Fiction by Jamie Mason
“I thank the representative from Minnesota. I will comment on The Resolution before yielding the balance of my time to the gentleman from Arkansas. I am delighted to see that he brought his banjo. Our debate will no doubt be enriched by a helping of his trademark ‘pickin’-and-a-grinnin.’
“The matter before us—that is, a legislative redefinition of the term ‘gainful employment’—is a welcome pass. And in light of recent similar redefinitions like ‘property’ and, most recently, ‘residence,’ well overdue. Why should we not broaden the notion of ‘gainful’ beyond the narrow strictures of monetary compensation? Surely there is more to be gained from work than money! Experience, community engagement, personal fulfillment and prestige are but a few of the rewards. And to those who argue that such benefits are intangible I say: what would life be without them? The recent legislative redefinition of ‘life’ notwithstanding, I would answer: not much.
“As for those who maintain that monetary compensation is vital to maintenance of a home, I refer them to the aforementioned legislative redefinition of ‘residence.’ With passage of the Federal Housing Reorganization Act—HR 288257-4R—requiring the mandatory repossession of all privately owned residences by the financial lenders and the Bank Nationalization and Appropriation Act transferring all assets from said institutions into the Treasury, there are simply no more residences left for private citizens to maintain. That is now the government's job. Like cleaning the streets, where the majority of our citizens now make their homes.
“I am pleased to report that in my district, you can eat off our streets with a spoon. A good many of my constituents do.
“There have always been those who oppose the march of progress. But our nation, Madame Speaker, is characterized by a bold willingness to step into the unknown. I daresay your own presence here today, enabled by the foresightedness of those who agitated for female enfranchisement, is one example of this strength. Another would be the Thirty-Second Amendment. To think that our descendants will one day look back and marvel that there was ever a time before Congressional districts were re-weighted to reflect representation of the unborn. So it is, Madame Speaker, that the terms ‘primitive’ and ‘barbaric’ are continually recycled in light of great social strides forward.
“Therefore, Madame Speaker, there is no longer any need for the arcane notion of ‘gainful’ employment. Put another way, workers no longer need be paid. One representative has argued that the incidental costs of citizenship—the fees, for example, required to purchase a copy of one's birth certificate or renew a driver's license—demand money. But with the new ID chip implant program, despite the unfortunate violence it has occasioned in reactionary quarters, such documentation is as passé as the automobile itself. Indeed, the very reactionaries responsible for the violence are undergoing mandatory implants as part of their incarceration processing. This is a testament to our great society, where even those who would block the way forward are given an opportunity to contribute.
“Absence of work-for-pay may tempt some to shirk their civic duty by opting out of the cycle of design, invention, production and marketing. But of course work will still be mandatory. A society cannot function without it. But removal—er, redefinition—of the reward mechanism will give rise to all the usual objections based on an ambiguous understanding of ‘rights.’ But the legislation proposed by my colleague from Arkansas, ensuring not only universality of rights but also—by a redrafting of legislation to guarantee consistency of rights between two and four-legged citizens—that our proposed legal remedies meet the test of law.
“I see he is already tuning up his banjo, so I will yield the balance of my time to him. Take it away, Jimbo!”