The Scab Government
[Jill Charles is a member of the Bezazian Library cohort of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance. She read this piece at an open mic before the featured themed reading, Poetry to Change the World, sponsored by Occupy Rogers Park, the Guild Complex and the Chicago Consortium for Working Class Studies (Oct. 6, 2013). We are pleased and honored to be able to offer this to the on line multitude].
By Jill Charles
During the government shutdown this October, the American public made the radical decision to hire scabs to replace the US Congress.
“I’m tired of not getting food for my children because Newt Gingrich feels pissy about health care reform,” said Georgia mother of five Clara Davis, who
works two jobs and still relies on WIC to get by.
She and fellow Georgians hired Mabel Louis, a laid-off Head Start teacher, in Gingrich’s place.
Louis said “Like all of the scab Congress, I’ve recently lost my job due to the recession and government cutbacks. I’ve done my absolute best teaching preschool for 27 years and am ready to work on health care and education reform to assist everyone in my state.”
The scab representatives come from all 50 states and a variety of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, but all were chosen for their skills at compromise and living with a limited budget.
“Congress never balanced their budget and kept voting to give themselves raises,” said
Joe Whalen, formerly a park ranger from Wenatchee, Washington. “That will never happen again. Also we ended the nuclear missile program, stopped drone warfare and brought all US troops home from the Middle East earlier today.”
“We’re working on a plan to set up windmills in every county for electricity,” said Panika Atuat, a new representative from Alaska. “I don’t believe any nonsense about global warming not being real because I watched my village – Newtok, Alaska – sink in the mud when the permafrost melted.”
“She’s darn tootin!” added Bob Gunderson, scab rep and Wisconsin organic dairy
farmer. “I’ve struggled with droughts for the last ten years. I’m determined to make disaster relief quicker and put fresh produce in every school lunch.”
Despite their differences, the scab Congress has passed a record number of laws.
“We won’t let our religious differences slow down health care reform,” said scab rep Maria Avila, a Catholic school nurse from Texas. “After all, every major world religion believes in helping the poor and the sick.”
Former members of Congress such as Ted Cruz and John Boehner are picketing outside the Capitol, but no one pays them any attention.
“Listen, I never imagined I would be a scab,” said Detroit union electrician Jay Thomas. “But Congress and their corporate sponsors took my job first. At least we’re not a shadow government.”