Please enjoy this Christmas fantasy about a cranky old socialist who learns the error of his ways — with apologies to Charles Dawkins!
* * * *
It was Christmas Eve. Greedy old Bernie Sanders stirred in his campaign offices. He was toiling away, thinking of the partisan, divisive things he could say that his army of neckbearded virgin wastoids could carve up into Snapchats. Suddenly, there was a rapping on his door.
“Senator Sanders, may I speak with you?” said a boyish oaf, Robert.
“Oy vey! What is it? Can’t you see I’m having enough trouble thinking up new ways to talk over women?” he spat back.
“I was j-j-just wondering if I could get a raise for working on Christmas. You see, in the free market-”
“Meshugenah! The chutzpah! You’ll work on Christmas too, just like the rest of them. I do not celebrate that holiday.” Bernie said.
Robert sadly waddled out of the door while Bernie continued to toil away. But the night that came would be quite different from the dreamless, almost death-like sleep the Vermont miser enjoyed.
Bernie’s stupid nightgown blew open as he bolted up. A wind came through his disgusting room and knocked his asinine old man nightcap off his head.
“Has Elijah returned?” he shouted, confused as he always was.
A bald, goateed man in a frumpy suit was before Bernie. He was covered in red tape.
“Oh my G-d! Paul!” Bernie shouted.
“Yes, Bernie. It’s me, your old Senate colleague Paul Wellstone. I’m here to warn you about what will happen if you continue in this path….our path.” said the Minnesotan apparition.
“But Paul, you’re dead!” Bernie said, typically unable to understand any situation he’s in.
“Bernie, I must haunt this earth carrying red tape forever because of my obsession with big government, gridlock, and bureaucracy.”
“But Paul! That was our pledge! We would ignore everyday Americans and their desires for balanced budgets and sensible entitlement reform!”
“Bernie…you will be visited by three spirits tonight. With luck they will convince you to change course. It’s not too late for you, as it is for me,” Wellstone said glumly.
“Ah! No! Paul!” Bernie was still unable to process that shouting does not solve problems as Paul Wellstone’s ghost melted back into the ether.
A ghastly man in a wheelchair materialized through the wall
“Ah say ah do say, I never done reckoned I’d be hauntin’ a Yankee! Ah declare ah am the Ghost of Christmas Past,” he said.
“George Wallace!? Oy gavult…I only respect your ability to harm major parties that represent most Americans,” Bernie said, his repulsive body still exposed by the ghost wind.
“Ah did not come for no policy debate here Bernie. Ah saw the errors of mah ways. Now ah will show you…your past….”
Before he knew it, Bernie was in a familiar setting: the city hall of Burlington, Vermont.
“Why are we here? I was mayor here, that was a long time ago,” Bernie said.
“Why my little chickadee, we are in a long time ago.”
A slightly younger-looking but equally grotesque Bernie Sanders took the stage. He had more hair to be unkempt at this juncture of yesteryear.
“And I say, that we, as Burlington, do not stand with the Contras!” the younger idiot yelled to Burlington City Council.
A voice came forth from the crowd.
“But Mayor Sanders, it’s Christmas. Aren’t the Contras of Nicaragua fighting godless Sandinistas? Do not we owe them at least some respect as fellow Christians on the day of Christ’s birth?”
A grim smile creeped across Mayor Sanders’ face.
“I do not uh, celebrate that particular holiday.”
“Yes, Christmas 1985, this was a great day. I stood up to Reagan and the Contras,” said the older Sanders to Governor Wallace.
“Are you sure it was, yankie?” Wallace replied.
They were transported to a small schoolhouse right on the outskirts of Burlington. Inside, a boy who couldn’t have been older than 6 was crying at his desk. The teacher, whose buxom body was contained by her respectable work dress, was comforting him.
“I’m sorry, Todd. Mayor Sanders says we can’t send Christmas cards to the Contras,” she said.
“But my dad says that they’re heroes! Isn’t this what Christmas is about?” he sobbed.
“Big deal!” interjected Bernie. “Kids are taught to idolize fascists by big crooks in Washington all the time. If we let kids’ tears dictate policy, we’d be invading Candyland!” The moronic Senator looked around for applause, but as he was in a metaphysical time travel state, his entitled cretin supporters were nowhere around.
“If you let kids dictate policy, you would make the country care about the deficit,” shot back the Alabaman.
“Now ah say boy, if we were to show you every damn Christmas you ruined with your nonsense, ah would be monopolizing your time. But you done got other lessons to learn, y’all hear? The Ghost of Christmas Present, he gon’ be a real familiar face.”
Bernie was transported back to his den, one unbefitting an elected official seeking to portray an image of leadership and class.
“My friend, I hope that all of us, regardless of faith or party, can appreciate what you’re about to see.” The respectable cadence, stiffness in extremities, and winning but frozen smile was unmistakable. Fellow Senator John McCain had arrived for Bernie.
“You’re a warmonger. The American people are sick of paying for wars. 5 trillion dollars that c-” Bernie began, seeking to bore and annoy his war hero colleague.
“I’m not here to argue with you, Bernie. We have the morning speeches for that. I’m here to show you how you’re ruining Christmas for one of your most loyal workers.” McCain interjected with the confidence of a man who, even in his older age, could easily sock Bernie in the mouth so he’d stay plastered.
“I do not celebrate that holi-”
Before the candidate could finish his stupid sentence, the two very different types of old people found themselves in the basement of a modest two-story Rutland home. Sprawled out on the couch was Robert, the very campaign staffer Bernie dressed down the other day. He was hunched over a Macbook replete with stickers with incoherent slogans like “Feel The Bern 2016” and “Han Solo Bacon IPA.”
“It’s 11:30 on Christmas Eve, and you have him going over polling data. Why? For your doomed bid at the White House? How many more have to suffer for your egomaniacal vanity project? Hell, if you want to feel important, I’ll invite you to my house,” McCain said with his famous straight talk. Bernie bawled his fists, embarrassed at being utterly shut down by a true statesman.
“He works for me. With his help, millions of children can get the best holiday gift of all one day: health care,” Bernie said in a rushed, panicked tone.
“Can’t you see no kid wants that? Bernie, Robert’s an overgrown idiot manchild, and he doesn’t want that. He just wants to drink half a bottle of generic cough medicine and fire up Redtube, drift off when it’s done, and enjoy Christmas with his parents who rightfully hate him,” McCain shot back.
A hot shame rushed from Bernie’s feet, then to his withered loins, through his gut and into his face. For the first time that night, he had nothing to say.
“You have one more visit tonight, from someone very close to me. And for Christ’s sake, conceal yourself. That nightgown is at the mercy of the slightest breeze, you delusional codger.”
Bernie knew spirits could be haunting….but not hauntingly beautiful.
A statuesque blond was before him.
“Hey, so, I’m here to show you what stuff’s gonna be like if you basically have your way,” the stunning woman said.
“What is this, The View?” Bernie was used to talking over women, but this was future President Meghan McCain, not some pushover.
“If by that you mean is it enjoyable compared to a failed fellow traveler ruining an election with his bad attitude, yes. Come with me, Bernie.”
With a snap of those fingers that any man would give a leg just to feel gripped on his thigh, they were transported to a different landscape. Yes, it was Brooklyn, but not that of 2015.
“This is what it’s going to look like after two years of your presidency,” the tech-savvy beauty said with patent contempt and disinterest as she plugged away at her iPhone, no doubt writing a sizzling blog post.
A slow moving bloc of people replete with dead eyes and identical grey nehru jackets lurched through the once-bustling Park Slope neighborhood. The formerly dazzling brownstones had their windows boarded up. Coffee shops were shuttered. Every two blocks, children in blue uniforms dispensed bowls of beige paste to the stumbling citizens.
“What is this? What’s happened?” Bernie yelled.
“You killed incentive and creativity. Your partisan bickering caused the House and Senate to resign, so you just passed your economic measures by yourself. Now everyone makes the same amount of money, so there’s no reason to have baller apartments or bottle service,” Meghan said, a tinge of anger curling her full lips.
“No! This is a shande! A complete shande!” Bernie cried.
“It’s like, not too late. But it will be if you don’t–sorry not sorry–forget about socialism and start respecting the process like Pa Pa.”
“No…no…I reject the Little Red Book,” Bernie tossed and turned in his sleep one last time before bolting awake.
He gasped and leapt from his Craftmatic Adjustable Bed. Making his way to the window, he affixed his nightcap back onto his head to conceal his messy hair. He flung his window open and looked down at the street. To his surprise, Republican presidential candidate and worthless pissant Senator Rand Paul was making his way down the street.
“Goy! What day is it?” Bernie shouted.
“Why, it’s Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that the NSA has a right to-”
Before Rand could finish his sentence, a Mack truck skidded on a patch of ice and careened down the street, running him over. He let out a shriek as he was flattened by the behemoth, which turned into a dull moan within milliseconds. With only his hand exposed from under the tires, his fingers twitched then went completely stiff. The crowd let out a cheer.
“I renounce socialism!”
Bernie saw Robert, who dropped his coffee.
“You don’t have to work today, it’s Christmas! In fact, my entire campaign is over. I resign from the Senate!”
The cheers filled the street as Rand’s blood darkened the snow.
“God bless us, every one of us!” shouted the truck driver.
Merry holidays from The Dig!
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him [email protected] or Tweet to @carl_diggler.