It is 5:00 PM, Central Standard Time in the New America and Rudy Lindgren, the 33-year-old head writer for G.O.D., otherwise known as the Government Operation of Defense, stands before a window at his office building and watches below as a parade gets ready beneath the star spangled April sky. Slate gray and green shadows swell and spill over the numerous citizens who begin to line the streets. The tank parade is the latest feature in the New America. The show of military force in all of America’s capitol cities begins at 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. It not only reassures the citizens of their continual safety, it lets others around the world know that America is ready for decisive action against those who might threaten national security. Thursday nights are kind of special too. Its kid’s night, which allows children between the ages of 5 and 18 to take a tank ride. Of course, it’s safety first and all children must wear protective headgear. It looks eerily like Moscow, circa 1980 with all the triangular American flags dancing from light posts with another flag waving just beneath the first featuring the images of the President and Vice-President with the words, “One Nation Under God,” in italics.
There is something menacingly comfortable about the New America for Rudy, despite all of the sarcasm he’s prone to and he certainly wouldn’t say it out loud, but he’s a sucker for order and routine and he can’t help but to feel free within the regimented ideals of this America. He gets a little impressed when he thinks of the soldiers marching through the city square, the black leather boots all polished, he imagines someday there will be mass crowds listening to leaders speak, a spark of nationalism glows and the idea of having Them making decisions for him is welcoming. It would be like living with your parents all over again and Rudy could return and be the little boy with his own room, playing quietly while mom and dad have some alone time, in a perpetual state of waiting to be called for dinner. He’s a dreamer folks, one of those return to the womb kind and aren’t they always the worst ones?
Order and routine are necessary in the New America since the unexpected tragedy of 9/11 and the onset then of constant terror alerts, which make the landscape of the New America tense and sometimes fearful. Terror has become the new American buzzword and it haunts our actions, our conversations and our possibilities. The worst part about it now is how terror has become so blurred, hard to understand in any real context. After 9/11 its meaning was well defined, rock solid but now, just a few years later it has began to crumble under the enormous weight which has been cast upon it with this war. Since then terror has become a stuttered word with faded meaning, it has taken on too much, been given too much responsibility for one word. Terror of the immediate post-9/11 way has lost its ability to reach us in the deepest places already. The prophets of terror are creative, however, and are continually devising new devices to keep us faithful.
Thank God the President is standing behind every change of color of the terror alerts like the Wizard of OZ himself, guarding, watching over us so that each and every American citizen may someday go back over the rainbow of terror alerts and find home again as safe and secure as it ever was. The promise of ruby slippers seems far away, however, the way the world has changed ever since the tornado of terrorism touched down in Kansas. Yet, the President himself is watching over us through the other end of the telescope and ever since his now famous, “Jesus Speech,” the numbers have revealed a more calm and spiritual America. Faith is another buzzword, which rides on the tails of terrors burning comet. It is a new faith, however, faith in America, religious type faith in the country with God watching over us, faith in our faith, faith in the flag, faith in the star spangled banner, faith in the window decals that seem to be present in most motor vehicles, faith that if we show our faith, then our faith will be rewarded, faith that if we advertise our faith it will make it more real, stronger. It has become an “Us against Them” faith and how can we, the Us in the equation be wrong when we wear our faith on our sleeves, when we really sing the national anthem and really believe each word and have faith that our faith will endure a thousand attacks by Them.
The President’s words are engraved upon the hearts of all Americans like the two tablets: “Now, Jesus liked to call his followers his flock. He was the good Shepherd and He, He had a flock of sheep but they weren’t really sheep, they were his followers, see? Because Jesus wasn’t really a Shepherd, he was a carpenter (shit ass grin). Now I’m not saying that I’m Jesus because to tell you the truth I don’t know too much about woodworking. I remember I made a lamp in shop class as a young man but I think my mother threw it out. She kept my brothers… but what we need now is a Shepherd to lead the flock of America back to the green pastures of what this great country once was and I think I can be that Shepherd if you can be the flock. In the Bible, Jesus says, ‘I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd griveth his life for the sheep’ (shit ass grin) well, I’m thinking of another line actually but I believe that the good Shepherd is good and that America is good too.”
It was a heart rendering speech and a moment in America where people across all lines came together despite any temporary differences and Biblical scholars across the world wondered perhaps if their life’s work had been in vain. It was the night when President also announced his intention to have Lee Greenwood begins all weekday mornings for each and every American so, “that we might never forget that we are Americans.”
The only thing that needs forgetting is the economic downturn that has hit the states like a series of blows to midsection, leaving people gasping for air stumbling like some punch drunken fighter, the last great white hope. “Roll Out the Barrel,” has become the oil company’s theme song and Americans can’t help but sing along. Yet, that’s hardly the point at all in the New America. It’s a matter of national pride, a little bit of John Wayne bravado, a kind of hike up your boot straps mentality that has served us so well in difficult times. Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you can’t cruise through your neighborhood in a red, white and blue tee shirt and be on the look out for suspicious looking individuals, perhaps with brown complexions, of middle-eastern descent carrying a prayer rug. You know what we’re talking about, huh? A little wink, a kiss and a cuddle and could you please come with me, sir. That scream you hear as they take him away is simply called persuasion.
It just takes some getting used to, the hunter orange armbands for the Muslims, nothing like having a target to shoot at, the armed personnel walking the streets and the dogs that make most black folks cross the street and tremor while black and white images from history’s books flutter through their imagination. Meanwhile, the government is working full tilt on creating a new, personal kind of terror that reaches into the heart of each and every citizen, legal or otherwise. It’s the theatre of terror created by GOD, The Government Operation for Defense, and all are invited to witness its spectacle. It’s something like circa 1930’s Germany; ah, it’s hard not to get nostalgic. The New America is fast becoming a walking tour through the tunnel of the 20th century’s horrors and whores at 21st century prices.
Rudy has been working as the head writer for GOD for two-years, although he is under ADaM’s umbrella- Advertising and Marketing. Located in Saint Paul, MN, capitol city, it is the national HQ for GOD, although Rudy wonders why it’s not, at the very least in Chicago or some more prominent locale. Seems suspicious, as if someone’s trying to hide something- yeah, sure. Another Midwestern hiding place; the President hides in Nebraska and advertises from Minnesota. No wonder the neo-Nazi groups feel so at home in this region. The actual office doesn’t really exist; GOD is set-up in the real world as a small publishing firm called Jackson’s, Monk and Rowe. It makes Rudy feel like Wonder Woman in her invisible jet or perhaps he’s fantasizing again. All tied up and captured by a scantily suited super-hero. Why does it always come to this, he wonders? Perhaps everything in the history of man comes down to nothing but hands in the pants, masturbation of one kind or another, a man and his missile, dangling his weapon over the heads of unsuspecting victims.
Ever since the world began, all that ever was,
The how, the why and the because
comes down to this epistle-
A man and his missile.
To blow you up, to shoot you down
To conquer every girl in town,
comes down to this epistle-
A man and his missile.
Since the war effort began, GOD has been creating clever ways to help sell the government’s policy to the American people. And how easy it was to keep the public imagination on a short leash; it was an audience just waiting to be force-fed anything red, white and blue. It was like handing candy to a baby. They even brought the newsreels back, which Rudy helped write and how proud he was to sit in the darkened theater and see his work flicker on the big screen. Rudy went on a roll creating some award winning radio spots that were quite heavy with the God on Our Side mentality, which the President was rumored to be quite fond of, and it all climaxed when Rudy created superhero Joe America.