Faithful readers will remember that when we left President Tricky in our last installment of Philip Roth’s 1974 novel, Our Gang, he was about to strike at the heart of the shadowy network of pornographers that threatened America’s very existence. Here, in his “Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark” speech, the president announces his plan for a swift victory:
Now I know there are always those who would prefer that we take a weak, cowardly and dishonorable position in the face of a crisis. They of course are entitled to their opinion.
I am certain, however, that the great majority of the American people will agree that the actions I have taken in the confrontation between the United States of America and the sovereign state of Denmark are indispensable to our dignity, our honor, our moral and spiritual idealism, our credibility around the world, the soundness of the economy, our greatness, our dedication to the vision of our forefathers, the human spirit, the divinely inspired dignity of man, our treaty commitments, the principles of the United Nations, and progress and peace for all people.
Now no one is more aware than I am of the political consequences of taking bold and forthright action in behalf of our dignity, idealism and honor, to choose just three.
But I would rather be a one-term President and take these noble, heroic measures against the state of Denmark, than be a two-term President by accepting humiliation at the hands of a tenth-rate military power. I want to make that perfectly clear …
If, however, Copenhagen should refuse to negotiate in good faith by giving us what we want, I shall immediately order 100,000 armed American troops onto Danish soil. Now, quickly, let me make one thing very clear: this will not constitute an invasion, either.
Once we have overrun the country, bombarded the major cities, devastated the countryside, destroyed the military, disarmed the citizenry, jailed the leaders of the ProPornography government, and established in Copenhagen the government currently in exile so that, as Abraham Lincoln said, it shall not perish from this earth, we shall immediately withdraw our troops.