National Politics In The Heartland, A Short Story

Sidewalk_cafe National Politics In The Heartland

A Short Story

Gary was sitting on the sidewalk patio of the coffee shop enjoying the warming sunshine thinking about his bike ride and what a wonderful day it was. Ken came outside from inside the shop with a cup of coffee and sat down.

“That fucking Bush!”, Ken said, “All he does is preach terror and fear and the idiots in this country tremble.”

Gary looked away and slightly smiled. He didn’t know what to say, and didn’t want to ruin his reverie talking politics especially with someone as passionate and strident as Ken.

Doug stopped as he walked by on the sidewalk, and looked at Ken and said “He thinks God talks to him.”

Ken, not thinking this funny and not taking it as a joke, snarled, “He must be off his meds.”

Gary thought about his own stint in the military during Viet Nam. He had been drafted. Didn’t really want to go, but his father, a World War II vet, told him he had to do his duty and serve his country. His mother was against the war, and wanted him to go to college and get his deferment, but rather than feel responsible for his parents fighting, he decided he should go. His mother cried, his younger brother seemed proud and also scared for him, and his father said little other than a man has to do his duty for his country.

Truth be told, Ken scared Gary. Deep down he believed that Ken was right, but he didn’t want to publicly say so for fear that people would think him a liberal and unpatriotic and it would turn off people at work and he could loose his job with the village.

Doug said, “If Bush thinks God is talking to him that’s fine if it is a private affair but when he makes war and sends people to die, it makes me think he’s working for Satan not God.”

Ken said, “God damn right. It’s outrageous what that son of a bitch is doing to this country.”

Gary said quietly, “Well, the people voted him in not once but twice so I guess he gets to call the shots.”

“He stole the freaking election!” shouted Ken. “Jesus Christ, his brother, the big governor down there in Florida kicked half the blacks and poor folks off the voter registration records. It’s crap like that I can’t stand. If Gore had carried Florida he would be President and if there wasn’t all that same kind of shit in Ohio, Kerry would have won the second time around. He says we’re fighting for democracy and freedom and he undermines it in our own country.”

Gary didn’t know what to say so he smiled weakly.

Doug said, “Well, I got to go get my groceries.”

“Bye Doug”, both Ken and Gary chimed.

“Bye Doug”, I said as I thought I would be going too.

“Ken”, I said, “I remember when you said, ‘I’d rather have a President who got a blow job, than a President who blows the job.’, and I laughed.

“Yeah”, said Ken, “that’s the truth too, that’s just how I feel.”

Gary didn’t say a thing.

“See you guys”, I said.

“Bye”, was the reply.

I walked away wondering how my country lost it’s way and whether it will be able to get back on track?