The Back Page
Memorandum to John J. DiIulio, Jr.
To: John J. DiIulio, Jr., Director, Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the White House
From: Rich Malley
Re: A Few Good Programs
John—I know your office has been catching some flak lately, but you know how it is. Some people would rather curse the darkness than light a candle. There are plenty of great faith-based organizations out there that deserve federal funding, and lots more that could be whipped into shape to do good for the commonweal in less time than you can say, “Bye bye, social safety net.” Thought I’d toss you a few proposals for your consideration:
WealthWay Outreach—If the President’s tax cut package is enacted, it will create great hardships for a certain demographic cohort. Households with incomes over $100,000 will be faced with concerns over what to do with a sudden surfeit of cash. Strain will be placed on the traditional family unit as conflict ensues over whether to buy a really big boat or to jet to Capri. WealthWay Outreach will seek to ameliorate these conflicts through intensive family counseling in our planned resort-style Key West facility, and through matching block grants that will help spread the tax relief more fairly between family members.
Arctic Wilderness Fellowship—AWF is a faith-based organization that recognizes that much of what is wrong with our society, much of the threat to traditional family values, springs from an emptiness in our souls, particularly in the souls of oilmen. And recent research in the emerging field of petropsychology has indicated that the emptiness in the soul of an oilman can only be assuaged by the defiling of an extremely beautiful and fragile expanse of wilderness. Happily, the until-recently-sacrosanct Arctic National Wildlife Refuge provides the perfect location for AWF-sponsored retreats. With our federal funds, we will subsidize trips to the ANWR, where oilmen and their hired roughnecks can haphazardly drill for oil, despoil some natural beauty, and get closer to their God.
Bootstrappers—God helps those who help themselves. Has there ever been a more visible symbol of this in public life than President Bush? Folks have been saying, “Help yourself,” to him all his life, and he’s always had too much pride not to accept the spoils of his upbringing. And good Christian that he is, he’s always responded in kind in any little way that he’s been able. Like, say, providing access to hundreds of millions of dollars of state university funds for investment in private arbitrage schemes. Bootstrappers would build on President Bush’s example and use our federal grant money to nurture the scions of America’s wealthiest and most influential families. Perhaps they want to buy part of a professional sports team. Or, hey, maybe they just want to have a good time for a few years after college. Judge not, we Bootstrappers insist. We simply want to be there to say, “help yourself,” to these confused youths.
Cullers of the Flock—God created the heavens and the earth and all creatures great and, well, not so great. Let’s face it, in this free-market economy, some creatures can be a real pain in the neck when it comes to getting things done in a timely and profitable manner. That’s where Cullers of the Flock comes in. While maintaining an utmost respect for all of God’s creatures, we will use our federal funds to outfit hunting parties comprised of devout sharpshooters who will, in the most sacred and humane way possible, plink, snipe, and gutshoot some of the less desirable animals whose habitats range too close to prime, underdeveloped real estate.
All it will take to get these groups rolling will be a fat wad of cash and a dedicated, well-paid executive director, whose salary is not necessarily commensurate with his experience. My resume is available upon request.