My dear Congressmen both Republicans and Democrats I salute you. You have done more to sing my praises before the public than even I would have demanded of my own priests. You are truly my disciples. Statues should be raised in your honor amongst the saints of Folly. Who else, confronted with consequences that could undermine the struggles of generations past and the futures of those to come, of one’s own people who look to you for leadership in times of crisis, could act in such as way as to declare, no prove, my dominion. Look upon your works and wonder, and realize all that you owe to me, the Goddess Folly.
Who so old and nearsighted could not see what lies just beyond the horizon even when confronted by a mountain of facts and figures, examples not merely from the past but currently those of one’s own European neighbors who I declared so long ago my devoted patrons. The fact that your outstanding debt equals nearly three quarters of your earnings would seem to encourage some amount of observance of Prudence, my erstwhile rival. But you elate me, not only in your ignorance of prudence but moreover in your capacity to act so absurdly as to thumb your noses at the imminent threat and instead heap more loads upon the overhanging boughs.
Many are the virtues that serious, unamicable sages of the past have demanded of the leaders of nations: pragmatism and compromise, temperance and farsightedness, selflessness and compassion, forthrightness, dignity, and honour. But you my beloved have put the lie to their wisdom and turned away from the judgmental glare of these gaunt sellers of the goods of reason. You have rather indulged in the products of my divine boutique not merely sampling but stuffing yourselves on faction and absolutism, self-interest and greed, laziness and blind adherence to doctrine. Oh, I cannot wait until the next meeting of the gods so that I can mock the pretensions of Apollo and Athena with your offerings hung about my neck as ribbons and emblazoned upon my chest as badges.
But let me not forget, as my mention of Athena reminds me, to give thanks also to those masses who in their delightful intoxication of their own sense of worldly power as a democratic people not only elect, but reelect these my disciples to positions of power over them. A more fitting tribute from so many, from such a land of promise and hope, I could hardly expect, that it brings tears of joy to my eyes, and encourages me to continue as your Goddess, even in this age of science and technology, until the end of your days.
And so I’ll say goodbye. Clap your hands, live well, and drink deep, most illustrious disciples of Folly.
For those educators impressed by the pedagogical potency of Folly check out:
The Fool’s Pedagogy: Jesting for Liminal Learning at ojs.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/pes/article/download/1877/588
Related articles (published day after this post):
- David Brooks: Suffering Fools Gladly in NY Times
- Eugene Robinson: Our Clown-Around Congress in Washington Post