The President’s Statue


Today I came across the above message in an image format, in Facebook. I remember reading a passage somewhat similar to this in an unsolicited email I received three years ago. It said:

Dear Sir:

We have the distinction of being members of a committee to raise $200,000,000 to be used for placing a statue of George W. Bush in the Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C.

The committee was in a quandary about selecting the proper location for the statue. It was thought unwise to place it beside that of George Washington, who never told a lie, or beside that of Richard Nixon, who never told the truth, since George W. Bush could never tell the difference.

After careful consideration, we think it should be placed next to the statue of Christopher Columbus, the greatest Republican of them all, in that he started out not knowing where he was going, and in arriving did not know where he was, and in returning did not know here he had been — and managed to do it all on borrowed money.

The inscription on the statue will read: “I pledge allegiance to George W. Bush and to the national debt for which he stands, one man, expendible, with graft and corruption for all.” (sic)

Five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel, “Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land.” Nearly five thousand years later, Ronald Reagan said, “Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land.” Now George W. Bush has stolen the shovels, kicked our asses, raised the price of Camels, and laid waste to the Promised Land.

If you are one of the few who has any money left over after paying off Bush’s huge national debt, we will expect a generous contribution from you toward this noteworthy project.

Yours sincerely,

National Committee on the Bush Bust

P.S. It is said that Michael Steele is considering changing the Republican party emblem from an elephant to a condom because it stands for inflation, protects a bunch of pricks, halts production, and gives a false sense of security while one is getting screwed!

The above email is an example of a piece of decades-old photocopied stories of a lore known as “The President’s Statue” pulled out from cardboard files, dusted, and refurbished with the names of present day politicians at the time of the 2008 presidential election.

In earlier times at every U.S. Presidential election between 1952 and 1972, before Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, or Nixon elected as president such bits of political humor with the postscript about changing the Republican party emblem have circulated.

Folklorist Alan Dundes in his article titled “The President’s Statue and the Promised Land,” provided instances featuring presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower dating 1948 and 1961, respectively:

The following item was collected in Bloomington, Indiana, in February, 1962:

Dear Friend:

We have the distinguished honor of being members of the committee to raise fifty million dollars to be used for placing a statue of John F . Kennedy in the Hall of Fame, Washington, D.C.

This committee was in quite a quandary about selecting the proper location for the statue. It was thought not wise to place it beside that of George Washington, who never told a lie, nor beside that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who never told the truth, since John F . Kennedy can never tell the difference.

After careful consideration, we think it should be placed beside the statue of Christopher Columbus, the greatest New Dealer of them all, in that he started out not knowing where he was going, and in arriving, did not know where he was, and in returning, did not know where he had been, and managed to do it all on borrowed money.

The inscription on the statue will read:

“I pledge allegiance to John F. Kennedy and to the national debt for which he stands, one man, expendable, with graft and corruption for all.”

Five thousand years ago, Moeses said to the children of Israel, “Pickup yuur shovel, mount your camels and asses, and I will lead you to the Promised Land.” Nearly five thousand years later Roosevelt said, “Lay down your shovels, light up a Camel, sit on your ass; this is the Promised Land. ” Now Kennedy is attempting to steal your shovel, raise the price of Camels, kick your ass, and tell you there ain’t no Promised Land.

If you are one of those few with money left after paying taxes, we will expect a generous contribution from you for this very worthwhile project.

Sincerely,
The Committee

The above item is actually a combination of at least two separate jokes: the Presidents statue and the promised land. These stories occur independently.

A version of the promised land collected in Bloomington in 1961 ended with Eisenhower:

King Saul said unto his people 15,000 years ago, “Get off your ass, pick up your shovel, get on your camel and 111 lead you to the promised land.” Then in 1944, Roosevelt said, “Throw away your shovel, sit on your ass, light up a Camel; this is the promised land.” Then in 1959, Ike takes your shovel, sells your camel, kicks your ass, and says there is no promised land.

A version of the Presidents statue story collected in East Lansing, Michigan, in 1948, ends with Roosevelt:

A committee of admirers of the late president was trying to decide where to place a statue of Roosevelt in the Capitol Building. They decided it would not do to place his next to Washington who never told a lie. They also decided it would not do to place it next to Lincoln, because Lincoln was known as “Honest Abe.” The committee was very undecided, but after careful consideration they decided to place the statue next to that of Columbus, because he did not know where in hell he was going, did not know where the hell he was when he got there and did not know where the hell he had been when he got back. And he did all this on borrowed money.

Here I echo the words of Alan Dunde: “No doubt these anecdotes existed long before 1948. On the other hand, it is possible that some of the elements may be of more recent vintage.

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