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Martial law's really only a problem when it's declared

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“Hey, Mark!” taunted my right-wing brother-in-law. “Who ya gonna vote for in the election?”

 

Dolton was seated opposite me at my parents’ golden wedding anniversary celebration. Why oh why hadn’t they gotten divorced at some point?

 

Teeth gritted, I plunged. “What makes you think there’ll be one?”

 

“Told ya!” he cackled to my sister Apolitica as he jabbed her, hard, in the ribs. As much as I loved her, she’d forfeited all potential sympathy years back with two words: “I do.”

 

Her beloved was just warming up.

 

“I suppose now, Mark, you’re gonna lecture us about rigged voting. Hey, little Dolt,” he snorted to my unfortunate ten-year-old nephew sitting beside him, “seen yer uncle’s tinfoil hat lyin’ around anywhere?”

 

“Though America’s fixed elections are certainly a worthy topic,” I replied evenly, “I’m not talking about that. I’m referring to all the executive orders and legislation your heroes in the White House have put in place that make it a cinch, if they so choose, to declare martial law, lock up dissenters and thus dispense with even faux balloting.”

 

He looked puzzled. “Who’d wanna vote for their enemies?”

 

“What?”

 

“‘Foe balloting.’ That makes no sense.”

 

He had me there. I flashed my sister a quick look but she was already slinking away, dragging a bewildered Dolton, Jr., behind her while I calculated the odds of successfully performing hari-kari with a cocktail weenie pick.

 

“Besides just being plain crazy,” Dolt pressed, “there’s an obvious problem with your hallucination: There’s nowhere to house thousands of traitors. Oh, excuse me: ‘dissenters,’” he snickered.

 

“Try again,” I replied. “In January 2006, Halliburton’s then-subsidiary KBR was handed a $385 million government contract to, per a crowing press release, build ‘temporary detention and processing’ facilities…‘in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.’”

 

“Good!” he exclaimed. “That’ll make those terrorists think twice about rushing the border.”

 

“You mean the hordes of Canadians breathlessly poised to overrun America with their deadly hockey sticks?”

 

“Hockey sticks??” he gasped, horrified. “They really will stop at nothing!”

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Mark Drolette is a writer who lives in Sacramento, California.

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