American Everyman: The Ballad Of John Q. Public

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Most people go through most of their days without even denting the law, much less breaking it. Not counting the beneficiaries of President Barack Obama’s open enrollment plan for illegal aliens, there are more than 300 million Americans, most of whom won’t build a rap sheet beyond the occasional speeding ticket. Despite our professed desire to “stick it to the man,” we are, by and large, a fairly placid lot. Yet our government has developed an ugly tendency to treat us like we’re criminals, except for those of us who actually are criminals. The latter group, of course, comprises people who are merely misunderstood, those are victims of the evil white patriarchy and the Attorney General (currently, that’s Eric Holder, who’s all three).

But John Q. Public isn’t much of a threat to anyone or anything beyond that double-baco-cheese-monster burger with large fries he ordered for lunch. Sure, he might tip the speedometer a few nicks past 65 on the interstate from time to time. And he did jaywalk on his way to McCoronary’s to stuff the aforementioned myocardial infarction into his already-prodigious gullet. But he’s managed to get this far in life without any major run-ins with Johnny Law.

Nonetheless, Public is the one who gets the second look from Uncle Sam. Since sometime around January 2009, it’s the everyman whom the government began treating like public enemy No. 1. His Internet usage is monitored by the National Security Agency. Every time he emails pics to Mom from the trip to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., the government keeps a copy for itself. When he calls Mom to check on how her new hip is treating her, odds are a third party in the bowels of Fort Meade is getting the update as well. Of course, the NSA probably already knew how the new hip was working out; it probably downloaded her medical records months ago. And God forbid he donates a couple bucks to the local Tea Party chapter. If so, he’s probably getting ready for an Internal Revenue Service audit/proctological exam.

Cameras watch Public for nearly every mile of his commute. His kids walk through metal detectors at school, where they are subjected to Common Core — the inbred bastard child of the teachers’ unions and the Department of Education — in place of knowledge. His 8-year-old spent a week at home after he got suspended for using his thumb and forefinger to make a gun on the playground. He would have earned only a seat in detention, but he was playing “cowboys and Indians,” which violates the school’s cultural sensitivity guidelines.

At work Public almost never voices an opinion about anything more philosophically hefty than the coffee, for fear of being slapped with some kind of harassment lawsuit — or even Federal charges. He’s been climbing the corporate ladder for decades, and he just got passed over for a promotion by a 28-year-old transgendered African-Asian-Native-American because human resources was concerned about “diversity” in the executive washroom.

As if Public’s life under Big Daddy Government’s thumb wasn’t creepy enough already, the old community center in his town has been converted to house illegal aliens; and he couldn’t help but notice that some of the guys skulking around the neighborhood are sporting the kind of tattoos he saw on that cable special about the narcoterrorists to whom Holder sold guns. And he’s pretty sure he heard the word “scabies” at church last weekend; but his doctor buddy told him he wasn’t allowed to talk about any outbreaks of exotic diseases, lest government goons break his knuckles.

Public worries about the effect the influx of illegals will have on his once-peaceful town. But the Democratic Congresswoman from a neighboring district held a press conference yesterday in which she smeared him as a racist for holding that attitude, echoing a sentiment delivered to him by his teenage daughter, courtesy of her high school history teacher. He thought about heading to the town meeting about the issue. But City Hall has been surrounded by pro-illegal alien protesters who arrived on buses chartered by labor unions, and some of the “activists” threatened his wife over the National Rifle Association sticker in the window of their minivan. So Public goes home, hoping he doesn’t get pulled over along the way and subjected to his State’s new “stop-and-stab” policy of forcibly drawing motorists’ blood.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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