March 4, 2009

Next up: the sacrifice speech

My fellow Americans, during my campaign I called for a new era of personal responsibility.

As your president, I am asking you to join me in restoring our country to greatness. It’s time to turn off the TV, roll up your sleeves and pitch in. (To be clear, don’t turn off the TV until I’m finished with this speech, so you’ll know what to do.)

I know that many of you are eager to help and have been patiently waiting for my call to action. Frankly, I’ve been dragging my heels because I’m a little nervous about repeating the mistakes of history. For instance, President Carter was the last president to ask us for meaningful sacrifice, and not only did most Americans ignore his challenge, but many of you chanted “airball” whenever he appeared in public thereafter.

Likewise, President Bush asked us to go shopping. But most Americans didn’t hear the challenge because they were out shopping at the time. Which just drove up demand for those big Tupperware bins, which economists now believe come from petroleum — which is what got us into this mess in the first place. It’s like we were deep in a hole and the president tossed us a backhoe. I guess that just goes to show that you can hold degrees from Yale and Harvard Business School and still be a few muftis short of a fatwa.

Both presidents meant well, but they erred by asking Americans for the wrong amount of sacrifice. President Carter asked too much. He wanted us to use public transportation, conserve energy and reject consumerism. What did he think we were, Belgians? Conversely, President Bush asked Americans to shop, which is like asking Chris Matthews to talk. Clearly a middle ground is in order. So here’s my plan:

First, I’m not asking you to shop unless you really need some organic, sustainable, antibiotic-free gear. And when you do, I want you to put your stuff inside those reusable cloth bags. We’ve gone post-racial, now let’s go post-paper and post-plastic. I also want you to install a smart thermostat and program it to cut back the heat when you’re sleeping or away at work. If you get chilly, try exercising or engaging in safe sex with a consenting adult. With the savings we reap from this program, I’ll give everyone who participates a free Snuggie, the blanket with sleeves. Hey, you know what else is comfy? Under Armour. We’ll see what we can do. So, that’s it: cloth bags, a programmable thermostat and bonus Snuggies. Oh, and if you’d try to remember to turn off the lights when you leave the room, that’d be cool.

Now, what about those of you who want to do more? That’s where my Sacrifice Plus plans kick in. Using Sacrifice Plus, you can tailor the amount of sacrifice to suit your personal needs. And with so many things so broken, there are many ways to help.

For example, if the environment is your concern, you might choose to subscribe to our Green Sacrifice Plan, where you’ll have a chance to take a hybrid bus to work and install photovoltaic panels on your roof. Act now and I’ll send you a Personal Beanie Wind Turbine that will charge your BlackBerry while you walk.

Or maybe the Middle East is your worry. If so, sign up for our Reconciliation Sacrifice Plan, where you’ll learn to speak Arabic, volunteer at a mosque or extend micro-loans to Middle Eastern women. Nobody ever said hope was easy.

If education is your priority, you can volunteer in schools, read to children and visit your great-grandchildren’s tax dollars. (Sorry, just a little StimPack humor there.) Worried about food security? Wipe those Cheetos off your chin and plant a garden. Concerned about healthcare? Stub out that Lucky and do some sit-ups for America. Here’s a fun healthcare game you can play: Sen. Jim Bunning thinks he knows exactly when you’re going to die. Try to prove him wrong.

And there are many more. I’ve got Sacrifice Plus Plans aimed at tackling all of our greatest problems, like energy, climate change, mountaintop removal mining, homophobia, poverty, war and the scourge of Maury Povich. So please, sign up today by visiting the United States Sacrifice Plus page on Facebook. Working together, we can restore America to its former glory. And even if we don’t, at least you’ll get a Snuggie.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.