‘The chief business of the American people is business.’ -Calvin Coolidge
-for Mike Pence & Pat McCrory
In a Great State of Our Great Union of late
the talk in the coffee bars
and corner stores,
at the pubs and in the country clubs was
that forcing business owners to engage in commerce
with customers whom they did not like
an application of tyrannical force!
And who was to blame?
Well, the bankers and lawyers and real estate agents
knew the answer:
The government, of course!
Everyone who was anyone in local and in statewide business
had a list of those whom they felt had been floated long enough
on the backs of the hardworking, the tax paying
and the bootstrapping;
for far too long this hearty breed of men,
whom no one had ever favoured,
had been expected to carry
every over-privileged naysayer
who couldn’t see that there was no such thing as “free”
that is, except in the area that mattered most:
Let those overfed, rarefied legislators and lobbyists
-those special interests-
learn down at their rarefied rotunda
and along the corridors of marbled upper floors
on Wall Street
just how much of their prosperity and investment
has been wrested from the Joes
-whom they call Shmos–
who are Main Street’s bread and butter.
It was time for a change.
One day one silver tongued salesman stood up
in the cocktail room over at the Hunt Club
and delivered an impromptu
speech of passion
in which he said, quite simply that
it is an affront to freedom
to our . . . religious freedom!
that a businessman, any businessman
in any line of business
should be required to serve someone
that is, serve anyone!
whose personal habits and private rituals
he finds appropriately offensive.
The crew at the bar
and the crowd in the room
stood and shouted hurrah! hurrah!
and then began a heartening chant:
Run! Run! Run for office! You’ve got to run!
Show the Governor,
Show the Courts,
Show the Legislators,
show them all what must be done!
And so he did.
A short time later he was elected.
And a short time after that
up stood this new local tribune
before the assembled within the lower chamber
of the State House
and in his maiden address
he presented the assembled lawyers,
the doctors and salesman
with a proposal he was sure would be music to their ears:
He declared that florists and bakers,
butchers and candlestick makers
should not have to serve either the fairies
or the Quakers
as they are currently so required
by that tyrant the State!
We , the men of commerce, are the victims,
Yes! the victims
of an abomination, a humiliation, an improper fate
that should never be suffered by any free loving American
this late in our history!
It is high time that we promulgate
a new law in deference to the old and natural
order; and to all those who oppose the people’s will,
you shall meet an appropriate fate.
Duly, the bill was passed.
Whereas, no man should have to serve any man whom he deems offensive,
Whereas, the Constitution does not enforce that free born men should bend to any whom they deem coarse;
Whereas, no man should be allowed to marry a horse -or his sister; or a pig; or a cat; or a vampire bat;
Whereas, it is only appropriate that we should give this merchant his dignity
by allowing him to render his dislike both discreet and direct;
Whereas, we hereby decree that if a proprietor of any business take offence
in any way
to the tune to which couples dance
he is fully free within the law to deny them the making of any cake;
and if he is presented with conjugal license he shall be within his rights
to declare it a fake!
Whereas, no party shall be entitled to be made a party to another’s trade regardless of any pledge or promise of proper or fulsome remuneration;
Whereas, free commerce is only truly free in the event that,
or on condition that,
at least one party involved remains at liberty to
deny the other a service for no reason at all
other than an underlying dislike
Whereas, otherwise the will of the market has been impeded
and negative liberty fully superseded
by the cold, dead hand of a tyrannical State;
Whereas, again, the proprietor shall be required as the proper,
direct protector of commerce’s appropriate propriety,
that is, Free Exchange;
Whereas, because only an exchange,
can be the very thing which makes and sustains this,
our country great;
Whereas, never the forcing of barter or exchange upon
an unwilling party can we, the Law, tolerate;
Whereas, the principle of true truck shall be hallowed above all;
Whereas, no man ever shall be deprived of his life, liberty or property
without due process of law!
This legislation, hereby, has taken effect
Note: this later was changed to ex hac die when a lawyer and Latinist caught the error.
—- — —-
one should note,
was a mere voice shy
of passage by
But to cut to the chase;
to circumvent the legalese;
here is what the aforementioned law means:
No more cakes sold to flakes!
No more beers served to queers!
No longer is there any statutory need
to trade with a blade,
barter with a Kike,
truck with a Canuck,
stick with a Spic,
or take a good gander any longer
at a Gook
on a counter or over a register.
After the law was passed
it was with great fanfare that
the major dailies read:
The Constitution Is Back!
Never Say The Founders’ Faith Was Fickle
Progress For Us Pilgrims
No Fair Trade Is Made Without A Bit Of Discretion
In the months that followed across the state
a funny thing happened on the way to the bank,
the credit union,
the mall, the storeroom and the auction
For a great many of those enterprising folk
who had once been courted by men like the Governor,
the Commerce Chamber and the City Fathers,
they stopped showing up.
And for those who did remain,
once their credit didn’t rate,
loan applications were denied
and their new enterprises went untried;
once all of that happened
something else followed out of the gate:
There was indeed a critical mass
of un-brokered mortgages
so that suddenly the median age
of most townsfolk
-and soon after the rest of the state-
And if that were not bad enough,
this drop in youth
caused a dearth of recruits
to the sports & sports-fan-fed state colleges,
which caused the formerly winning football teams to lose;
which led to the close of all the bars and barbecues
all along the downtown avenues;
and without this additional commerce
distinguished college presidents
started to complain how declining attendance
impeded their best fundraising efforts
which led the Boards of Regents to demand their penance.
But the coup de grâce probably came
when those of ample fortune who had, until then, remained
finally fled having decided at last to quit a town that no longer
would pronounce their names.
Or offer them service;
or bother to say hello;
or could recall how to act cordial.
When that truth was plain;
when somehow men of business forgot that though
money is green
its holders can be brown, red or even
when all of that happened the aggrieved took their talent,
their portfolios and their education with them in train
For those who still were able to remember being children
the spectacle reminded them as something out of Seuss
–The Lorax, perhaps;
only this time it was entrepreneurs
who lifted themselves by the seats of their pants
and with scarcely a backward glance
sunk their towns’ and then their state’s reputations
in a scabrous rumor
as noisome and befouling as any pollution:
Bigots! they said
had turned their home into a travesty
of market ingenuity;
on the basis of some foul paranoid prejudices
they had staged a reprise
of the grey inefficiencies
those dreaded communists had once devised.
And so they:
the black/yellow/red/brown, the gay
and very many women
-all of whom being business savvy-
now lived abroad in other states,
becoming the new expatriates
fleeing a place
that no liberty loving American
(or wise investor)
would ever think twice about visiting.
Oh, the cold winds blew
and blew they did
culminating with gale force:
The NCAA reached the judgment
that it shall henceforth be verboten
to hold in the capitol
their annual tournament of basketball.
What to do? What to do!
was the subject of every serious conversation
held in every boardroom,
clubhouse and, yes,
across the state.
A call went out:
Whose cockamamie idea was this new law in the first place?
Screw religion! said one car salesman;
though no one blanched at his blasphemy.
Business! Yes, business is my faith!
Like any true American I know my place remains
behind a register;
it’s on Sundays that I sit in a pew.
After all, I know the temple I frequent six days
out of every seven;
that’s the temple of the market and by God
it welcomes any and every denomination!
And so it was that at last a call went up for repeal
And the Governor,
once he caught the scuttlebutt,
skilled politico that he was,
in the immortal words of one illustrious mayor:
“If that is the way the winds are blowing, let no one say I don’t also blow.”
–Jeremy Nathan Marks