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by Michael D. Brooks

“Pop! Are you corrupting the kids again?”

“I don’t know what you mean. I ain’t never, as you say, corrupted the kids.”

“Oh, yeah? Then what did you call it when you had them all refuse to eat Mom’s peas that time they said they were boycotting?”

“I was teaching them about civic responsibility.”

“Civic responsibility, eh?”


“Okay. Then what did you call it when they carried signs and chanted: ‘Heck no. We won’t go,’ that time when they didn’t want to go to bed.”

“I was teaching them about their first amendment right to assemble peacefully.”

“Uh-huh. Then what do you call this?”


“This... chaos.”

“It’s organized.”

“Pop. From the other room, it sounds like a riot is going on in here. Mom said you could watch the kids only if you didn’t scare them or put them up to some act of parental disobedience. She sent me in to find out what all the raucous is about. It’s supposed to be a birthday party, for crying out loud.”

“It still is. Don’t it look like they’re enjoying themselves?”

“Oddly, it does. But that still doesn’t explain why they’re all yelling and calling each other names.”

“I’m teaching them about politics.”

“Okay, Pop. So explain to me what that group over there is doing? Why are they divided and one side is yelling ‘yes’ while the other side is yelling ‘no’?”

“That’s a session of Congress.”

“Oh, geez. So why does Barry look like he’s about to cry?”

“Barry’s the president. He’s trying to get both sides to agree.”

“Agree to what?”

“Going outside or staying in here with me.”

“He looks like you used to whenever you lost control of us and Mom had to take over.”


“Pop! And before you complain, I’m cutting you off because the kids are here.”

“I was going to say ‘smart aleck’.”

“Sure you were. And what are Penny and Dean doing over there behind your desk?”

“They’re reporting the news.”

“What news?”

“Exactly. There’s no such thing as journalistic integrity anymore. So they’re illustrating it.”

“Oh, brother. Okay. So what are Bobby and Danny doing?”

“They’re hosting radio talk shows.”

“They’re what?”

“They’re what you call political pundits.”

“They’re blabbering about nothing, Pop.”

“Now you’re catching on.”

“On to what?”

“The political process.”

“Oh. So I guess Malcolm over there is also learning the political process?”


“Pop, he’s handing out Monopoly money to members of Congress and asking for favors. So, what? You’re teaching them how to bribe political officials?”

“No, no, no. I’d never do that. I’m teaching them about how big business provides contributions to politicians in exchange for some help so their businesses can grow and compete in the free market. It’s only a bribe if a person offers money for personal favors.”

“Oh. So now you’re telling the kids that government only helps out those who give it money?”



“I’m telling them that government helps out those who give it the most money.”

“I know I’m going to regret asking this, Pop, but are the businesses growing?”

“Yep. Faster than a weed. They sent everything overseas, though.”

“I knew I shouldn’t have asked. Okay. Explain this one. What’s that group of kids in the corner doing?”

“Them? They’re protesting.”

“Protesting what?”

“Their jobs went overseas. They’re protesting partisan politics, unfair business practices, rising prices, and no jobs.”

“But nobody’s listening to them, Pop.”


“And the reason why is because?”

“They didn’t vote.”

“What?!? So you’re telling me because they didn’t vote, they’re being ignored?”


“Okay. So what’s up with that group in the other corner?”

“Their guy lost the election.”

“Pop. We both know that’s not fair.”

“It’s politics.”

“Wait. I can’t believe I let you suck me into this. You know what? You’re getting crabby in your old age.”

“I’m not getting crabby. I’m being pragmatic. And it’s part of my maturation process.”

“How long did it take you to look those words up in the dictionary?”




“It’s amazing some of the things that float around in that head of yours, Pop.”

“I know. I even amaze myself sometimes.”

“Oh, brother. Mind if I take the kids off your hands for a few?”

“Nope. Don’t mind at all. Good luck, though. You’re going to need it.”

“Watch this, Pop. Hey, everybody! Let’s all go out to the backyard and everyone will get some ice cream! Listen to that. They all agree on something. Ever seen a happier bunch of kids?”


“I can’t hear you. So what flavor do you want, Pop?”

“Cherry. With them little sprinkles on it.”

“Sprinkles will cost you.”


“I still can’t hear you.”

Copyright © 2012 by Michael D. Brooks

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