Washington Horror Blog

SEMI-FICTIONAL CHRONICLE of the EVIL THAT INFECTS WASHINGTON, D.C. To read Prologue and Character Guide, please see www.washingtonhorrorblog.com, updated 6/6//2017. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

We the People

Congressman John Boehner was lying on the couch in Dr. Ermann Esse's office. The faint sound of Occupy DC drummers in McPherson Square could still be detected above the soothing Peruvian flute music the psychiatrist was playing.

"Do you think we should do something about those communists?" asked the Speaker of the House.


"The Occupy DC mob," replied Boehner.

"Oh. Well, my lease is up in a couple of months, so I might move if I find it disturbs my clients." (Actually he found that the faint sound of drums made an excellent primal stimulus, prompting many of his patients to see deeper into their own psyches.)

"It's this personhood defeat in Mississippi, doctor. I'm having trouble reconciling it."

"Reconciling it with what?" asked Dr. Esse.

"Uh, well, corporations," said Boehner.

"I don't see the connection," said Dr. Esse.

"EXACTLY! Neither does the Supreme Court." (Dr. Esse arched his eyebrows.) "The Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, but a human fetus is not. In Mississippi, they tried to amend their state constitution to say that a human embryo is a person. In other states, they're trying to amend their constitutions to say that corporations are NOT persons. Right now, corporations in Mississippi are persons but human embryos are not. I'm supposed to be defending corporations, but this is bothering me."

"Hmmm," said Dr. Esse. "Well, first of all, the Supreme Court did not say corporations are persons: it was talking about people's collective rights to form a corporation and use it for free speech."

"C'mon, doctor! That's not the effect of Citizens United! Even Mitt Romney said corporations are people! If all the embryos in Mississippi form a corporation, do they get constitutional rights at that point?"


"NO! They don't!

"But the organizations formed to speak for the unborn have constitutional rights, just like any other corporation," said Dr. Esse.

"Sure, but they don't have enough money to speak LOUDLY, doctor! The Supreme Court said spending money in elections is the same as free speech, and the corporations have more money than anybody, so their speech is louder--louder than anything else being heard in Washington. I've got people asking me to speak up for (or against!) constitutional amendments defining personhood all over the country. PERSONHOOD! We're still defining personhood! OK, maybe the Founding Fathers got it wrong about the slaves, but how many redefinitions are we going to do on this? Who are we? Who are We-the-People?"

A few miles to the West, the Seekers meeting in Georgetown were also discussing We-the-People, more specifically, Occupy DC and Occupy Wall Street. The Jesuit said they were asking valid questions about society's values, but the Buddhist said spiritual enlightenment would never be found while fretting about ownership of physical objects, and that it was the duty of the Seekers to free mankind from all Earthly desires. The Methodist minister pointed out that there was nothing wrong with a desire to have food, a roof over your head, and health insurance. The Imam said the problem was not money but the spending of money on ungodly things. The Mormon missionary agreed it was the duty of the Seekers to teach their flocks how to reject ungodly things. The rabbi asked if anybody thought that the Occupy movement was an ungodly thing.

"All I know," said the Lutheran pastor, "is that I'm tired of leading a church that's all about hatch 'em, match 'em, dispatch 'em. There's got to be more for us to do!" Several members of the Seekers asked what he meant, and he clarified: "baptize them, marry them, eulogize and bury them. What happens in-between those days? That's where life happens, and we're missing out on most of it because we only see some of these people a few times in their lives."

"Are you saying we should be down there in McPherson Square?" asked the Baptist preacher.

"I've got a bunch of church ladies just dying to bring sandwiches and cookies down there," said the Episcopalian minister, "but the council is scared to death."

"They should be," said the Jesuit, "because your church ladies might end up listening instead of preaching."

"But we are supposed to be the teachers and guides," said the Imam.

"You have to know where people are at before you can guide them out of there," said the Buddhist.

"How do you know they're not right where they're supposed to be?" asked the Quaker.

Back at McPherson Square, Charles Wu was also where he was supposed to be--meeting the Condor for a discussion of OPEC. (Since every conversation in McPherson Square was about politics these days, theirs would not stand out for the eavesdroppers with the high-tech listening devices.) China wanted to understand how to navigate the turbulent politics of the Middle East, so the Condor was trying to explain to Wu why the Arab League had denounced Syria. "It's a small country allied with Iran. The Sunnis dominate the Arab League, but they are scared to denounce Iran because Iran might be both able and willing to nuke its Shiite neighbors. However, it is safe for the Arab League to denounce "little Iran", Syria. This scores the Arab League bonus points with Western allies: look at us, we are denouncing a tyrannical regime which is killing its political protesters! But does the Arab League denounce Bahrain for the same thing? No, because Bahrain is a majority-Shiite country led by a minority-Sunni government."

Wu held up his hand to signal the Condor to slow down. (He was trying to take notes in Chinese, but too many of the Condor's words had no Chinese equivalents.) "I read about Sunnis and Shiites 'til I'm blue in the face," said Wu, but that can't be what it's really about? Centuries later? They don't agree on jihad, they don't agree on Mahdi, they don't agree on Dajjal--but what does that really matter now?"

"It's about what group you're in, where the lines are drawn," said the condor. "You have been in America too long! You are starting to think that ideas and philosophies are important! In the Middle East, a lot of people can't even read at all, let alone spend time studying Islam. They are born in a group, and they defend their own group. OPEC tried to unite all the oil-producing countries, but the enmities can still be seen in the Arab League."

"So what do I tell Beijing?" asked Wu. "China has a strong policy about not criticizing other countries' domestic policies, but China's Middle East envoy has already said publicly that Syria needs to end the violence. China does NOT want to continue down this path of getting sucked into choosing sides."

"Then China can kiss the gas and oil goodbye," replied the Condor. "Nobody's neutral in the Middle East. China has its own interests in the Middle East now, and it can defend them or abandon them. I don't have any secrets that are going to help China--not today. There aren't a lot of secrets left, and with the Arab League's denouncing Syria, most of the cards are on the table now."

"You know, Beijing never even ASKS me for secrets about England anymore. This was a lot simpler back in Hong Kong," said Wu.

The Condor looked at his old friend in surprise. "America has changed you," said the Condor, but he didn't say how and Wu did not ask. As they exited the park silently, they could hear two partners from Goode Peepz Law, LLC, discussing whether to seize the Occupy DC zeitgeist by renaming themselves "We The People Law Firm". ("But what if we accidentally attract Tea Party fanatics?")

Back in the office of Dr. Ermann Esse, it was Bridezilla's turn on the shrink's couch. "Things just seem different now," said Bridezilla, who had weights strapped to her ankles and wrists so she could exercise during her therapy session. (Dr. Esse had drawn the line at allowing her personal trainer into the room, so he was in the waiting room outside.) "Like, I'm doing this privilege log for a client, and they want to priv everything." (Dr. Esse did not know what "priv" meant, but "everything" was something that many people in Washington seemed to want.) "The list of names is already 78 pages long! How crazy is that?!" ("Hmmm," said Dr. Esse, encouragingly.) "We're closing in on 2,000 names. The client only has 500 employees, but somehow we have 2,000 names on the privilege log! How crazy is that?!" ("Hmmm," repeated Dr. Esse, who was starting to see how crazy it was.) "And this is how I make a living? I was in the top 10% of my law class!" (Dr. Esse had actually heard those two sentences verbatim several times a year since he opened his office in downtown Washington.)

"And I'm starting to have weird dreams," said Bridezilla. (Dr. Esse perked up, hoping she would start telling him erotic dreams about her personal trainer, Armando.) "So I go to the Supreme Court to hear an oral argument, right? But it's not ready to start yet, so I ask if there's a cafe, because most courts and government buildings have a cafe, right? So I go down to the basement, and there's this place with a big neon sign, 'We The People'--but it's a BAR! I go in, and it's a lounge, and people are DRINKING! Sitting on bar stools and DRINKING! And there's a counter to place BETS on the cases the court is hearing! You can bet 80-1 odds that the Supreme Court will uphold Obamacare, or you can put down a trifecta bet involving how the bench will split, and who will write the decision, and how many concurrences and dissents will be written. And some of the Justices were in the bar drinking, too! I mean, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was giggling! And they had a karaoke jockey in the corner trying to get people to loosen up and sing, but almost everybody there was a lawyer, so it was pretty difficult. Then Ginsburg pointed at me and started chanting and clapping, 'Sing, sing, sing, sing!' And before I knew it, all these people had pushed me up to the stage, and they didn't even let me choose a song, and before I knew it, a Melissa Etheridge song started up, and I didn't want to sing a big lesbo song, so I tried to get off the stage, but Ginsburg said, 'You have to! You have facial hair!'" Bridezilla had been raising and lowering her ankles and wrists furiously, but abruptly stopped and exhaled deeply. "The truth is, I do have facial hair now! What if, you know, Armando gave me some kind of hormone in my supplements," she whispered. "Am I going to change?"

"Well," said Dr. Esse (who was thinking about how he had not expected to have doctor-patient conversations like this after he graduated in the top 10% of his class), "if he gave you something with testosterone to build up your muscles, yes, that would increase your facial hair." (Her muscle tone was spectacular, but he refrained from pointing out the obvious.)

"And urges," Bridezilla whispered. "Would it change my urges?"

"Did you feel urges about Ginsburg?"

"Of course not!" (Dr. Esse waited, hoping she would say more about her urges.) "I'm just speaking hypothetically!"

"Are you sure?" asked Dr. Esse eagerly. "You can tell me anything."

"Do you think I should stop the supplements?" asked Bridezilla, suddenly remembering the erotic dream she had had about Laura Moreno the night before. "How long does it take for the hormones to go back to normal?" She looked at her biceps and flexed them a couple of times. "This is unnatural, isn't it? What have I done?" She jumped up from the couch and took all the weights off. "This is why Armando never flirts with me! I look like a man, don't I?! This is terrible!" She threw the weights in Dr. Esse's wastepaper basket. "I'm going to stop the supplements. I mean, I just need Jennifer Anniston arms, right? Anything bigger than that means I'm a freak! What was I thinking?" With that she fled the psychiatrist's office and told a startled Armando, "We need to talk!"

Down at McPherson Square, the Occupy DC people were starting a chant about "We the People", and the starlings listened anxiously from the trees. A catbird imitated the "we" word over and over and over again, causing the crowd to get confused and lose its cohesion.


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