A Kumbaya kind of loya jirga
PORTLAND, ORE. — Enough already! It's time to end all the bickering and back-stabbing about our war against Saddam Hussein.
This whole Dixie Chicks uproar was the last straw for me. Yes, they were out of line when one of them popped off with a negative comment about President Bush at a London concert. But I don't think the radio stations that stopped playing their music helped the situation, and now the trio has struck back at critics by posing on the cover of Entertainment Weekly wearing nothing but their critics' words.
This cycle of escalating emotional outbursts and multiple public nudity will spin out of control if we don't stop it now. The US has called for national reconciliation in Afghanistan and Iraq, so why not take our own advice? A homegrown version of loya jirga is what I'm suggesting, a gathering of high-level dignitaries from the Screen Actors Guild, the State Department, the Country Music Association, Fox News, and all the other feuding factions of modern American society.
The festivities would be modeled after other well-known morale-boosting events such as Farm Aid. As executive producer, I'd call it "Rockin' for Unity" and present a star-studded gala to attract the widest possible TV audience. World broadcast rights would be shared among CNN, ABC Family Channel, and Al Jazeera.
Kicking off the show would be UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix performing a foot-stomping rendition of The Who's anthem to personal insight, "Won't Get Fooled Again." Before the applause dies down, media pundits Ann Coulter and Maureen Dowd would head to center stage where they'd be joined by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to strut their stuff in a disco-pop interpretation of the Sister Sledge hit, "We Are Family." The fun and fellowship would continue as actors Martin Sheen and Fred Thompson put political differences aside and do some serious robot walking as they reprise the unforgettable Devo classic, "Whip It!"
A truly global moment would be when Secretary of State Colin Powell teams up with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and French President Jacques Chirac for a multilingual version of The Sons of Champlain's classic of '60s solidarity, "Love One Another."
Good vibes would resonate throughout the evening, and a fitting finale would be provided by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Mr. Bush standing side by side for an a cappella duet of "My Way." At that point, spotlights would sweep the audience and settle on a seat occupied by the most famous errant motorist of the 20th century, Rodney King, who'd stand and repeat his famous plea for domestic tranquillity: "Can't we all just get along?"
As cheering erupts from the assembled crowd, the participants would march from the wings for one final display of togetherness. If the mood feels right, I might even call for a spontaneous group hug.
But only if everyone promises to keep their clothes on.