The alert public authorities in Miami are to be commended for discovering a new terrorist threat, a new fundamental attack on the safety of all Americans. A threat to our way of life, a threat to our economic security, a threat to public order. A threat so dangerous that it must be immediately stopped by a hastily passed public ordinance.

That threat, of course, consists of dastardly fearsome giant puppets and the wooden sticks that support them.

All across the country, at demonstrations, at public gathering spots, even in parades and carnivals, these giant puppets are being inserted into the public debate under the guise of free speech – how can puppets be covered by constitutional free speech guarantees when puppets, most of them, anyway, especially the giant ones, can’t speak!?! Miami politicians plan to ban giant puppets, large wooden sticks, and stilts. They are clearly on the cutting edge of opposition to wooden stick terrorism. They’ve decided to stick it to the protesters.

Miami is rushing to protect us from these horrendous creatures, waved on (get this) wooden sticks! Even worse, some of the dread giant puppets are augmented by gaudily dressed protestors on stilts, which are also wooden sticks! Do you sense a pattern here? Can you image anything more dangerous to our public discourse?

The authorities in Miami claim that it’s not the puppets, it’s the sticks – they are trying to limit the size of the sticks used, which effectively limits the size of the puppets. These far-sighted leaders understand that it is not puppets that are a threat to our way of life; it is only Giant Puppets on wooden sticks that pose such a threat. How clever of them to understand the significance of these blatant weapons of wooden terrorism. If we started searching seriously, we would find millions of these potential weapons, stacked in backyards everywhere, just waiting for some protester to come along and hoist them. We can announce to the world that we will find them, no matter what sacrifices we must make. We certainly have a better chance of finding them than we’ve had in Iraq, searching for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, other than the ones the U.S. has brought.

Maybe we should eliminate all restrictions on logging, so we can cut down all the trees and stop these vicious sticks at their source. This has the added attraction of fitting right in with Bush’s forest programs.

How can we let these horrendous beasts and their hidden supports loose on our streets, spreading leaflets and laughter everywhere they go?

Congress should immediately stop debating such minor issues as war and peace, prescription drug coverage, right-wing judicial appointees, and the massive and growing deficit. Instead it should pass emergency legislation to protect us from the threat of wooden implements of destruction, sign-support, and fence construction.

Left-wingers and liberals will cry about the Constitution and free speech, but how can they justify their indifference in the face of wooden stick attacks inundating the country and threatening the very fiber of our existence?

Of course, we will have to give up some freedoms in the name of safety. We will have to tear up our picket fences. We will have to stop using wooden sticks for our election campaign signs. We will have to ban all picket lines, lest they be used to sneak wooden sticks into our economic system. We have to stop this emerging new front in the battle against terrorism. We can’t let anything stop us, not the left-wing whiners about the Constitution, not how ridiculous we will look in the eyes of the world, not even common sense!

We must say, “We will be safe from wooden sticks, at all costs! Let the chips fall where they may!”

Marc Brodine is chair of the Washington State Communist Party. He can be reached at