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Can only a Dolt love (this) America?

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“Is this a great country or what?”

 

“I’m sorry?”

 

My rabid right-wing brother-in-law Dolton had caught me off-guard, fantasizing as I’d been about George W. Bush invoking at his war crimes trial a variation of the “Larry Craig defense”: “I am not smart. I never have been smart.”

 

“That show we just watched,” Dolton continued, commenting on a just-concluded program on the Propaganda, er, History Channel extolling the glories of the Mexican-American War, harkening back to the days when the U.S. stole only half a country at a time, “reminds me of how lucky we are to live in a land with so much freedom and opportunity, thanks to all the sacrifices so many Americans have made.”

 

“You mean, like the Native and African ones?” I retorted, completely roused now from my reverie, which wasn’t working anyway: my imaginary Bush had just been acquitted by an astonished tribunal for actually having told the truth.

 

Dolt harrumphed. “Jeez, Mark, slaves and Indians again? Man, I am so sick of you bleeding hearts trying to make everyone feel guilty about historical-type stuff. Besides, if people don’t like it here, they should go back to where they’re from.”

 

Why oh why had I accepted my sister Apolitica’s invitation to spend the day together? Even five minutes with her husband made a lobotomy look desirable.

 

“I apologize for soiling the conversation with facts,” I said, “but to Native Americans -- the remaining ones, that is -- we’re the immigrants. As for slaves, not too many ‘opted in’ for the Middle Passage. Shocking, eh?”

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“Whatever.”

 

That settled that.

 

Looking for a distraction (or a bottle of cyanide), I glanced over at my nephew, nine-year-old Dolton, Jr. He was glued to the tube, slack-jawed. This characteristic inactivity, coupled with an awful diet, had put “the little Dolt” on the fa(s)t track to soon being diminutive in nickname only.

 

Just then, Apolitica came in with a pair of five-gallon Big Gulps and a vat of Cheetos.

 

My eyes narrowed.

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“What?” she protested guiltily. “They were on sale!”

“Lay off your sis, will ya, Mr. Everything’s-All-Toxic?” Dolton mocked.

 

“Fine,” I rejoined, “but don’t blame me when your son has a health emergency induced by corpulence.”

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

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