While visiting friends in Orange County, I became embroiled in a debate about the leadership qualities of Bush and Kerry. Coming from Berkeley, California, where Kerry is still derided as a fascist military capitalist involved in a conspiracy that kept Nader off the ballot, I found the discussion lacking in certain facts and details.
"But what about the written reprimands from his Superiors in Texas and Alabama for not showing up?" I asked.
"That is an out and out slanderous lie!" my friend screamed. "That is treasonous language and you should be careful what say around here, buddy!" My friend's eyes narrowed as he continued, "Everyone knows that Kerry had a master plan to alter W's documents!"
"Back during Viet Nam?" I questioned.
"Before, way before," my friend insisted, his eyes narrowing, "but Kerry didn't have the documents altered until W ran for Governor!"
"I see," I said, shrinking a little from my friend's bombast, "it must have been part of the master plan."
"I know you're still an unbeliever," my friend stated flatly. "I know you! Let's go to Sam's Club, there's a guy you should talk to while I get some more Simulac for little Tiffany."
My friend and his much younger and newer wife didn't believe in breast-feeding. They considered it un-Christian, maybe even sexually abusing their child.
We wove through vast rows of vehicles and parked his SUV across a couple of vacant parking spaces. My friend led me to a table near the entrance of the mega-store; "Swift Boat Veterans For Truth Signed Book Clearance Sale", printed on a banner hung behind the table. Stacks of books at the front of the table partially obscured the man sitting behind.
"In Jesus' name!" my friend called.
"In Jesus' name!" was the reply from behind the books. Rising, a smallish, balding middle-aged man reached out and shook my friend's hand.
"This is an old school chum," my friend introduced me, "he lives in `Frisco now and hasn't accepted Jesus in his heart. Plus, he still thinks Kerry is a hero!"
"Great!" the man's face lit up, "a chance to convert the unclean!"
The man's name was Millhouse and he was born in Yorba Linda. He wore an American Flag pendant over his heart and he carried a copy of the New Testament.
"You served in Viet Nam?" I asked.
"I served during Viet Nam," was his reply.
Looking at the stacks of signed books; I inquired if he was ever on a Swift Boat.
"I have been entrusted with the great responsibility to spread the Good News!" Millhouse rhapsodized. "The Good News is that Kerry is unfit to lead! He lost the election and he is unfit for the Senate"
"So does that mean Bush's military record proves he's fit or unfit?"
"The problem with you homos from `Frisco is that you blindly accept the liberal media bias!"
"First of all," I said, "I'm not from San Francisco, I'm from Berkeley. Second, there is no liberal media!"
"Then you're a commie homo and wouldn't recognize a liberal bias if Keith Olbermann lied on national T.V.!"
"So you really believe that Kerry lied to get his medals?" I asked.
"Read the book," Millhouse pointed at the stacks, "these guys served. They know!"
How can you trust these guys?" I also pointed at the stacks, "how can you really know that they're telling the truth?"
"I've met each one," Millhouse leaned forward, "I did the same thing W did with Putin. I looked into each of their Souls! I know they can be trusted!"
"Hmmm," I mumbled, "I think I'm getting converted."
"Listen you commie homo punk!" Millhouse spit, "I can't stand that elitist sarcasm! You just wait until our next books come out! Like the one that's being printed as we speak. It proves that W is God's emissary in the White House and to be against W is to be against God! Or the one that proves that the Earth is flat and we never landed on the moon!"
I started to back away.
"Or the one that comes out at the end of the month," Millhouse continued, his voice fading as I retreated, "it proves that America is more united and loved the World over, we have plenty of jobs and are much safer with W in office!"
© 2006 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswessen