Iris knocked on her dad’s office door. “You got a minute?”
Steve Evans looked up from the stack of papers on his desk. “Sure, what’s up?”
She stepped into the home office. “Just some school stuff I wanted you to take a look at if you have time. Ms. Jenkins, my American government teacher, gave us a weird assignment today and it’s turning out to be a lot harder than I thought.”
“What does she want you to do, lead a rebellion?”
“Very funny.” Iris handed over a few hand written sheets of paper. “But that might actually be easier. Some of us were bickering before class started about things in the news. Before it was over the whole class was involved in a real shouting match about how things should be done. She turned our play into homework. She wants us to make up a country and then draft a list of laws to run it with.”
Steve handed the papers back to Iris. “You’ve got a good start here. Why don’t you read them out loud and we’ll discuss them?” He sat back in his chair, arms crossed over his chest, his blue eyes focused on her attentively.
Iris shrugged. “OK.” She shuffled the papers. “Law number one. Every citizen of Evansville…I named my country Evansville.”
“I saw that.”
“OK. Every citizen of Evansville, regardless of gender, race, or ethnic background will serve two years in the military following their high school graduation.”
“Everyone? How about the handicapped?”
“Even someone in a wheelchair can type and answer phones. I think it’s a valuable learning experience.”
“We’ll come back to that one. What’s next?”
“Number two. Every citizen of Evansville, who desires to do so, may pursue an affordable college education once their military time is served.”
“How is Evansville going to fund that?”
“Valid question. Go on.”
“Three, English will be the official language of Evansville.”
“When?” Steve tilted his head back and studied the ceiling. “Say, someone comes to Evansville from Irisland…”
Iris snorted. “Irisland?”
Steve rocked forward with a grin. “One of my favorite places to visit. Anyway, how long are you going to give them to learn English and what are you going to do if they don’t?”
Iris frowned at him. “You are making this harder than it already is.”
“No, but you can’t make, or enforce, laws if you don’t understand them. So, how long?”
“Really? How’s your French coming Miss second year president of the French club?”
“That’s not the same thing, French is really hard.”
Steve lowered his chin and stared at her over his reading glasses.
“Alright.” Iris scribbled notes on her paper. “I’ll rethink that one. Number four. Every citizen of Evansville will be entitled to affordable healthcare.”
Her dad’s loud burst of laughter filled the room. “Now I see where this assignment came from. I’m not even going there. Continue.”
“Number five, all citizens of Evansville, regardless of income, business holdings, or social status will pay an income tax of 10%. No deductions, no exceptions, no exemptions.”
“That might be the only thing on your list I really agree with. How many more do you have?”
“Just one more. Number six. Evansville will be completely neutral. No involvement in the affairs of other countries, no alliances, no borrowing, no foreign aid.”
“If we aren’t sending money to other countries we’ll have what we need here.”
Steve nodded at her simple logic. “What about wars?”
“We leave them alone, they leave us alone.”
Iris crossed her arms while her father studied her. “What?”
“Well, referencing law number one, Evansville will have an army.”
“Yes, strictly defensive, and exclusively ours.”
“So you won’t be planning any invasions, but you won’t be helping the country next door.”
Iris nodded her head.
“So, if big bad dictator from across the ocean wants to drop a bomb on Irisland, you’re good with that?”
“No, I’m not good with it, but it’s their war, not ours.”
“And what if the bomb lands on the border of Evansville and Irisland and the chemical agent it releases bleeds over into your country?”
Iris dropped her hands to her sides. “Oh, I give up!” She brought the papers up and ripped them in half.
“What are you doing?”
Steve laughed and tossed her a roll of tape. “Tape those back together and go back to your room and type them up. You did fine.”
“But…you shot every one of them down.”
“Did you learn anything?”
Iris looked up from taping the first page. “That I don’t want to be a politician. That it isn’t as easy as it sounds. That for every solution there’s two hundred more questions.”
Steve circled the desk, put his arm around her shoulders, and guided her to the door. “And that sweetheart was likely the lesson Ms. Jenkins was trying to teach.”
NEWSLETTER SIGN UP!!
Please leave your email address in the box provided in the upper right corner.