“Is this a great country or what?”
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?”
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.
“What?” she protested guiltily. “They were on sale!”
“Lay off your sis, will ya, Mr. Everything’s-All-Toxic?” Dolton mocked.