Wednesday night I watched the debate with New Caledonia's first lady, my wife Ruth, at the home of some good friends and neighbors.
It had been a tough day for us.
Not three hours earlier I held the head of our not quite four year old bassett hound Leo in my lap as a vet tech administered the drug that ended his suffering.
This was particularly hard for Ruth who was there at the end for Leo as she had been four years ago for her golden, Eric, and three and a half years ago for our bloodhound Erebus.
So maybe we didn't track on all the hardcore statistics during the debate but we did have a pretty good gauge on the emotional temperature. I had taken the pledge not to harrangue the TV during the debate (much as an old actor might be encouraged not to pathetically harrangue a chair) but it wasn't necessary. Though frustrated by Lehrer's absolute incompetence as a moderator and The Willard's obnoxious insistance to have the last word on every topic, I remained subdued. Most of the time.
Ruth stayed and listened to the whole debate too, more out of politeness to our neighbors than for her own interest. If we'd watched at home she would have walked away after the first time Romney boorishly asserted himself.
Needless to say we are not undecided voters, but I was completely suprised by her reaction the following morning.
I'd texted her from work mid-morning asking how she doing but became completely immersed in my job. I didn't think to check my cell phone or personal email until mid afternoon. I was actually looking for the itemization of the vet's bill they promised to send. Instead I found an email from Ruth earlier that morning with the subject Life after a Romney Ryan win in 2012.
Details below the orange depiction of my knotted heartstrings below.
Of course I assumed she forwarded to me the snarky musings of some worthy wag.
After reading the first two lines I emailed her back, joking that if she had authored the piece I most desperately needed to take her out for dinner and (multiple) drinks.
When I had time to read the entire text, and after I fully absorbed the fate of the family in the last paragraph, I was completely blown away.
She had written it.
My dearest Ruth is a voracious and perceptive reader. Though a fan of science fiction and fantasy, she also reads a lot of mainstream and other genres. She is a very creative person, a painter, but she hasn't put pen to paper for more than a line or two since back in the dim and distant when we used to exchange mushy letters from several states apart.
I share her creation with you below, edited only slightly by myself with her approval to carry her points to their logical ends.
My future as I see it, set in motion by the Romney/Ryan win in 2012After establishing that Ruth had not gone out and bought a gun, we dined with the Capone family who made sure Ruth was served some fine brews with steadily increasing IBUs and ABVs.
It has been decreed that all True Power comes from the States, as approved by their Church Officials. Federal governance is but menial work, performed by indentured servants. The President is nominated by vote of authorized electors and selected by State Governors’ consensus. For years I’ve been denied entry to my local polling place because my party registration is not correct. They laugh me away because I do not have the required voter's ID card.
Now each State controls what they decide is important for its residents. Because each State makes its own laws, each State is different. As a result I now need a passport to visit my brother who lives in Minnesota but I have been refused a passport because I don't carry the correct Party's ID card.
I read in the newspaper that the State of Iowa was still fighting for the right to choose. These hopes too will soon be dashed, after the special election to replace their recently assassinated Governor. I'm told it isn’t important who wins anymore. The interim government has given to the Church all control in deciding which females are authorized to be birth mothers. You must apply to the church to get a birth mother ID card.
There are many job openings for men now because women must prove they can do the job better than any man who applies for the position. Women who dare to challenge this need to obtain a job application card, through their State Government Job Office, to apply for a new position or re-apply for their old ones. The exception is the position of housewife, which both Church and State declare proudly all women are free to be.
I don't attend the Church anymore. I can’t afford the mandatory 25% tithing. You’d think this wouldn’t be a problem, since I have no longer have any income. But because the donation level is based upon average income figures, obtained from the now defunct social security administration, I am now several years in arrears on debt to the church. In case you don’t know, canned chicken dog food does taste like chicken.
I use to enjoy walking in our National Parks. To me it was a sacred experience, like a visit with God. They are all gone now. Funding was cut in the first year of Their Reign. For the first few years big game hunting was a popular fundraiser for Party officials. Larger animals are hard to find these days but I heard just last week that there are no longer prisons. I fear that this will be a banner year for fundraising.
I steal a look at an old picture of my family, a precious souvenir I could be arrested just for possessing. My husband died of a heart attack while working to get State funding for our local town and was buried in the beggar’s cemetery. My oldest son, a teacher in another State, cannot be reached since he was detained by the Party for punching one of their officials in the face. My other son, who proudly served our States in countless military deployments to sites of un-American activity, died in the last conflict with China. My daughter is under surveillance by the Church because she still refuses to choose the right partner to wed.
Me, I sit here and watch. I keep my ears open. But don't get to close, I carry a gun.
I complimented her on her writing and told her it was a heck of a first page for a social fiction novel (there being not much use for Science under the Reign of R&R) and suggested that she could have a lot of fun fleshing out some colorful and quirky characters in the Resistance and plotting how they would take the country back.
Ruth only smiled and said she had it all out of her system. I asked her if she was sure she didn't have some energy left to do door to door or read a script at a a union local's phone bank and she just smiled and said, "I'll leave that to you."
But she has given us this to think upon. Extreme? Yes, but if the middle doesn't hold how far might this be from the truth?