A US Election Day Parable – fiction by Joe Emersberger

What follows is a brief discussion between with The Prophet Who Looks Back (also known as “History”) and a regular US citizen.


You’re going to be mugged?


Tomorrow you will be mugged. That much is certain. Stay in all day. Go out. It doesn’t matter. You will be mugged.

I don’t believe you.

You know how impressive my credentials are.

Yeah I do, but what you’re saying is so frightening.

So you only want to believe nice predictions. I gave you more credit than that.

I’m sorry. You’re right. Just let me get myself together.

No problem.

Okay. What options do I have? What can I do about this?

Well I can offer you a choice of two different muggers depending on whether you choose to stay home or go out. Both of them are real nasty characters – totally hardened criminals. However, I think one of them (his name is Barack) might at least leave you with a pulse after he mugs you. I’m not saying he will. I’m just saying it is more likely than with the other guy -MItt. 

Oh my God I’ve heard of these guys, but some people say that Barack is worse, that the other guy just talks meaner but that he is slower and easier to run away from. Are you sure Barack is less dangerous?

Well, I can point to ….

You know what, never mind. I don’t care which of them it is.

What? You’re not being rational. You need to choose your assailant wisely.

It’s not that clear who is worse so I’m not wasting time agonizing about it. If I knew for sure one of them would leave me unharmed then that would be different. Since they’re both totally nasty fucks, just tell me which weapon and tactics I can best use against them. Prepare me as best you can to fight whoever it is.  I don’t want either one of these guys to walk away from me unscathed.

Remarkable. Most people assume they can only choose a mugger but not the option of fighting back. I have some excellent news for you. You’re attitude has altered your future.

It has?

You’re chances of walking away unharmed just shot through the roof. You may even walk away with their wallets. Now here is how you can fight either of them. They won’t see it coming….

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