A Secretary Is Not a Toy

As Trump stumbles through the ritual of a President-Elect casting – sorry, I mean, selecting – his cabinet secretaries, my stoner brain has been imagining General Bullmoose from Lil Abner being a perfect fit for Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of Defense, with Caldwell B. Cladwell from Urinetown as Secretary of Treasury, and Mister Mister from The Cradle Will Rock as Secretary of Commerce.

A liberal nightmare.

But then I thought, who would I choose if, god help us all, I was the President? So here are my picks, all characters from musicals, by the way… What would yours be?

Secretary of State – Angel Dumott Schunard. Could you imagine anyone better suited to be our “diplomat to the world”? You know she wouldn’t take shit from Putin or anyone else. And it would send a powerful message to the world to have a trans person of color in this powerful, high-profile position.

Secretary of Treasury – Billy Crocker. I know, I know, why not pick Alexander Hamilton? Honestly, I’m not sure I want a personality that big and that aggressive in my cabinet. Billy is a stock broker, but he clearly does not worship at the money shrine as too many of his colleagues do. He puts people ahead of money. He’s a problem solver. I think Crocker might be just the guy to stand up to Wall Street. Plus he’d make Cabinet meetings way more fun.

Secretary of Commerce – “Miss Mona” Stangley. As much as politicians pretend to venerate “small business,” have we ever had a Secretary of Commerce who’s actually a small business owner? Much less, a woman who’s a small business owner…? Like Angel, Miss Mona won’t take shit from anybody, and she’ll charm the pants off any foreign dignitaries. Literally.

Secretary of Defense – Superman. It’s true if you didn’t know it, Superman is a character in the 1966 musical It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman! He’s smart, level-headed, unemotional, knows the world well, plus he’s Superman.

Secretary of Interior – Johnny Appleweed. Just listen to him and see if you agree…

I suppose I should tell you something about myself since we’re going to be spending some time together. I’m I guess what you’d call a stoner, a professional you might say, and it’s such a fuckin’ pleasant thing to be that God laid it on my heart to strike out into the bosom of America, sharing the joy and good fellowship of the Goddess Cannabis by spreading the seed wherever I go, and leaving behind a little chewy goodness for my brothers and sisters and those in between.

As fortuosity would have it, my actual last name is Appleweed, so I was the obvious choice for the job. God provides me with the seeds, I know not exactly how, and I crisscross America planting the nutritious goodness of the marijuana plant nestled safely in the bosom of Mother Earth. Trust me, she don’t mind and on occasion has been known to thank me for it.

I can guarantee there’d be no oil drilling in federal parks with Johnny in office…

Secretary of Agriculture – Seymour Krelborn. Again, this seems an obvious pick to me. Who else in the world of musical theatre knows more about plants?

Secretary of Labor – Larry Foreman. As a 1930s labor activist, I couldn’t find a better pick for the Labor Department. Under Larry Foreman, we would see the return of labor unions as a force in this country.

Secretary of Health and Human Services – Caroline Thibodeaux. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what qualifications you’d need for this job. Wikipedia says, “The duties of the secretary revolve around human conditions and concerns in the United States… The Department of Health and Human Services oversees 11 agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, Administration for Children and Families, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.” As one of the people who needs the services of HHS, I think Caroline would be an exceptional pick to run the agency.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker. I don’t think you could find a man more in touch with and more empathetic to “the least among us.” According to Wikipedia, “The Department’s mission is to increase home ownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.” Sounds like a job for a crusading populist like Cry-Baby. After all, he proved you can beat the system.

Secretary of Transportation – Riff Raff. Again, an obvious choice. Imagine all the technology he could share with us!

Secretary of Energy – Leo Szilard. Again, lucky for me, real-life atomic physicist Leo Szilard is a character in the musical Atomic. So that was easy.

Secretary of Education – Hedwig Schmidt. I think Hedwig could teach us all a lot about how we teach our kids, what we teach our kids, and all the ways kids can be beaten down by the world around them. I can’t think of a better advocate for children and progressive education. Which means we’d have two trans people in the Cabinet!

Secretary of Veteran Affairs – Claude Bukowski. Another obvious choice. What other musical theatre character could understand the horror of war better than Claude? Who would have more compassion for our returning veterans?

Secretary of Homeland Security – Celia Peachum. Seems to me we need a tough, no-nonsense, shit-kicking, ball-buster in this job, and who better than Ball Buster in Chief, Mrs. Peachum? This new-ish department oversees the Coast Guard, the Federal Protective Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (including the Border Patrol), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Who could keep all those big egos in check? Mrs. Peachum.

Attorney General – Veronica Sawyer. We assume she’s going to law school, right? She’s smart as hell, strong as hell, and cannot stomach injustice. Veronica would be amazing as the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government. When Veronica enters in the final scene of Heathers, she sings:

Listen up, folks.
War is over.
Brand new sheriff’s come to town.
We are done with acting evil,
We will lay our weapons down.

We need that mindset right now.

Vice President – Alexander Throttlebottom. The perfect man for the job with virtually no actual duties.

As an artsy liberal, I am very unnerved by many of Trump’s picks for his Cabinet. This is my way of dealing with that, finding a better, or at least a more decipherable, world in my musicals than in Real America right now. After all, what did the electorate really say in this election? Trump won the electoral college fair and square, but 2.5 million more Americans voted for Hillary. Among voters who said the economy was their most important issue, Hillary won. Among voters who wanted a candidate who “cares about me,” Hillary won. And about a quarter of Trump voters said they didn’t think he was fit for the office. And, perhaps most unsettling of all, about half the electorate didn’t vote for either major party candidate. About a third of millennials voted for a third-party candidate.

Characters are always so much easier to understand than people are.

In case you’re not as hardcore a musical theatre fan as me, and you’re wondering what shows these characters are from… Angel/­Rent, Billy Crocker/­Anything Goes, Miss Mona/­Best Little Whorehouse, Superman/­Superman, Johnny Appleweed/­Johnny Appleweed, Seymour Krelborn/­Little Shop of Horrors, Larry Foreman/­The Cradle Will Rock, Caroline/­Caroline, or Change, Cry-Baby Walker/­Cry-Baby, Riff-Raff/­Rocky Horror, Leo Szilard/­Atomic, Hedwig/­Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Claude/­Hair, Mrs. Peachum/­Threepenny, Veronica/­Heathers, Throttlebottom/­Of Thee I Sing.

I love this Cabinet. I wish these were all real people and I got to choose the Cabinet. Out of 16 positions, ten are men, six are women (including two trans women), three are nonwhite, and two are aliens… actual aliens. Anything in the Constitution about that…?

This is how I deal with the encroaching Trump presidency. Judge me if you must.

Long Live the Musical!
Scott
from The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre http://newlinetheatre.blogspot.com/2016/12/a-secretary-is-not-toy.html

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