Despite the dangers it presents, the crisis in Ukraine is ripe for satire.
A few days ago, I was overdosing on the war porn coming out of Ukraine that CNN calls “news” when it occurred to me that I should do something about this awful violence. I found my phone and called the White House. “May I speak to the President please?” To my surprise, they put the call right through to the Oval Office. I was shocked when I heard:
“Hello this is Joe from Scranton. Who is this?”
Me - Wow! Is this really the President? My name is Mark Fancher. I don’t know if you remember me, but I wrote you a letter back in 1991 – you know, when you chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. I was trying to let you know back then that Clarence Thomas was really bad news, and you should do all you could to keep him away from the Supreme Court.
POTUS - Oh yes! Hi Mark, I remember you well. I don’t really remember you, but I’m telling you I do because it’s good politics. How can I help you?
Me -I’m calling to ask you to do something about this war in Ukraine.
POTUS - I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. You see, this is a war between Russia and Ukraine. I’m the President of the United States and I have nothing to do with any of that.
Me -With all due respect Mr. President, give me a break. Back in 2014, you were right there with President Obama when you guys played a huge role in the coup that overthrew Viktor Yanukovych’s democratically elected government in Ukraine. Then, you didn’t exactly rein in the new government when it started attacking so-called separatists in the Donbas region. More than 14,000 people died. In fact, you didn’t lift a finger when the new government violated peace accords that were reached in 2015. All these things helped cause the tensions that have erupted into war. Say what you want, but I believe your objective all along was to install a regime in Ukraine that would be friendly to NATO and that would make it possible to militarize the Ukraine/Russian border.
POTUS - Uh…well…why would we do that?
Me – I’m just guessing, but perhaps, you were hoping that Putin would do exactly what he did. You know, maybe conclude that a war was inevitable, and decide that if war was going to happen, it wasn’t going to be on Russian soil.
POTUS - I still don’t see why you think the U.S. and NATO would have anything to gain from that.
Me -Oh, I don’t know. It seems to me that having Putin bogged down in a protracted war would have its strategic advantages. But I’m just speculating here. What I don’t have to speculate about are the benefits of war to you personally and to western capitalists.
POTUS – I’m just Joe from Scranton. I ride trains and do working class stuff. How would I benefit personally?
Me – You’ve got to admit that your performance ratings were in the toilet before this whole war thing started. And it’s conventional wisdom that Presidents can revive their support by creating a national crisis.
POTUS - So what’s your point?
Me – Facts are facts. You got a bounce in public support after this conflict started. Not only that, Presidents in trouble like wars because they give a boost to the economy.
POTUS - Are you suggesting that I planned this?
Me – Why not? Wars – endless wars are what imperialists do. All of you guys benefit from them. Just think of the mega-bucks that Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and all the other defense contractors are making and stand to make from this war. Also, let’s not forget disaster capitalism.
POTUS - I’m afraid I don’t know what that is.
Me – Come on now. You’re talking to me, not some guy in a tavern who gets his information from Tucker Carlson. You know as well as I do that corporate executives are more excited than a kid on Christmas morning about prospects for going into Ukraine after the dust settles to make huge profits by rebuilding the country at a cost of trillions of dollars.
POTUS – I’m not admitting to any of this. America is a compassionate defender of democracy. When we see people traumatized and devastated by war, we reach out and help.
Me – Uh…yeah…as long as they’re white..
POTUS – Hey I resent that. It sounds like you’re implying that I’m a racist. Don’t forget, Barack Obama is one of my best friends.
Me – I’m not implying anything. I just can’t help but notice that the U.S. has welcomed with open arms white Ukrainians crossing the southern border while turning away those from places like Guatemala, Haiti and other places who have been devastated by conflicts in their countries. I also can’t help but notice that while the U.S. provides all types of humanitarian aid to Europe and is very slow to engage militarily on that continent, the only type of “assistance” the U.S. supplies consistently to Africa is military involvement through U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The U.S. military is not only responsible for the destruction of Libya under your buddy Barack Obama’s leadership, but it has also killed so many in Africa with armed drones. Beyond that it just really bothers me that even though the war in Ukraine is essentially a war between white people in Europe, somehow those involved have found a way to insult, humiliate and jeopardize Africans. Those Africans in Ukraine trying to get out have been told to go to the back of the line. Worse still is the fact that your administration does great harm to Africans in the U.S. because even though we are an essentially anti-imperialist community, you confuse many around the world who are in solidarity with our struggle when you position Kamala Harris and U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as voices of NATO. We’re still trying to overcome the confusion Barack Obama created. There are many oppressed people who see black faces uttering imperialist swill, and they begin to wonder whether all we Africans in the U.S. are on board with that program – and I can’t blame them.
POTUS – Whatever you may think of us, we do the right thing because we are guided by a higher power. We pray daily.
Me – You mean you actually ask God to help you foment violence and plunder and exploit the world’s resources?
POTUS – No, we pray that he will cover his ears and close his eyes when we do those things.
Me – Then, who is this “higher power” that you are guided by?
POTUS – A group of bankers, CEO’s of multinational corporations and folks like that.
Me – Sigh…Well I don’t think we’re getting anywhere here. But before I let you go, let me say that if you played a big role in creating the tensions that erupted in war, you ought to be able to do something to stop it.
POTUS – Hey, I think you overestimate my power. I’m just Joe from Scranton. I’m just sitting on the sidelines watching all of this, just like you.
Me – Goodbye Mr. President.
POTUS – Hey Mark, one more thing…
Me – Yeah, what is it?
POTUS – This was kind of cool talking to you like this – almost as much fun as chatting with Barack or Jim Clyburn. Might you be willing to be one of my Black friends?
Mark P. Fancher is an attorney and the author of the newly published novel: The Negroes of Friends Village. He can be reached at mfancher[at]comcast.net.