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2008

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Election Day
Bill Abbott

The current messiah
Is tired of hanging on the cross.
He’s tired of drinking vinegar from a sponge.
He’s tired of his thorny crown,

So it’s time for the election process to begin again,
With all the world to watch.

The electable messiahs will line up and campaign.
“My opponent has lusted after women in his heart.”
“My opponent is a worthy man to crucify, but he has bore false witness upon me
          in his last commercial…”
Surprisingly, sin is only a small step along the road
To crucifixion.

And as the election approaches,
The character flaws will become even more apparent:

This messiah turns water to wine

For a small fee.
This messiah accepts contributions
From the lepers he has cured.
This messiah
Feeds multitudes of only registered voters.
This messiah, God help us all,
Isn’t telegenic enough to represent us.

And in the end, the messiahs with the least disciples
Will drop out of the race and return home,
And the front-running Christs will move up in the standings.

“If elected your savior, I promise
To give the working man a penance reprieve.”
“If I am given the right to represent you
On the cross,
Then I promise that you will never go hungry again.”

And the press will take pictures of posing messiahs,
Will show this candidate standing by an Easter bunny,
Will show that candidate trying on his own pre-made crown of thorns.
And the press will post stories about
How certain messiahs have done cocaine in the past, or
How other messiahs have accepted contributions from elected buddhas.

And the candidates will smile and wave, kiss babies and write scriptures
Because no public figure, no matter how holy,
Can bear to not have their story told.

And one will be betrayed by his own Judas
In exchange for a pouch of special interest silver,
And one will be doubted by his own Thomas,
And it won’t matter.

And on a Super Tuesday along the way,
Pilate will stand with the messiahs on a balcony
And the people will try to vote for the lesser of two evils
To represent them in sanctity,
And the people will walk away
With a taste of vinegar in their mouths,
With a feeling that they have sinned somehow
In electing any of these men as a representative for them
To their Yahweh.

And in the end, one of these men
Will be nailed to a cross and raised up
As the old messiah is lowered to the ground.
And one Mary will stand there and proudly say,
“That’s my boy.”
And the old messiah will stretch away the weariness,
And he’ll say one last thing
To his replacement.
As he massages the holes in his hands,
He’ll look up, mutter “Shmuck,” and walk away.