crystal that that is broken into three pieces and placed in the possession of the captain, his mate, and the quartermaster. In this way, misappropriation of government funds would drop to zero. On the other hand, Social Security recipients would need a shovel to get their monthly stipend.
So indeed, the changes brought by Piratocracy would carry some disadvantages. Take, for example, Medicare, whose rules would be amended to cover only prosthetics that are made of wood. And you can forget about subsidies for biofuels, as blending with gasoline would be considered a total waste of alcohol. And I don’t even want to think about the revised procedures for IRS audits.
Given such drawbacks, Piratocracy has a lot of hurdles to overcome if it is to become the law of the land. Those on the right would have to come to grips with Wall Street being converted a black market, where the shares of Apple Computer are valued in quantities of sheep and goats. Those on the left would have to accept the food stamp program going over to a system where recipients get daily rations of hardtack and ale.
For these reasons, I fear that the eagle won’t be replaced with the parrot anytime soon.