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Alice in Beltway Land (a fable)
One day Alice was surfing the internet, doing research for a high school paper on government. She was looking at photos of the Capitol building in Washington and thought to herself, "It would be great to visit the Beltway and meet the people in government" when all of a sudden her computer's screen seemed to turn into a window. She saw the buildings in Washington and people walking along the pond of the Mall. She leaned over to look at them, and was gently pulled into cyberspace. A white light wrapped around her and softly placed her on the grass next to the pond.
Noticing a man in a police uniform standing nearby, she approached and asked, "Where am I?"
"You are in Beltway Land." The policeman answered.
"I'm writing a paper on government," she said. "Can you tell me what people do here?"
"So everyone discusses what to include in a law?" Alice asked.
"Yes," the policeman answered, "all people decide what to include in a law..."
Suddenly a large figure floated over to them and shouted: "NO!"
Alice looked to see where the voice came from. It was a large, intimidating figure with high eyebrows, big eyes, and a huge smile. It must have been ten feet tall, with a smile a foot wide. It was Queen Pelosi, wearing a big dress. She leaned over to Alice, her huge presence terrifying her, pointed at her and said: "You have to pass a law to see what's in it... You have to pass a law to see what's in it!" She shouted, over and over with a big smile on her face, staring at Alice. Alice, terrified, stepped back and away from the Queen, who then disappeared.
Alice then said to the policeman: "Who pays for the laws?"
"Well, the working people do." The policeman answered.
"My father says taxes are too high," said Alice, "He says 'why can't working people get a tax cut?'"
"Tax cuts cost us money!" Said another loud, scary voice. It was Lord Reid; a huge figure wearing glasses who sat in a ritzy velvet chair. He barked to Alice sternly: "Your father can't keep all the money he earns!"
"Why not? Why can't my father keep more of his money?" Alice pleaded.
"Because we know how to spend your money better than you!" Alice turned her head and saw that this voice came from another intimidating ten-foot tall woman, Queen Hillary.
"But my parents have taken care of me every day since I was a baby!"
"It takes a village! It takes a village!" said Queen Hillary.
"How can you love me more than my mother and father?" Alice asked.
Suddenly, Alice heard another booming voice behind her: "We know better what you should eat! We know better what you should eat!" Alice looked over to see that now the person speaking was the biggest Queen of all, the First Lady, in a huge designer gown. The First Lady quickly drifted away, floating above the ground.
Alice followed the First Lady to a garden full of roses, next to a huge White House. She found a bench in the garden and sat down next to some beautiful roses.
Alice began to feel very uncomfortable. "This is all very strange to me," Alice thought to herself. "I think it's time to go home."
When she closed her eyes, she felt warm bright light surround her. Then the light faded and she realized she was back at home, sitting in front of her computer.
She leaned her face into her folded arms on the computer desk, and cried. Her mother opened her bedroom door, quickly walked over to Alice, held her, and asked, "What's the matter Alice? Why are you crying?" Alice grabbed her mother's waist with both arms, looked up at her with tears rolling down her cheeks, and said "Mom you won't believe it, I must've fallen asleep here at my desk and had a terrible dream." She said.
"What did you dream to make you so upset?" Her mother asked.
"I was working on my paper on government, and dreamt that I was in the Beltway where they make the laws, and all the people there said that you and dad don't know how to care about me or spend your money, that they know better, and they wouldn't answer any questions or help me understand anything. I've never been around such mean, uncaring people. They are nothing like you and dad. I hope I never have a nightmare like that again."
Her mother's face became very sad. As she held Alice she stared at the wall and said, "It's not a dream, dear." She stood for a minute, then slowly walked out of the bedroom.
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