The Lady Redhawk Immigration Plan of '06
I've been working on a post about immigration policy for some time now. All of the political theatrics have left me frustrated and angry. Why must everything be blue vs. red? I don't know about you, but I'm quite sick of it.
If I were the benevolent goddess of Ferkakta, this would be my simple, but effective, immigration decree:
I. Requirements for United States citizenship:
A. Exhibit a proficiency in English in the following manner:
1. Pass a written and oral citizenship test
2. Pass a G.E.D. (unless you have already completed a higher degree)
3. Take a comprehensive loyalty oath
B. Submit fingerprints.
C. Consent, pass, and pay for a background check.
D. Submit a written, binding employment contract.
II. In conjunction with your citizenship papers, you will be issued a Social Security Account Number and a state issued drivers license or ID card.
III. Requirements for keeping citizenship:
A. Taxes are filed and paid each year
B. Drivers license or state ID card kept current
C. Continual employment
D. No criminal activity (including harboring an illegal immigrant)
IV. If your citizenship is revoked, you will be immediately deported to your country of origin. Permanently.
V. If you are caught in the United States illegally, you forfeit any future chance at citizenship.
Now, all of this won't make much difference unless we seal the borders. Here is how I propose to pay for such an endeavor:
I. Large businesses that employ illegal immigrants (such as poultry farms, etc.)
A. $10,000 fine, per offense, per person (ouch!)
II. Small businesses that employ illegal immigrants (such as restaurants)
A. $5,000 fine, per offense, per person
III. Renting to illegal immigrants
A. $5,000 fine, per offense, per person
100% of all fines should be used for border security and enforcement.
Well comrades, that is the lady redhawk immigration plan of '06. What would be YOUR plan if the prez should happen to call you on your shoe phone while you were munching olives and eating stinky cheese?
And by the way, does a "benevolent goddess" rate a tiara? Cuz I'd really, really love a tiara......
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Part XIX: On the Road Again
Melchizedek's solitary ride gave him plenty of time to ponder the odd confluence of his family history with that of the Choshen stones. His response was not exactly one of shock and he began combing his memory of both the public accounts that could be found in the history books and the more personal details as his line of the family sought the obscurity of the New World.
But even the offical history would be obscure to all but the scholars of the House of Orange-Nassau. As an heir with the right of ascension but whose distant grandsire had fallen into disfavor with the the reigning monarch, the fate of his ancestor nine generations back was banishment first to the West Indies, and then when that was no longer safe, the American colonies. It wasn't the first time Melchizedek noted the curious parallel route to that of the stones that his family had taken. They also had found refuge in New Amsterdam with supporters of their former claim to the throne. But there were still those loyal the reigning branch of the family, so they soon decided to move on. First Pennslyvania and then Ohio. But it was always the same, neighbors would warn of strangers asking questions about the Winklepleckt clan, and their fears for their children would drive them westward.
Some members of the family tried to retreat into the mountains like the Melungeon, but found that they didn't have the skills or temperment for mountain living. In Indiana they were more successful as farmers and many of them picked up the trade of window-making. The family had also become devote Christians in their travels and trials as were most of their neighbors, and every generation seemed to product a minister or two. After they became proficient at the production of high quality glass, they entered into a partnership with a number of local glass blowers and the business thrived. However, once again word came that inquiries were being made. When it became apparent that the House of Orange-Nassau hadn't forgotten them, they sold out to their puzzled partners and moved again, this time to Fort Smith Arkansas and some of the surrounding settlements. There they sat out the Civil War while making a modest living. When the Indian territories of Oklahoma had opened up to settlement,it seemed like a natural choice, although a dissenting faction had already set out on their own against the wishes of the current patriarch, Jacob Winklepleckt. They kept the current pseudonym of Glaser and became window-makers to the boomtowns of California during the Gold Rush before the main body of the family lost touch with them. They chose an area not far from the Arkansas border. Not only were they in close proximity to the building boom of the settlers but were also neighbors to the more established Cherokee settlements. They established excellent relations with the Tsa-la-gi Nation. The favorable business terms they extended were rewarded when the Cherokee found a burgeoning market for the rock-oil that was plentiful on their lands. The Tsa-la-gi needed capital to purchase drilling equipment, and the family became major shareholders in the first Native American oil company. Ironically, besides Standard Oil, their next major competitor was The Royal Dutch Shell Company.
The House of Wincklepleckt would have no doubt faded into total obscurity were it not for three factors. One was Melchizedek's own career path as he was sent to the East for an Ivy League education, where he vacillitated between the seminary and the ivory tower of historians. The other was the impact of the Twentieth Century on the House of Orange-Nassau, where the lack of a male heir brought a young SS officer into the Royal Line as a consort to the Queen. He would later commit the family's fortunes to the founding of a new secular world order. The reports of his infidelity to the Queen and corrupt business dealings suggested that his more secretive business would reflect the same lack of character on a heightened scale. The powerful cabals, societies and committees that the king had established were committed to eradicating every last trace of the old moral order, and replacing it with a vast program of social engineering. Human Knowledge was its guiding light, the Self was the highest ideal, and the State was it's most sacred institution. And although more disciplined his son gave every indication of pursuing the same agenda.
Another key influence on the current quest was a friendship he formed at one of his longest teaching engagements. When he was at Columbia he met Pavel Milyukov at the dinner party of a mutual friend. Russian emigre, Renaissance man and libertine he was, but despite very different temperments, Melchizedek had appreciated his sardonic wit and encyclopedic knowledge of Russian literature and history. Then on the eve of a trip to Israel for a conference on the history of the Levant where he was reading a paper, Pavel called him over to ask a favor. He said he had some scientific documents that needed to be delivered to a colleague in Israel and asked if he would drop them off as a favor. Dr Yakov Levin was very appreciative and asked him if he had succumbed to the temption to peep at the documents. Melchizedek protested that he hadn't, mostly out of the certainty that they would be incomprehensible to him and thus uninteresting. Dr Levin opened one of the parcels that contained reams of technical manuscripts in Arabic script. He explained that the documents had been taken from a group of scientists from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Academy of Science. They had been invited to a university sponsored event to foster and encourage dialogue between Muslim and Western scientists. Dr Levin stated that the Iranians had recieved them them from sympathetic scientists working at Sandia and Los Alamos who had thoughtfully translated them into Farsi.
This didn't surprise him, in his own department, Edward Said sponsored many such events. Melchizedek's lack of enthusiasm and cooperation towards them was one of reasons for their frosty relationship.
He had found out later that these vistiting Iranian scientists came to an untimely end in the red light area near 42nd St, reportedly as victims of a robbery that the Iranian government was more than happy to hush up. Numerous eyewitness reports had placed them in a series of strip clubs and they were said to be extremely intoxicated and boisterous towards the end of the evening. They were found in an alley known to be used by prostitutes and their clients, Shot at close range with a .22 pistol, with their wallets missing. However because no shots were heard in the high traffic area, it was suggested that the pistol was silenced.
Dr Levin then suggested that there may be future opportunities to help Israel and World Jewry in the struggle again modern day Hamans and Hitlers that seemed to be springing up everywhere like toadstools after a soaking rain. There was no discussion of any financial gain. He told Dr Levin he would consider the matter, but his decision was already made by the time he boarded the flight home. In the following years there was little work for him, but he became Pavel's apprentice in tradecraft. What seemed to be casual strolls through the city were training runs in the art of the pass, the dead drop, and the tail. They began a rigorous self-defense program based on knife and small arms, Krav Magen and the Mossad's own unique system. Melchizedek refused to carry a weapon, but at least acknowledged that the information would someday be necessary. Melchizedek was dubbed Waxwing and Pavel himself used the codename Q, not solely as a Flemingesque nod, but also as a reference to full scale replica of an Aztec frieze that hung in his office of the plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl.
The final factor to set his feet on the his current path was the trial of the heart that began when Melchizedek first saw Tamar. They met in a fiction workshop that Melchizedek took in his sophomore year. Melchizedek thought that writing style would be important for either a historian or a preacher. The instructor was in the visiting writer program. He had written a bestselling series of novels chronicling the lives and loves of a group of young adults in San Francisco in the 70s. Tamar was in the fiction track of the English Dept. She had been writing since she was nine and her fiction had a startling originality and imaginative power. The instructor was by turns humorously appreciative and cattily jealous of her talent. The post-punk frosted hairstyle not withstanding, he thought she looked exactly like Audrey Hepburn. Her family were Roumanian Jews who settled in Brooklyn and proceeded to build an empire based on home furnishings. When the furniture factories were driven out of the mill towns by labor unions her father was assigned the duty of setting up new manufacturing operations in North Carolina.
That semester he became obsessed with trying to impress her with his stories. As he couldn't compete in the style department, he first tried to adopt an archaic form and write period pieces. She seemed to take no notice while the instructor and the rest of the class agreed these were unmitigated literary disasters. In quiet desperation he adopted a stark boney Carverian prose and created nebulous vignettes out of his family history. The lukewarm reception of the class was an improvement but at the end of the class Tamar offered a single suggestion.
"Why don't you just let the story tell itself?"
It became clear to him why his stories had been so bad. The unlit workshop of his imagination had been filling up with oily rags of pretentiousness and other contrived detritus, and Tamar's question had ignited them. The fire became both a source of melding heat and illumination that allowed him to explore the mineshaft of his memory search of nuggets of ore to be forged in the furnace that Tamar had sparked.
He was still careful to hide the source of the stories. They took on a life of their own, and grew beyond the actual events to the point that the original versions were permanently contaminated by the fictional ones in his memory. But Tamar began to follow them avidly and the class discussions were soon followed by private conversations over coffee and ice cream in the student center.
As they began to entangle themselves in each other's lives, he became exposed to the desperate daily struggles that seemed to have no cause and produced a state of sustained crisis.While he became familiar with the events that brought her to this pass he couldn't truly understand how deep the damage went or how compromised her ability to self-repair was. A father whose leaving created a perfect vacuum and a mother whose compulsion to control was only slighty offset by a craving for her children's love and approval hobbled her attempts to find peace. Scenes from the past recurred in full dress rehearsal over the course of months, and no matter how many times he rode in on a white charger of hope, the more perilous each incident became. Soon she began to mutter of conversations and events that never occurred. Then she began seeing a therapist provided by the university health services. A elderly female Jungian, once highly regarded, now quite mad herself. Within 3 months Tamar had to be admitted to McLean Hospital, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Her mother came to get her after six weeks. As soon as she arrived in town, all access to Tamar was blocked. He was unable to call or visit the hospital, and under a pharmceutical spell, Tamar was spirited away to Raleigh, never to return to the university.
His attempts to contact her were unsuccessful, but once when he was a grad student after returning from a summer conference he received a birthday card from her with an Iowa postmark. Then when he had a history chair at Williams College, a friend from his school days sent him an email to let him know that Tamar had published a book. It was billed as a non-fictional account of her descent into the netherworld of schizophrenia. The surprise happy ending was that she became one of the first wave of patients treated with Prozac and this enabled her to finish her education and resume writing. He bought the book. It was the early days of the internet but her publisher had a website with an extended bio, the final sentence of which would also suit the closing of the tale of their relationship: "She lives in Connecticutt with her husband." Still, the conventional wisdom demanded that he achieve "closure", so he sent her brief note of congratulations, doubting if it would even reach her. But since he had never been able to respond to the birthday card he didn't think it was inappropriate. He later admitted to himself that it was weakness that prompted him to put a return address on the letter.
She responded quickly from her office address. The letter was full of questions about his career, writing and travels, but she did include a mention to the final stages of her divorce. A later letter explained that the marriage hadn't survived the strain of her literary success. They switched to email after that, a meeting was arranged and within a month, they picked up exactly where they had left off. There was a difference in that there was none of the metal taste of desperation that permeated their final months together. It had been replaced by a studied reserve on her part that he attributed to maturity and a newer mechanism for handling her inner conflicts. He was partially right in that. It wasn't until after the wedding that he began to detect the gaps between her version of events and the testimony his senses and the rest of the world. He was hesitant to see it as lying. Although he never got her to admit it, he eventually became convinced that she had a good grasp of reality, but when situations arose which were unpleasant to her, she would employ her imagination to create a perception that was more acceptable to her.
Both of their careers required travel, but they grew into an odd pattern of extended separation. Tamar seemed to delight in re-enacting their first reunion and he had finally begun to accept that this would be the normal pattern of their relationship. They spoke on the phone on an almost weekly basis, recounting recent events and making plans to spend time together that might plausibly occur. He was acutely aware of the irony that since his quest began, he himself was now making up the events he related to her.
An orange pink smudge on the horizon kindled to a glow. It became an oasis of fluorescence then an entire city of light. Having adopted Max's deep regard for truck-stops he pulled in. It was 3 AM. If he stopped here for the night he would still be in range of Glaser Township, but even after a short nights sleep would still need a few hours to look for temporary lodgings. He preferred to continue on after a brief pitstop as travelling at night was less conspicuous in his mind. Nightshift workers were more lax and less alert as Pavel had taught him. They didn't check vehicle plates on room registration forms, or notice that the the card he used for payment was prepaid and rung on the debit track.
As he was taught, Melchizedek scanned the dining room. His instincts were elevated regarding the trooper sitting at the other end of the counter. There were no overt stares, body language was relaxed and casual, but the trooper possessed Melchizedek's same peripheral alertness. This was no doubt due to good training combined with natural talents for tracking and stalking. But Pavel had cautioned him that radar senses radar first and that since a spy adopts the acute senses of a hunter, particular care was needed to prevent being recognized as a fellow predator.
He commiserated with the waitress over a long night with weary cheerfulness. He tipped well and left the diner in an unhurried manner. The trooper didn't stir. He was in the right lane driving exactly at the speed limit when the headlights appeared in his rear view mirror. They gradually caught up, and before the sillouette of the Crown Vic was clear, the bubble lights came on. He pulled over immediately and had his license and the registration in his hands, which he rested on top of the steering wheel in plain sight. The trooper approaced with flashlight in one hand and the other resting on the grip of the pistol that was seated in the unsnapped holster. Before the flashlight beam blinded him he saw the name flashing from the brass plate below the badge: SWAGGER.
"License and registration please."
Rather than going back to look him up in the onboard computer, the trooper scanned the inside of the vehicle with the light. This was a bad sign. Best to get all the cards out on the table.
"Did I do something wrong trooper?"
After a long pause and a guttural sound that could have been a brief chuckle, the trooper replied.
"I reckon someone thinks so. I never seen such a fuss. Five bulletins in one month. That must have been some damn book that got stolen. Step out of the vehicle which your hands up front and high, please."
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