|The Cost Of Courage
Author: Ehren Hatten PM
The Healthcare bill has passed and the president is smug about it. Alfred's angry, furious, but then he hears Glenn Beck speak and understands the truth. He can't fight with his fists. Not this time.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - America - Words: 4,166 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 8 - Published: 04-04-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5868464
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I've been away a while and I've been trying to figure out which should I do first. I usually end up scribbling down random stuff that pops into my head as well as notes on what's going on in the world. I've also taken to keeping an actual diary again. I haven't done that since probably 2002, I believe.
Also, transcript taken from Glenn Beck radio show.
Also Also… if you've been reading all of these in succession, I must clarify that from now on Gilbert is alive and kicking and mooching in Germany's basement because we love our Prussia to pieces. So, yeah, I'm doing something I don't normally do and that's move outside of canon I've already established. Oh and the headcanon involved does include Israel/Prussia. Israel is one of my OC's.
The Cost Of Courage
Alfred F. Jones, the embodiment of America, sat silent and rigid in his chair across from the president. His expression was dark, angry, as the president's expression was light and rather amused. He was a handsome young man with clean-cut features and wore glasses that only barely hid the intense hue of his blue eyes, which were glaring with carefully controlled anger at the president of the United States of America. As America Alfred was subject to being everyone, all the people of the United States of America, including the man he hated the most who sat in front of him smiling benignly at him like some sort of king on a throne.
"As you can see, Alfred, nothing has changed whatsoever," said the president. He smiled more and held his arms out away from him in an expansive gesture. "No meteors, no earthquakes, and no uprising from the people," he said, "You said there would be bloodshed over this issue and there has not been one incident."
Alfred's fist tightened on his leg, which was bouncing a bit with his agitation. From the waist up he was rigid and from the waist down he was all activity. He imagined, for a moment, jumping to his feet and punching the president right on the nose, sending the man hurtling into the windows behind him and falling flat on his back as blood poured from his wide nostrils. To keep from making it a reality Alfred kept himself in tight order. Oh, he wanted to hit him. He wanted to wipe that smug smile off of the president's face, but it was just not worth it right then to get tossed into jail or interrogated by some federal official.
"Yes, I did say that," said Alfred slowly, choosing his words carefully, "And there won't be bloodshed. Not yet." For a moment it looked as though the president's expression became even more amused than before, but it disappeared quickly back to the benign smile on his dark face. "I told you that the American Revolution was started over lesser issues than you have given us and I mean it."
"This isn't the American Revolution, Mr. Jones," said the president. He stood up and put his hands behind his back as he walked around the oval office. "In fact, I'll tell you what this is. This is me and my people finally giving you what you have needed for a long, long time."
"Health insurance by law or you pay a fine? How is that keeping people free? How is that helpful? How is that constitutional?" Alfred's fist tightened until he felt his nails dig into his palm. "How is any of this constitutional?"
"The constitution doesn't enter into it, Alfred." The president stared at a painting on the wall for a moment as he spoke. Alfred only partially turned to see where he went before turning back to stare at the seat the president left. He could see other presidents sitting in that very same spot, other presidents who said various things that made Alfred happy. "This will make everyone happy!" some would say or "I want to do whatever I can to help you" others would say. Each time he happily went along with them. Though, he wasn't always so happy to go along with what they said, he still held respect for them as his leaders. This time, he felt no respect for this man whatsoever. All his respect flew out the window not long after he finally realized that something was terribly wrong. The people had voted in wolves wearing sheep clothes. He had allowed this.
The amount of despair in Alfred grew until he felt stinging in his eyes. He concentrated hard on not allowing it to go further. The president didn't help it, though. As he spoke, Alfred could feel the stinging getting worse, but he bit his tongue to keep it from coming out, staring at the desk in front of him and breathing as slowly as he could to keep from losing his cool.
"I told you listening to those naysayers was harmful, Alfred," said the president coolly, "I said that listening to such people as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck was harmful to the people, but they did not listen. And then these rallies that keep going on and on, they serve no real purpose, you realize. I don't care about them, you realize. They're nothing to me. The people at those rallies are really just a bunch of extremists coming out of the woodwork to be a nuisance to everyone else… much like roaches when you first move into a new home. They're unpleasant, but you get rid of them eventually and whenever they crop up again you just squash them as they come up. The people voted me into office and that's that."
The president looked around at Alfred and smiled that same, irritating, smile at Alfred as he walked toward him. "Are you sure you're America? It seems to me that you're somehow just one side of the whole and not the whole itself. After all, if you were the whole, wouldn't you be siding with me? Shouldn't you be siding with me, Alfred? That is what the whole wants, right?"
"As opposed to what, Mr. President," asked Alfred, his tone tight and wavering a little.
"What if there's actually a second you running around. That would make sense, right? After all, you don't agree with me on anything at all," said the president. "Perhaps the other you is elsewhere, the you that is the majority instead of the minority."
"I am the only one, Mr. President," said Alfred, his tone more in control than before. "Take that as a hint, sir." Then, Alfred stood and walked out.
"Maybe you can explain this to me. Clyburn now says Republicans are aiding and abetting terrorists against the Democrats. I mean do we have that video? Can you pull that video for me, please, Pat? Clyburn is now saying we're aiding and abetting terrorism against the Democrats," said Glenn Beck.
Alfred held his head as he felt the pounding inside his skull start up again. Now they were saying Republicans were terrorists? The unreality of it was becoming too much at once. He wanted to cool down from his session with the president, not get so riled up he was punching holes in his walls!
"What was his biggest campaign promise? That we are going for change—the politics of the past—the politics of fear are over," said Glenn Beck, talking seemingly right in Alfred's ear as though he were there in person. "If you're the President of the United States and you've just passed this health care, you've got to stop the debate on it immediately. You've got to stop all talk. So, what do you do? You immediately go for: These people are hate mongers, these people are racists, these people are violent, and anybody who speaks out on it is part of that category. He promised that he would never use the politics of fear."
Alfred remembered that promise and rubbed his face as he remembered that he was inspired by it. He remembered feeling that the man was a true patriot and a wonder to behold for certain. All the little things went by his notice, all the little things the candidate for presidency had said that showed what sort of man he really was had been there, but he had blissfully ignored it in favor of an attitude of "that man is awesome".
Alfred stood and watched the black man and his family waving and smiling at the people cheering. Alfred was thrilled to no end. This was how America was. Even if you were the poorest schmuck on the street you still had a shot to become anything you wanted, no matter the color of your skin or your political views. That was the American Dream. That was what drove so many to come to him for sanctuary. That was why people all over the world came to the U.S. so that they might find something better than what they had back home.
As he watched the family stand there and wave, he felt inside him a swell of pride. America was practicing its greatest act. The people elected a man into office and that man would be his leader. In a way, Alfred wanted to see his founders and see what they thought of what they saw before them in this age of mankind. He wondered if ol' George would enjoy the sight or if ol' Ben would be happy that the republic had thrived so well. It was a lot, but Alfred felt they would approve.
What about the woman who asked about her grandmother being given surgery for her heart because the doctor felt the grandmother's will to live was more important than the monetary issue and if the president would take "will to live" into consideration for his healthcare reform. The president told her that her grandmother's will to live would not be considered and said it might even be better to simply drug her up with a pain pill until she died.
How could he have been so blind?
And now it seemed the president was going for Alfred's allies as well, making friends, instead, with those who wished his people ill. Venezuela's dictator and Cuba's dictator both proclaiming America's president to be the best thing to ever happen to the U.S. The terrorists stepping up their attacks as the troops have been slowly taken out, seeing America as weak. The president apologizing to France and Germany for America being so prosperous in many speeches, as though America needed to apologize for his prosperity.
And then snubbing Israel's prime minister and offhandedly scolding Israel for not backing down on taking away her "settlements" in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was her capital! They weren't settlements on the West Bank, they were homes being built inside her borders! Then, the vice president paid more attention to the Palestinians, of course. What was that about? Palestine had been there from the start and on more than one occasion did his best to kill Israel before she could even become a nation!
Alfred stared at the little girl before him. She stood silently, almost emotionless, her skin lightly tanned from the sun, her brown curls pulled back in a ponytail and her hazel eyes clouded over and hiding whatever emotion she held in her little body. As he stared at her he saw the blood ooze down over her chin. Her breathing rattled in her chest as more and more of her people died. She was such a small thing!
She finally looked up at Alfred with those pretty hazel eyes of hers and spoke as the blood increased out of her mouth. "I want to be a nation," she said.
"You're taking a lot of damage, Israel," said Alfred, kneeling down to her level. He patted her head and pulled out a Kleenex from his sleeve which he used to wipe the blood from her chin with. "Why don't you wait until you've got more money and such to really defend yourself, eh? Isn't that what Mrs. Meir is doing? Getting money in favor of your defense?"
"My people have endured through centuries without a home. I am that home now," said Israel, her voice was that of a child, but the way she spoke was most definitely not. "I will endure."
Alfred smiled as he gazed at her. "You do that, kid," he said, "And I'll do everything I can to make sure you have that opportunity."
Alfred stood staring out the window in Amiel's home. Amiel Meir, the nation of Israel, stood behind him wearing khaki capris, sandals and a shirt that was tied onto her curvy frame and bosom. She had grown up since those days in the past. She had no childhood like the other nations, she had no slow growth over time like the other nations; she had grown up far too fast for her own mental health and it was evident in every way when she spoke. Alfred could identify with that, though. He had grown up quickly as well, though in a much longer span of time than Israel ever had the chance to.
She was quite pretty, too. Curvy, relatively short, she had a darker tan than when she was a child as well as longer hair, which she still kept up in a ponytail. Alfred could definitely appreciate her appearance quite a bit. He could also appreciate that the former nation of Prussia, Gilbert Weillschmidt, was getting very close to her. He saw a photo of them together inside a nice frame that sat on the nice table near him. Gilbert was grinning broadly and had his arm around Amiel's shoulders. Amiel, usually stiff and expressionless, was smiling prettily in the photograph. It was a great improvement to see her so happy.
"What is it you have against me, Alfred?" asked Amiel. She was always so direct when talking to her a person.
"Eh?" Alfred turned and looked to her with some surprise at the accusation. The pair of them had been strong allies since that day he met her for the first time.
"Your vice president has been meeting up with Palestine and snubbing my prime minister," said Amiel, those hazel eyes locked on him, "And your president keeps insisting that I cease my settlements in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is my heart. They're not settlements. I have not violated any treaty with them. They're perfectly within my people's rights to build houses there."
Alfred turned away, rubbing the back of his neck. He wasn't that certain what to say. She was right, but his president was the one doing it all and by all rights representing him to foreign nations. That included Israel. "You know I'm not the sort to back off from someone who's doing what's right by them, Amiel. I'd back you to hell and back. You know that."
"But your president doesn't," said Amiel.
Alfred rubbed his face and sighed. "Yeah… that's pretty much it."
Amiel looked away from him and sat down. She put her face in her hands and stayed still, though Alfred knew that she was hiding a great deal of emotion from him. When he spoke, he whispered toward her, "I'm sorry."
Alfred was broken from his thoughts by Glenn Beck still speaking on the radio. He looked to it as he listened. Glenn had been saying that he got to know the FBI fairly well for the past several months because threats had been sent to him and his family. "Please don't talk to me about the brick through your window. The only thing that I have seen, Dan, is that the list of this is a partial list—a partial list—and I would just like to give this to you. But the media will never report on this. The media—they'll spin it CNN as doing more today on the violence of the right," said Glenn, continuing, "Why would they do that? A, to set you up; B, to stop you from talking about health care and what are you going to do to stop it. They are setting the trap to make anybody who is against this bill an enemy of the State—a traitor, a terrorist, a violent killer.
"Let me ask you this: The tea parties have been peaceful and, yet, they're dangerous killers. Peaceful, yet, dangerous," said Glenn. Alfred sat back in his chair and drank his coke slowly. Glenn had a point. The president even said that the protesters did nothing that was violent. No blood was shed. Glenn brought up, as examples, the brick thrown at the democrat headquarters was thrown by a democrat operative. The man who bit another man's finger off at a protest rally had been another liberal. He brought up the G20 protesters being on the left. He brought up the radio tower that was blown up in Seattle was blown up by leftists. He brought up the SEIU people beating up some man for selling "Don't Tread On Me" flags at a rally. He even brought up the woman who killed her coworkers being one of the president's fans.
"There's a headline today, Beck's War, FOX host responds to passage of health care reform with violent rhetoric. This is what I said: The battle was lost but the war is not over. That's my violent rhetoric? That's my violent rhetoric? Now I can't even use clichés!" said Glenn, almost laughing, though Alfred could hear the exasperation in Glenn's tone. "Do you see the message being sent here? 'Shut up, because we will get you.' And let me just say this: You may get me, but you will not stop us. We will speak in—Do you know what? Do you know what, honestly? If I were in Cuba and Che rounded me up, I would hope that my last words against that firing squad or against that wall for speaking out would not be 'Please, please, please don't kill me,' but 'Long live the republic.'"
Alfred could feel his eyes stinging once more. He couldn't move, he couldn't think; all he could do was sit in his chair and listen to Glenn speak. He wasn't mesmerized like he had been when he heard the president speak back when he was little more than a candidate; this was something wholly different.
"You may destroy me, but you will have to kill me to stop me from speaking out," said Glenn, his voice strong, "You will not stop Americans from defending their liberty. When I say defending liberty, as I have said for a very long time—Gandhi was right. Martin Luther King was right. Peace will solve this. The other side may send attack dogs. While Martin Luther King had to face German shepherds, we have to face SEIU and leftist thugs. That's okay. We will continue to stand. We will continue to march forward. We will not pick up a weapon because our greatest weapon will be God. Ann Coulter had a building in Canada surrounded by people with sticks and stones but, yet, the mainstream media doesn't want to highlight that. They want the name calling highlighted. A great philosopher once said sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. The violence of the words 'Kill the bill'—right now the FBI has bill, just a bill on Capitol Hill. You know the bill that we used to watch on Saturday mornings? He's in protective custody now. We don't know exactly why people are threatening to kill the cartoon bill, but that kind of rhetoric just has to stop.
"If speaking out is dangerous, then, yes, I'm a dangerous man. If speaking your mind in America is somehow or another a problem, then I'm a troublemaker. But if you want to paint the Tea Party goes as violent, seeing all the violence so far not all of it, but most have been from the thugs on the left, the verifiable violence on the left. If you want to look at the violence of the Tea Party goers where I can't find it I hear naughty names, man, we would make really bad revolutionaries. Do you know why you don't want violence? Because if that's the violence you do, you suck. Look at the violence of the left. They seem to have a head start. Let's keep them, the leaders in anything despicable. It is not in the best interest of the republic—and I'm sorry to lecture you on that. I don't mean to you know that. You are not violent.
"We need, quite honestly, the Lord more than ever before in this country and he will come to our defense. He will be there with us. He will allow us to get through anything and to take any insults, take any blows to the body if we just ask Him for forgiveness for our sloppiness on what we've done to His freedoms. We were supposed to be guardians of it, and we've done a very bad job. Beg Him for forgiveness and ask for His help and guidance. He will part the seas, not for us but for future generations because freedom belongs to Him and He has been gracious enough to allow us to drink from its cup. It will not be lost."
Hot tears flowed slowly over Alfred's cheeks as he listened. He closed his eyes and held his head in his hands as he let that truth sink into him. Why would anyone say that Glenn Beck was a hatemongering man? Why would anyone say he was a horrible person that invoked fear and violence from his listeners? Just then he did nothing but proclaim that Americans should not fight back with fists, but with their words and ideas and votes. While Alfred felt he might go insane from the need to get rid of the very infection that was plaguing him, he had to agree that violence was exactly what the president was trying to get out of him. He was taunting him and prodding him, trying to find the exact spot to hit to make Alfred blind with rage. He was doing it to find the exact spot to make Americans fight back with fists and not with their heads.
Hope was what was offered, not fear or violence. The cost of courage was plain for all to see and laid bare for those willing to look and acknowledge it. It was a high cost, but an endurable one.