A/N: someone's gotta keep trying to get word out. I could do these in journals, but I think it's far more effective to illustrate exactly how bad things have gotten with the aid of Alfred.
The American People
Alfred F. Jones, the embodiment of the people of the United States of America, a tall, relatively broad shouldered young man with clean cut good looks, blonde hair and blue eyes and a pair of glasses perched on his nose almost all the time, sat in his Washington, D.C. home watching T.V. as he was wont to do every day now to keep up with the news. He had to since his own president told him nothing, the "main stream" media said nothing and echoed the president like a talking parrot or a bunch of creepy children from one of Japan's horror games, and the congress said nothing but echoed what the president said. Or, if they did not echo what the president said, they said outrageous things and the president stayed bizarrely distanced from it all like he had nothing to do with it when his own hand could still be seen.
And worse yet there were still people who believed in him. They were hypnotized by him, hearing him instead of watching him. However, even if they heard him, they still did not listen. If they listened that would mean they paid attention to what he was saying, because what he said was often times more disturbing if it was actually paid attention to.
"I have not said that I was a single payer supporter, because, frankly, we historically have had an employer based system in this country with private insurers and for us to transition to a system like that, I believe it would be too disruptive."
The president said this on the healthcare proposals and yet previously he said, "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer, universal healthcare plan—a universal healthcare plan… a single payer healthcare plan, a single payer healthcare plan, that's what I would like to see."
The president said if one wanted to know who he associates himself on his policies with, he listed various good names, at least as far as Alfred could remember, of people who were quite knowledgeable in the areas listed. However, if one were to associate the president with people he surrounded himself with; one got the distinct opposite feeling from him. People like Carol Browner, a known socialist that when she was nominated her socialist logo suddenly disappeared from the website she was listed on. Or maybe Mark Lloyd, a man who said he was going to shut down conservative talk radio by putting regulations on radio stations that would make them pay until they could not support carrying conservative talk radio shows anymore and make way for public radio instead. That man was now the F.C.C. Czar.
"In Venezuela, Chavez really had an incredible revolution. A democratic revolution to be able to put in place things that were going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela," was one thing that Mark Lloyd had said on a panel. Meanwhile, Chavez was indoctrinating the children in Venezuela with anti-capitalism and promoting socialism as if it was the savior of mankind! The man was a dictator and he lauded anyone who hated capitalism! This man is the same man the president had gone down and made friends with!
The president's mentor was a 60's radical! The president was clearly friends with a known terrorist who was not the least bit apologetic about trying to kill people in a bombing and now was teaching children in college to think like him! He wrote in his book "Dreams of My Father" a passage that sent chills down Alfred's spine: "To avoid being mistaken for such a sell out, I chose my friends carefully; the politically active black students, the foreign exchange students, the Marxist professors and structural feminists, and the punk-rock performance poets."
"The supreme court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth. The tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change," said the president back in 2001 on a Chicago public radio station. The civil rights movement wasn't about redistribution of wealth! It was about civil rights and to redistribute wealth would be to take away from another's civil rights!
Not to mention that the president's friendly organization ACORN was in the crapper now even to the president. The organization had been proven to be corrupt with the aid of a pair of journalism students dressed up, comically, as a pimp and a prostitute. Well, to be fair, Alfred could believe the girl was a prostitute, especially with that nice ass of hers in those short shorts and micro-mini skirts, but the boy had footage of him dressed in a pimp costume. It was a Halloween costume what the guy wore and it was amazing no one caught the joke before hand.
The president said to a reporter that he had no idea that ACORN was getting a lot of U.S. taxpayer money to fund the organization, despite the fact that he had told them once, "I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career! Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registrations drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it and we appreciate your work!"
It was enough to make even the strongest willed person sick. Alfred was very strong willed, but lately it all had been draining him of his usual spirit. He dared not go see Mia now; he feared he would worry her when she had so much more to worry about for herself. Farmers getting their water cut off by the government and Representative Pelosi refusing to turn the water back on because the water shortage was disturbing the smelt fish and salmon further north. The farmers in that valley sent their goods to the rest of the country! What was more important: the fish or the people?! If you took away the produce of a country then they had to go buy it from foreign sellers and that was expensive. They couldn't afford to spend more money trying to get in fresh produce; meanwhile, the valley was turning into a manmade dustbowl thanks to the water shutdown.
As if to add insult to injury, in just twenty-four hours, Pelosi announced that a value tax was in the plans to be placed on companies at every step of their operation and then turned right around and said it wouldn't affect the middle class. Then, there was also the F.A.A. being granted $272,000,000 in stimulus funds to projects that fall below the agency's own threshold.
New York had a town hall meeting with a representative and the fire marshals wouldn't let everyone in because there were too many people and all of them chanted "stop printing the money!" The representative said, "The federal government would administer a public option health plan, just like medicare and Medicaid. The days of insurance companies dropping you, because you're sick, are over!" However, if one looked at a chart of numbers, the one with the most dropped customers for health insurance was medicare with 457,566 people dropped. Hundreds of thousands more people than anyone else!
In New Hampshire the administration announced that a thirty-five million dollar construction project was in the plans, however, it required union representation and forced non-union workers to pay dues and contribute to a union pension fund. Never mind the fact that only a small fraction of the construction workers actually belonged to a union!
And yet, that wasn't even all of it! In just twenty-four hours all of this had come to light and it made Alfred ill. He was even put off his favorite ballpark hotdogs he'd cooked up for himself. He thought about calling one of the other girls, maybe Virginia, since she was closer, or maybe call his twin brother Canada to vent some of his frustration out on. Georgia was the last person on his mind, of course; she was always very objectionable and aloof. In a lot of ways she reminded Alfred of his older brother England/The United Kingdom.
He wanted to cry. At least if he cried he might vent some of the frustration, but what good would it do? If he vomited he'd have nothing to really upchuck. If he just stayed in bed and slept, things would still go by at speeds that made him dizzy. He had heard on the radio the very thing he never wanted to hear and dreaded it for all its truth. The people in power were evil. They were evil like a virus was evil. Not a virus like a cold, but bad viruses like Ebola. They went in and disabled or utterly destroyed little parts of the system, multiplying and multiplying until the body hemorrhaged and liquefied itself trying to combat it. They knew what they were doing and they were quite obviously doing it because they wanted it to happen. It was frightening!
Glenn Beck was on the T.V. and Alfred sighed, turning the volume up on the television. At the very least, Glenn Beck gave him some hope that he wasn't alone in thinking the things he did. Hell, the man was more informative than any of the other news outlets ever thought of being, though he was kind of goofy.
"There aren't plans anywhere that I've seen to do the next great thing in America," said Glenn, "Although, that seed is lying inside the American people, somewhere, but the government is hampering the people who lead to that next great innovation that would transform us! We are the truck driver and our boss is destroying our business! We are about to lose our job and what? Start working part time at a convenience store? We can't afford the debt!
"The question: Why aren't any of the politicians telling you any of this? Well, I contend, because some of them don't get it, some of them are cowards and some of them have a fundamental misunderstanding about the American people. You are not stupid. You are not a coward. You can figure things out. Hell, these," at this Glenn floundered a moment as though uncertain of how to convey what he wanted to say and then continued, "this country is populated with people that changed the world! I don't remember reading about Edison saying, 'I did the light bulb, because someone from the government came and helped me out'! They didn't! We are brave people that have faced insurmountable odds and we come out the other side better every time! When the going gets tough Americans show up! I say it's time for Washington to tell us the truth! To trust us with our own future. Let me ask you this question: who cares more about your future? Washington or you? If you think I care about your children—I do in the blandest sort of way, in the collective sort of way, but I care about my children! You are caring about your children. Together we care about all of the children. What do you think they're doing? They just care about their jobs!
"They think you will not make the sacrifices required, they think that you're going to freak out and just can't cope with the bad news and troubled times. Well, I don't believe that! My gosh! How many times has this country had troubled times? Does the Civil War come to mind? World War I, World War II? The 1960s? We fought and won against the biggest nation in the world as ragged farmers in the American Revolution! We defeated slavery by fighting each other and then we helped rebuild ourselves! We defeated Nazism, fascism, communism! You're telling me that country can't pull itself up by its bootstraps and win this? Of course we can! We need honest brokers telling us the honest truth! The only evidence that Washington has that we are stupid, incompetent, lazy, can't make it without Washington..."
Glenn sighed and rubbed his head before looking to the camera again, chuckling hollowly, "The only evidence they have is that we keep electing them and then keep taking their money and then we don't hold them accountable, but that's all they have!"
Alfred, for once in a short, agonizing while, was sitting at the edge of his seat, his chest feeling lighter, freer. This man was saying the very things that should have been said all along and it gave Alfred pride in his heart to know this man was one of his own. It also arose in him a memory that the man was a big target as being phony or his parents weren't married or other such ridiculous things. The "main stream" hated him and targeted him for what he said and the questions he asked the American people to ask. Alfred had been asking them for a while, since the new president came into office. He could still remember that meeting like it was yesterday.
The president stared at Alfred with a clear frown on his dark face. Alfred just blinked at him curiously. Alfred had come to the white house to "welcome the new president and his family. The 43rd president had been surprised, but smiled genuinely and, at first, thought it was a good natured joke on him, but he realized soon after that it was reality.
Alfred grinned brightly at the president, trying to keep the man's sour face from affecting him or to at least try to reassure him that he wasn't trying to be malicious in his admission that he was indeed the embodiment of the American people. "Is there a problem, sir?" he asked. "I can prove it's not a joke if that's what is troubling you," he said, giving the president double thumbs up, chuckling. "After all, America is the hero of the world!"
"Why are you white?" asked the president in an accusatory tone. Alfred was taken aback by the president's comment, not expecting such a comment from such an awesome guy. But, hey, maybe he was just so disbelieving that he just didn't really think his words out! That happened a lot when it came to Alfred's confession. Alfred could remember one comment by one of the presidents that sounded a bit like "what's the badger's name?"
"I've always looked like this," said Alfred, smiling at the president still, still trying to reassure the man that he was serious, "If you want, you can ask my big brother England, or maybe Finland will tell you since he saw me briefly when I was a little baby. Or maybe France and Spain; they could tell you easily! Or even my twin brother Matt Williams who's Canada!"
"How can you be America when you're white?" asked the president. Once again that question. It was actually something he wanted to know about? "America is a melting pot of cultures. We're multicultural. As we are multicultural we have no real ethnicity anymore except the immigrants," said the president slowly.
"Well, yeah, but they'll integrate as well and, of course, that's what is so awesome about being in America! You can be anything you want and no one will stop you from doing it unless it's, y'know, dangerous or something," said Alfred brightly.
"So, you would deprive them of their language and culture to force the immigrants into becoming formless, faceless Americans?" asked the president in an odd tone. Alfred, for once, frowned at the president, uncertain where he was getting that idea from. Alfred was the United States of America and as such every person who was an American was an American, not an African-American, not an Asian-American, not a Jewish-America, not Polish-American, Russian-American, Irish-American or Turkish-American, but Americans. Sure, political correctness now said you had to call a person an "African-American" if they were black, but honestly, they never grew up in Africa and grew up in America, so why the hyphenation?
"Well, I wouldn't say they're formless or faceless. I mean, everyone has a tough time integrating and starting out, but, y'know, they manage and when they work hard for it they excel with time," said Alfred, "Americans are great, strong people!"
The president eyed him warily as though he wasn't sure if he should believe him or not. Alfred really couldn't understand the mild animosity, but then maybe he just didn't like such bizarre surprises or he had a bad thing happen to him when he was a kid that was a similar situation. Maybe he thought he was being pranked! The previous guy certainly got people playing gags on him and he enjoyed the jokes. All the W's were stolen from the keyboards when he came to live at the White House, some of the furniture went missing, but the 43rd president enjoyed the jokes and laughed them off.
The 44th president seemed to recover himself after a moment and then smiled at Alfred, though, strangely, the feeling didn't echo in his dark eyes at all. Weird. "I must apologize, eh—what's your name again?" he asked.
"Alfred F. Jones," said Alfred, grinning brightly again, "The 'F' stands for 'Freedom'!"
"I apologize, Mr. Jones, for being so rude. I must say that I had thought that if America were to be personified I thought it would be a colored person, more like of mixed race. Like me," said the president, "After all, as I said, America is a melting pot."
"That's true," said Alfred, nodding in agreement and then smiled at him cheerfully, "But I've always been this handsome! The girls all take on the more ethnic appearances of the people than I do."
"Girls?" asked the president in confusion.
"Yeah, every state is a girl," said Alfred, blushing a bit, "Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, California, etcetera, etcetera… They're all female. Louisiana? She's part black and part French! Texas and California have rather Spanish qualities to them, I guess. New Mexico and Arizona both have more Mexican qualities to them. Hawaii is rather Hawaiian in appearance and, hell, even Alaska is Inuit!"
"I see," said the president slowly, "And when do I get to meet these ladies?"
"When they can come over," said Alfred, "There's always a Union Meeting at some point in the month or year. I've also got the World Meetings to attend to as well."
"Sort of like the U.N. except only among the nations. You can't attend the meeting unless you're a recognized nation. Poor Sealand doesn't get a chance, but then, really, how can you call a rig out in the middle of the ocean an island nation?" said Alfred. "I sometimes bring a few of the girls over to see the other nations, since, well, some of the girls really like looking at the foreign guys." Like Alaska and her ever present crush on Russia. Oh, that had been a task keeping Alaska away from the World Meetings during the Cold War. But then she was also quite young through most of it and more prone to tantrums than she was now.
"What are the other nations like?" asked the president.
"Well, Arthur, he's England, is very… well… English and then there's Francis and he's very… French," Alfred trailed off, not entirely certain how to describe the others. "We're all the embodiment of the people of the nation, so we're all pretty much stereotypes, I guess you could say," he said, smiling sheepishly. "My brother Matt's pretty fucking shy, though, unlike me. He's got the same face, same build, same eyes, but he speaks really softly and has the uncanny ability to sort of… disappear like a ghost." At the mention of the word "ghost" Alfred shuddered visibly. "Anyway, when the girls come over they tend to keep little Sealand company while the rest of us sit in the meeting and discuss world problems and such-like."
"And what about the leaders? Don't they have a say in what happens?" asked the president.
"Well, duh, of course they do! I mean, we can't really do anything to stop the leaders from doing or saying what they want. Some of the other nations have even less say than others. But usually we get together in the meetings to echo the ideas of our leaders, or establish our resolution on something. The leaders have their meetings, we have ours. It's just the way it is," said Alfred.
"Are all the nations male?" asked the president.
"Well, no, of course not, but most of the European nations are male, yeah. Hungary's a girl, so is Belgium. A lot of the African nations are female, too; all hot women at that!" said Alfred, blushing faintly and chuckling. "Oh and India's a woman; also a really hot babe."
"So not all the nations are white," said the president, "There are black and brown nations as well?"
"Er—yeah, of course there are," said Alfred slowly, finding the question odd, "I mean, African nations couldn't be anything other than black, could they? Saudi Arabia's a woman and she's very Middle Eastern in appearance. Most of the Middle Eastern nations are men, actually. Israel's a chick, too, though I would hesitate to call her strictly 'Middle Eastern' in appearance. She's not wholly white looking, but then she works a lot in the sun, so…"
"How reasonable a person is Israel?" asked the president in an oddly careful tone.
"Amiel? She's a nice girl, a good girl. She's been dodging bullets since day one and, well," Alfred could still remember seeing her, white as a sheet, blood pouring over her chin from her mouth as she continually lost more and more people in the fight to become a nation state when she was little more than just a child. The image still haunted Alfred, frightening him inside, to remember the sight. She had been almost unresponsive, begging, pleading to him to help. Meanwhile, Golda Meir had requested the aid of the U.S. in the most moving speech he had heard in a long while.
"If the U.S. does not make a decision to help Israel," Golda had said, "Then by the time the U.S. does make a decision there won't be an Israel left to aid." The memory still chilled him to the bone.
"Mr. Jones," said the president, "Are you all right?"
"Ah, yeah, sorry, was remembering things," said Alfred softly and then he perked up a bit, smiling, "Amiel Meir is a very reasonable sort of girl, very proud. Unfortunately, I think having to fight for every ounce of peace she's been able to enjoy since day one has turned her into a very serious, very… quiet and kind of scary woman."
"Meaning, what?" asked the president.
"Well, she's always carrying some sort of weapon on her, be it a knife or a gun or a rifle. She generally keeps a rifle strapped to her back and a pistol on her side and I think a secondary, smaller pistol elsewhere in case she has to ditch the other two. Switzerland also keeps a rifle strapped to his back and I think he's even more frightening than Israel. See, Amiel's a nice girl, a really nice and very warm girl, but Vash is… a very sharp toned and kind of angry little Swiss who's also rather trigger happy. He once took pot shots at little Italy when he ran streaking through Vash's yard without pants on, did you know? I heard the story from Japan," said Alfred, laughing. "Then again, Switzerland is super protective of Lichtenstein and Lichtenstein lives with him, so I think maybe he is just worried about keeping her innocence intact or some shit like that."
"You'll get to meet some of them eventually," said Alfred, smiling at the president, "Just be patient. You've only got four years before reelection so you might not get to meet them all, but hey, getting meet just a few is an awesome thing, right?"
The president finally smiled and it echoed in his eyes as he leaned back in his chair. "Yeah, you're right, Mr. Jones. Thank you."
"Please, call me Alfred," said Alfred, grinning broadly as he leaned over the desk and offered his hand to the president.
"A pleasure to meet with you and work with you, Alfred," said the president as he took Alfred's hand.
Where was that genuine smile now? What happened to the feeling that this president was going to be even better than the last? The 43rd had been a great man and, while sometimes he seemed a little dumb, he was a really a nice guy and tried his best to do what was right by the American people. Unfortunately, Alfred felt that at the end of it all the constant ridicule and berating the man had suffered for eight long years had finally taken its toll and he did whatever he could to just shut people up. Alfred knew the sentiment well. Even still, the 43rd president was never left alone and the 44th continued to recall the man in his almost constant campaign speeches and set all blame on the 43rd's "incompetence".
"A couple of questions," said Glenn on the television, moving Alfred out of his reverie, "first one's for you. Is that who you are? Are you ready to make a change?" Of course that wasn't who Alfred was! Alfred was smart, he was brave, and he was the hero!
"The next question is for the people in Washington; and they fall into two camps. First camp is made up of people who don't get it, or they're afraid to speak out so they feel alone, or they're just greedy and they're just going along because they just want to win elections. To those people let me ask this: have you read history? Have you read the history of the Weimar Republic? If not, pick up a book! You might want to read it! It doesn't work! You can not do this! In fact," said Glenn as he shuffled papers around on his desk, "let me recommend a book to you: The Lords of Finance."
Then, he paused and leaned forward on his desk, settling on his elbows as he looked into the camera. "Now, second question is for the second group of people in Washington; and these are people a year ago I didn't really think existed! I really didn't! These are people who actually hate our system of government. They actually want to change the republic. They want to change our system of government. They are radicals and revolutionaries and they are real!"
Boy, did Alfred know that for the truth. He'd seen far too many of these people surrounding the president to be healthy. Glenn continued speaking through Alfred's thoughts, "Let me ask those people, because I know you're watching: have you read the history of the United States of America lately? Because, those who believe as Van Jones does, you should read the history of the American people. Because, no matter how destitute we become, no matter how hard you come down on us, no matter how much you try to intimidate us you will never, ever win. Unlike the way you want us to fight in Afghanistan, real Americans stand by the truth, show themselves, and fight to the last man to win!"
Alfred smiled for what felt like the longest time, glad to see someone who took pride in being an American, who said what every American wanted to say to the very people that tried to hurt them. No matter how often this man was berated, how often his family was targeted by the media, no matter how often he was called a phony, he always proved otherwise and Alfred was proud to have him as one of his own. The American people would not be held under the thumb of government, they would not lie still and go quietly into the night; they would stand up and live on. That was what made up his girls and what made up himself. That was who they were.