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Solstice, Hundred-Percent Patriotism

[I got a pig bowl for Father’s Day, too. It’s shy.]

Here’s a satirical passage that I wrote for Mathematicians in Love yesterday. Bela has just arrived at an alternate Earth and is riding in a car with Cammy, a friend of his, native to this alternate world. They turn on the radio. It’s the summer solstice, June 20, and a full moon is rising.

“Oh, this news is gonna be perfect for you, where your head’s at right now,” said Cammy, putting her hand back on the steering-wheel. “It’s gonna seem like you’ve ended up in a sick, weird, evil alternate reality. Feel it, bud, that’s the world we’re livin’ in.”

The show had switched to a tape of Joe Doakes at a recent rally. “In these perilous times, our nation deserves a hundred percent Heritagist government. We can afford no less. Now, I don’t mean to question the patriotism and honesty of each and every member of the Common Ground party. But — if you buy a dozen eggs and one or two or three of them is rotten — common sense says you get your money back and a fresh dozen from the store.” His voice was dry and humorless as a locust’s chirp.

[A moon near the horizon looks bigger to the naked eye than it does in a photo. So I changed it in this photo.]

“What I’m saying is simple common sense,” continued Doakes. “Over and over, the elected and appointed officials of the Common Ground Party have let our people down — in our Congress, in our courts, in our state legislatures, and in our governors’ mansions. I’m proposing a hundred-percent Heritagist victory this fall. We won’t settle for a majority again. We’ve endured the sorry parades of Common Ground filibusters, seen our dreams die in the power-brokered special-interest Common Ground committees, and tasted the lash of the willful, revisionist Common Ground courts.” Doakes was a madman. But each time he stopped, his audience burst into wild applause. Maybe it was a fake applause track?

[The end of the longest day of the year means the slow return of the dark…]

“With complete control of the Congress and the state legislatures, we can use the constitutional power of impeachment to remove the out-of-control Common Ground judges,” rasped the mean little voice. “This is what the balance of powers stands for. With complete control of the Congress and the state legislatures, we will propose and, with the people’s help, pass a constitutional amendment to remove the out-dated notions of Presidential and Congressional term limits. This is what a stable democracy deserves. The success of the hundred-percent campaign will bring lasting homeland security, an end to legislative grid-lock, and an end to the tyranny of the courts. Our great nation deserves no less than the hundred-percent freedom that a hundred-percent Heritagist victory will bring.” The applause crested like a thunderous wave, with the audience members cheering themselves hoarse.

3 Responses to “Solstice, Hundred-Percent Patriotism”

  1. Mac Says:

    Posthuman Blues
    What’s the significance of the pigs? I noticed the autobiographical note in “Frek.”

  2. Rudy Says:

    Oh, I’ve always thought pigs were cute. My totem animal, I suppose. I like the way they look, their roundness and floppy ears, and the rich music of their grunts and squeals. In college, junior and senior year my nickname was “Pig,” which come to think of it, I cribbed from Pig Bodine of Pynchon’s V which I greatly admired. The nom-de-guerre matched the nickname of my comrade-in-arms Greg Gibson, who was “Dog.” The pig is the most intelligent of animals, don’t you know.

  3. Steve H Says:

    Sounds like the alternate world is just like this one. Ah, the perfect democracy: only one party. Heinlein had it right: “A managed democracy is a wonderful thing… for the managers… and its greatest strength is a ‘free press’ when ‘free’ is defined as ‘responsible’ and the managers define what is ‘irresponsible’.”

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