Amoeba’s Lorica: Campaign Trial

Jay Benjay, Resurrection Party candidate for President of the United States of America, is resting at a secluded spot on the shores of Lake Michigan. A few days earlier, he had led a campaign rally in Chicago, during which he fed a crowd of 50,000 with seven packets of ramen noodles (two of them gluten-free), and then, as usual, he had gone away, alone, to recover his energies. His 13-member campaign-management team has caught up with him, and they sit down at a luncheon buffet table (no ramen noodles allowed) to discuss the rally and its impact.

Jay: “Well, team, that was a lot of work, but it came off admirably, I thought. My thanks for a job well done. I expect that it generated a lot of momentum for our campaign. Yes?”

Peter (Campaign manager): “Ah … not so you’d notice, boss.”

Jay: “You’re kidding!

Peter: “I wish.”

Andrew (Pollster): “Your approval rating is the same now as it was a week ago, before the event, at around 40%. Pretty much the same as your opponents.”

Jay: “That’s … incredible. What part of “Miracle on Michigan” didn’t they understand?”

John (Publicist): “Unfortunately, we only got around 2,000 exit questionnaires returned out of the 50,000, so we don’t have nearly enough information to go on. But of those 2,000, nearly 50% complained that they expected far better out of this campaign than ramen noodles. One geezer – I presume it was a geezer – cracked “A century ago, a Presidential candidate promised a chicken in every pot, and look what happened to him. Now we get ramen. We are coming down in the world.”

James (IT Coordinator): “X and Tiktok are buzzing with reports from gluten-intolerant folks that they got regular ramen, while gluten-tolerant folks got the gluten-free stuff and spit it out as disgusting. And Instagram’s got a ton of videos of supply trucks in the immediate vicinity of the rally, and asking rather loudly whether the miracle was all it was cracked up to be.

Matthew (Quartermaster / Events [Miracles] Coordinator): “Hey look. We did what we could. But bringing off an event like this without somebody seeing something, and saying something, is, like, a miracle.” (The other team members groan audibly. Simon Z [Crowd Organizer] throws a handful of beach sand at Matthew.)

James: “You probably don’t want to know about the Facebook hashtag ‘#priceoframen.’

Jay: “You’re right, James. But lay it on me anyway.”

James: “OK. The gist is, ‘one-off miracles are all well and good. But what are you doing about the price of ramen every other day?'”

John: “And about how many of those getting free ramen at the rally were undocumented immigrants, and what in the name of heaven are we doing feeding them?

Mary (DEI Guarantor): “And how many of them had gotten abortions?”

Jay: “Oy. Whatever happened to ‘welcome the poor, and the orphan, and the foreigner’ among us?”

Judas I (Chief Financial Officer): “The campaign budget? This ‘radical inclusion’ nonsense is taking money out of our coffers and putting it in the vaults of our opponents, each of whom has the good sense to appeal to a base that matters – namely, one that has money enough to matter to their campaigns.”

Jay: “Then why are we bothering to run? And haven’t I already told you how offensive I find that MAGA cap?”

Judas: “This cap represents the Christians that you are trying to reach.”

Jay: “Those ‘Christians’ haven’t got a clue!

Judas: “Suit yourself, loser.”

Peter: “I think the lesson learned here is that petty miracles aren’t going to have much impact. The real miracle will be to get people to see that they’re their own worst enemies, and respond accordingly. That, for instance, the high prices everybody’s wanting a cure for happened because everybody insisted on buying what wasn’t available on the shelves, and paying whatever price was asked. Instead of doing what was required and going without (omg!) until the supply chain stabilized, and prices with them. That, for instance, they form armed camps around topics that don’t matter rather than face issues that do matter, but will cost them money, time, and personal freedom. We have a lot of work to do to convince people to back us in the name of sacrificial unity, when it’s a whole lot easier, and emotionally gratifying, to practice selfish division. Unless, of course, you decide to change course and stage an apocalypse.”

Jay: “Don’t tempt me.”

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