Every now and then Gadsden and I get together at The Bean for coffee and conversation about the declining condition of the country.
"Priests," he declared the other day, "are the answer."
"Priests?," I said. "You're not Catholic."
"Don't have to be to see what needs to be done. And that's to require that all candidates for public office have to be priests."
"What a dumb idea."
"Not al all. What's the biggest problem with government today? Graft. Call it what you will -- campaign donations, free speech by corporate persons -- it's still graft. And priests take vows of poverty. Et voila! No more graft.
"The second biggest problem in government is sex. You got your zipper problems, your foot in the bathroom problems, your page boy problems, your hooker problems, sex for favors problems. Priests take vows of chastity. Et voila! No more sex problems.
"Finally, you got elected officials ignoring the will of the people because of either problem No. 1 or Problem No. 2. Priests take vows of obedience. Presto! No more ignoring the will of the people."
I Said, "Something tells me it wouldn't work, Gadsden."
"Show me a single flaw," he said defensively.
"First of all, take the vow of poverty. If members of Congress, for example, couldn't accept salaries, how would they live in Washington? It's a very expensive city?"
"Faith-based initiatives," Gadsden said.
Exasperated, I turned to the sex thing. "Everyone knows that pedophilia has been rampant in the priesthood for years. Even the Pope finally admitted it. So much for the vow of chastity."
"Think Abu Ghraib," Gadsden said. "A few rotten apples . . ."
"Well then," I said, "consider the obedience vow. Couldn't that just as well mean that rather than having lobbyists call all the shots, we'd have bishops and cardinals calling them? Talk about theocracy! "
"Picky, picky, picky," Gadsden said. "The Supreme Court will handle that."
"A bunch of Catholics," I exclaimed. "What makes you think they'd control bishops any more than they control lobbyists?"
Now Gadsden was downright annoyed. "So then, smart guy, what should we do? Simply abolish government entirely?"
A customer at an adjoining table who had overheard our conversation tapped him on the shoulder with her Barretta 9 mm. "'Scuse me, sir," she said. "Care to attend a Tea Party meeting tonight?"
The morning wasn't a total loss. Gadsden paid for coffee.