(As the curtain rises, we find Congressman Dewey Cheatem sitting behind his desk in his home district office. Ima Whiner, one of his constituents, has wormed her way into an appointment with Congressman Cheatem to voice some concerns.)
Yes, Ms. Whiner, what can I do for you?
I need some help. I just can’t make ends meet anymore.
What kind of help?
Money. Like, I need some money. They don’t pay me enough money to support my family.
Your family? Tell me about them.
I have two kids – 7 and 10.
What does your husband do?
I’m not married.
No. I’m just not married, know what I’m sayin’?
Does the kid’s father help to support them?
No, neither one of them does.
Neither one of them?
Yeah. Like, they have different fathers.
What do you do for a living?
You do nails?
Yeah, you know, nails. I do nails at Nail Fantasy at the mall.
How much money do you make doing nails.
Not enough. I take home, like, $300 a week.
How much education do you have?
I, like, finished high school, you know, but college just wasn’t for me. I wanted a new car, you know, and I needed to go to work to get the money for payments.
Your oldest child is 10. How old are you?
OK … what do you want from me? Why did you come see me today?
I need more money. I know there must be some sort of, like, government checks I can get. I keep hearing about people getting checks for all sorts of things. I want a check.
With your income and two kids you don’t pay income taxes, do you?
No, but I have payroll taxes … and I should, like, get some of that money back. Other people are getting checks. I want a check.
Wait a minute – I have something here that might help you.
(Congressman Cheatem reaches into his desk drawer and pulls out a .38-caliber revolver – he pushes it across the desk to Ima.)
Do you know what this is?
It’s a gun.
Can you use one?
Yeah, my first baby’s daddy showed me how.
OK then. I want you to take this gun, go find someone who has been more responsible with their life than you have, and I want you to use this gun to rob them. That way, you should be able to get the money you say you need.
Rob them? I can’t just, like, walk up to someone and rob them! Are you crazy?
Why can’t you?
Because that’s, you know, illegal, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s, like, illegal! I could get caught, and they could put me in jail!
But you’re here asking me for a check! What if there was some sort of a government check you could get, where do you think that money would come from?
I don’t know. The government?
Sure, the government. But where does the government get its money?
The taxpayers, I guess.
Yeah, the taxpayers. So you want me to arrange for some money to be taken from these taxpayers and given to you, right?
Well, other people are getting checks. Why can’t I get one? They don’t pay me enough money.
So why don’t you just take this gun and go get some!
You mean you won’t. You won’t pick up this gun and go take someone else’s money, but you feel perfectly comfortable coming into my office and asking me to, right?
What do you mean?
Well, just how in the hell do you think we get the money you want us to give to you? Do you think these people just come wandering in here with buckets of their money just begging us to find some irresponsible losers to give it to? Come on, girl? We take it, just like I suggested you take it. We take it at the point of a gun! We point that gun at those poor saps and we say, “Hand it over, or we’ll take every damn thing you own.”
Well, everybody has to pay taxes!
I know, but that’s because, like, they don’t pay me enough money.
You mean you don’t earn enough money, and whose fault is that?
It’s not my fault. I can’t help it if I just haven’t been as lucky as those other people.
Yeah, you can’t help it. You decided that you needed a new car and you couldn’t afford one if you were going to college. Then you decided to get pregnant as a teen-ager by two different deadbeats who got into your bed and then walked out of your life. … And it’s all someone else’s fault.
Hey! Don’t dis me, I don’t have to take that from you!
OK … calm down. (The congressman puts the gun back in his desk drawer) You don’t need to use this gun. You don’t need to because we can.
We … the government. We can do what you can’t. Like I said, we can use this gun to take property from someone else … and I’ll see to it that some of that money gets to you. You’ll get your check.
Oh, thank you!
But there’s a catch here. You have to do something for me.
No, no. Button up your blouse. That’s not what I had in mind. I have plenty of interns around here that would cause me a lot less grief than you would and who aren’t quite as fertile. What you have to do is get out there and register to vote. Register to vote, and then remember just who it is that put that check in your pocket the next time an election rolls around.
No problem! I’ll do it, like, I promise!