Shock Puppets

Where did all that stimulus money go? No one knows, really, but every now and then information comes to light about the bill’s beneficiaries. Like, for example, the fact that a Minneapolis puppet theater got $25,000.
What’s stimulating about sock puppetry? To some, that’s a silly question. Barack Obama displayed his ignorance of economics by saying that it doesn’t matter where the stimulus money went: “Spending equals stimulus.” And a representative of the puppet theater in question, In the Heart of the Beast, argued that “[a]n employed artist is as valuable as an employed computer programmer, employed plumber, employed contractor, employed construction worker.”
But the story here goes beyond mere government waste. In the Belly of the Beast is not just any puppet theater; it is a far left puppet theater. It puts on an annual May Day festival that celebrates the Communist version of that holiday. Check out the theater’s description of this year’s May Day event:

HOBT’s MayDay Parade, Ceremony, and Festival has always been rooted in two important traditional celebrations–the celebration of the Green Root of Earth’s green energy rising in Spring, and the Red Root of human work energy rising from mind, heart and hand.

That would be “Red” as in “Communist.”
TreeOfLife2009_Wojahn.jpg

Our MayDay 2009 theme celebrated the merging of the red and green energies of the world. We celebrated the great merging of the human social justice movements with the environmental movements to remember humans as responsible relatives of the earth.
As we experience the failure of our economic systems built on debt, consumer waste, the theft and sickening of earth resources, we gathered to rebuild an economic system that protects and sustains our Earth as a “Common Treasury for All.”

One’s natural instinct is to ask, “Who funds this claptrap?” In this case, the answer is, in part: You.
Currently, Heart of the Beast is putting on its Christmas puppet show/street theater. Well, not quite Christmas–it’s called La Natividad. The reviewer for the Daily Planet (I’d never heard of it, but it bills itself as “local news for global citizens,” which is a clue) was rapturous:

In HOBT’s version of the story, Joseph, at first played by a puppet, is a working man trying to figure out how to provide for his family, but has to worry about providing for his new wife. He is out of work and trying to find a job, which is difficult, as he is confronted with a host of accusations because of his immigrant status. Finally he learns that he needs to go to Bethlehem for the census.

I think Caesar Augustus decreed that all the world should be taxed, but the puppeteers wouldn’t want to suggest any negative association with taxation–that would be biting the hand that feeds them, or, as some would say, speaking truth to power.

After failing to find shelter from the neighborhood houses, Mary and Joseph are stopped by Herod, played by the appropriately nasty and thrilling Julian McFaul. Herod stands at a border crossing, complete with barbed wire, and forbids Mary and Joseph to cross.
The choir of angels, made up of volunteer community members, the child angels, and shepherds sing as Joseph pleads with Herod to let him and his wife through. Finally, the community on the other side of the fence break down the barrier through words of welcome, calling “Brother!” “Sister!” and “Bienvenidos!” (“Welcome.”)
It is hard to describe the emotional feeling of that moment when the audience passes through the border together.

I’ll bet it is.
You probably never knew that the Christmas story is all about immigration, but that’s the political perspective that your tax dollars are subsidizing. Remember those heady days after November 1994, when conservatives used to talk about “defunding the Left”? Suffice it to say that that didn’t happen; these days, we can’t even defund a criminal conspiracy like ACORN, let alone a Minneapolis puppet theater.
There are any number of arts organizations that could have gotten “stimulus” money, and I assume that quite a few did. This seems like a horrible idea across the board. But if “spending equals stimulus,” and an employed artist is as valuable as an employed construction worker, then why shouldn’t stimulus money find its way to National Review, a formidably literary publication, where Kathryn Lopez and her colleagues have been raising money from readers for quite a while now? Hey, if “spending equals stimulus,” then how about a few bucks for radio talk show hosts? Brian Ward and I have been broadcasting for free on AM 1280 the Patriot for years now; how about $25,000 to “save” our jobs? I’m pretty sure we have more listeners than the Heart of the Beast has customers.
When the government intrudes into areas where it has no constitutional business, the results can only be bad. Inevitably, political patronage outweighs all other considerations. There is no accountability; but then, if you believe that spending equals stimulus, then all spending is equal and accountability is moot. You might as well give free rein to your most partisan (not to say bigoted) impulses. That’s what happened in the case of the Heart of the Beast puppet theater.
You could say it’s a mere $25,000, a drop in the bucket when the federal deficit exceeds $1 trillion for the first time in our history. Or you could say that the Democrats’ sliding money to their far-left propagandists in Minneapolis is a microcosm of all that is wrong with our political system.

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