THE IMMIGRATION TRIAL
A DRAMA IN TWO ACTS
Tarjei Straume, defendant
Richard Nixon, his legal counsel
Rev. Jerry Falwell, prosecuting attorney
Justice (a male)
Redd Eggbuster, witness
John Lennon, witness
Lyndon LaRouche, witness
Martin Luther King, witness
Nancy Reagan, witness
Ronald Reagan, witness
George Gordon Liddy, witness
Thomas Jefferson, witness
Lt. Oliver North, witness
William Shakespeare, witness
Portia, alias Mercy
Courtroom audience including:
Johnny Carson (with his Tonight Show in the background)
Phil Donahue, Dan Rather and many more.....
John Sununu, White House Chief of Staff
White House aides
The scene is a court of law in a highly unorthodox setting. Upstage Center is an enormous, elevated throne upon which Justice (a male) sits blindfolded with a pair of scales in his left hand and with his right hand resting upon a stack of law books. He reads in Braille. Above and slightly beyond Justice there are two winged cherubs on small clouds above the left and the right shoulders of Justice.
Center Stage, immediately below and in front of the throne of Justice, the Magistrate is seated behind an office desk with a gavel and a few law books, wearing a long black robe.
Downstage Right is the pew box with twelve jurors. They are all American citizens from a random variety of vocations.
Downstage Left are the pews for the courtroom audience, which includes some notable celebrities: Morten Downey, Jessie Jackson, Shirley McClaine, Jimmy Swaggart, Hugh Hefner, and many others. The rear part of this audience is a mixture of Downey's mob (wearing Downey's T-shirts) and Swaggart's converts (carrying Bibles and posters).
Upstage Left, between the courtroom audience and the Magistrate, and next to a big American flag, sits Uncle Sam, replete with his long white hair and beard, his coat and striped pants, and with his star spangled hat in his hand.
Upstage Right, a little farther off, sits Johnny Carson with his Tonight Show and his laughing audience, which is heard faintly in the distance. He is reading the defendant's file and the Immigration Code, and every line gets a lively response. This continues throughout the play with appropriate commercial breaks, during which Mr. Carson approaches the stage in order to witness the proceedings.
Downstage Center, off to the left toward the courtroom audience (in order not to upstage the Magistrate) are two seats for the defendant and his counsel.
Center Stage Left, between Uncle Sam with the flag and the Magistrate, is the seat for the Prosecutor.
When the curtain goes up, the men arrive through the courtroom entrance which is located Upstage Right between the Magistrate and Johnny Carson.
Attorney and ex-president Richard M. Nixon arrives first with his client, defendant and immigration applicant Tarjei Straume, approaching the Magistrate.
Nixon (to the Magistrate in a low voice): I understand my client has been informed by Embassy officials that the American citizenship of his mother might possibly help his case?
Magistrate: That is correct.
Nixon: I understand also that the prosecution seeks to establish that my client is an undesirable?
Magistrate (looking at Uncle Sam, who shrugs): I believe so.
Nixon and Straume take their seats Downstage Left Center while the Prosecutor Reverend Jerry Falwell enters and approaches the Magistrate with a triumphant and self-confident smile.
Falwell (to the Magistrate): The defendant is here?
Magistrate: Yes he is. You seek to convince the jury that Mister Straume is an undesirable?
Falwell (walks up to Uncle Sam, pats him reassuringly on the shoulder, and announces cheerfully to the whole ensemble): With the Good Lord's help we are going to save our dear Uncle Sam from a merciles invasion by this drug pushing godless communist, anarchist and humanist peacenik hippie who is nothing but a subversive pervert plotting to overthrow our government and undermine the morality of America with polygamy, polytheism, pornography, drugs, Eastern philosophy, astrology, terrorism, devil worship and black magic.
Justice almost drops the scales. The cherubs tremble.
Straume: Oh my God!
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, it would please this court if you would spare us from all of this and stick to the facts of the case at hand. We have no laws against humanism, astrology, or Eastern philosophy, nor against devil worship for that matter. We have laws against polygamy, but not against polytheism. And whatever a peacenik hippie is, we have no laws against that either.
Falwell (still confident, brandishing his leather Bible): That's because you don't have this! This is the law!
Jimmy Swaggart (rising from the pew): Right on, Brother Jerry!
Falwell (vehemently): Shut up, you pervert!
Mixed reactions in the courtroom audience.
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): Order! Mister Falwell, will you please call your first witness?
Falwell: With pleasure. The prosecution summons Mister Redd Eggbuster!
Mister Eggbuster enters, looking around for a witness chair, which is swiftly brought in by a security guard. He sits down. He is quite fat, with a mustache and a crew cut, wearing a motorcycle outfit with boots, leather jacket, colors and an earring. He is a little unsteady due to his obvious intoxication. He speaks with a Kentucky drawl which has been filtered down over the years he has lived in Texas.
Nixon (shocked and surprised): Your witness, Reverend?
Falwell: He may not belong to our congregation at the present time, but if he does something for the Lord today, the Lord will reward him tomorrow and wash his sins away.
Eggbuster: Don't mind that one bit meself. I've always believed in God, and I guess I could use some salvation and reward and blessin'.
Magistrate: You may question the witnes, Mister Falwell.
Falwell (licking his lips): Very well. Mister Eggbuster, I understand you saw Mister Straume when he lived in Texas?
Eggbuster: Yeah, I saw him all right when he drove his ol' Chevy to the health club and when he went shoppin''.
Magistrate: Excuse me, Mister Falwell. Mister Eggbuster, did you ever see Mister Straume do anything illegal?
Eggbuster: Huh....... nothin' illegal, but........ huh......... kinda suspicious.........I say unamerican.
Magistrate: Mister Straume, do you know this man?
Nixon (to Straume): You don't have to answer him.
Straume: I don't mind. I don't recall ever having seen this person, sir.
Magistrate: Thank you. You may proceed, Mister Falwell.
Falwell (licking his lips, smiling): Redd, tell the jury and the Lord about the suspicious activities of the defendant.
Eggbuster: Well....... huh ....... he ain't no good ol' boy, that's for sure.
Magistrate: Could you please be more specific?
Eggbuster: He's got a weird accent. He's a foreigner.
Magistrate: So are all immigrants, Mister Eggbuster.
Eggbuster: He's a hippie, and we don't like hippies. I'm sure Sammy don't like hippies. 'Specially them hippies mess'n 'round with dope.
Magistrate: Have you seen the defendant with drugs?
Eggbuster: Huh........ well, i ain't seen nothin' meself, but that's what he's been doin', ain't it? Over in Europe?
Magistrate: So far, this isn't much of a case, Mister Falwell.
Falwell: Redd, isn't the defendant a subversive radical liberal?
Eggbuster: Yeah, he's a card-carryin' member of the A.C.L.U.!
Falwell: No further questions, your honor.
Magistrate (to Nixon): You may cross-examine the witness.
Nixon: Thank you, your honor. (He rises, enters Center Stage slowly, and abruptly sticks his long nose up to Mister Eggbuster's mouth.) How much have you been drinking today, Mister Eggbuster?
Eggbuster (looking at Falwell, who shakes his head): Nothin'.
Nixon: Your breath says otherwise. My close friend Chuck Colson tells me that if you lie, especially in a court of law, you'll fry like bacon in Hell for eternity. No reward, no blessing, no pardon, no mercy. Now tell me again, Mister Eggbuster, how much have you been drinking today?
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, what is the relevance of this?
Nixon: The defense seeks to clarify the competance of the prosecution's witness concerning substance abuse, which is the key charge against my client.
Magistrate: Very well. Objection overruled. Mister Eggbuster, you may answer the question please.
Eggbuster: Huh........ ask me a question then.
Nixon: How much have you been drinking today?
Eggbuster: Coupla sixpacks o' Bud. My brother gave me some Scotch.
Nixon: And how much grass have you been smoking today?
Eggbuster: Coupla joints Hawaiian.
Nixon: Any additional chemicals worth mentioning?
Magistrate: Sustained. It's mister Straume's drug abuse this is all about; not Mister Eggbuster's.
Nixon: Mister Eggbuster, have you ever seen Mister Straume's A.C.L.U. membership card?
Eggbuster: No I ain't seen nothin', but........ huh...........
Nixon: Very well. Mister Eggbuster, what organizations are you a card-carrying member of?
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, what's the relevance of this?
Nixon: You'll see.
Eggbuster (pulling a card out of his wallet): Here! (Proudly:) The National Rifle Association!
Nixon moves to take the card, but with a swift surprise act he grabs the wallet instead, prompting a violent uproar in the courtroom audience.
Angry voices from the pews: Thief! Crook! Nasty ol' Tricky Dick! Giv'im back the wallet!
Nixon: Let's take a look at this.
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): Quiet! Order in this court! You are way out of line, Mister Nixon!
Nixon: No I'm not. (He takes a stack of cards out of Eggbuster's wallet and lays it on the Magistrate's desk. He picks up the cards one by one and reads them off to the jury:) Hell's Angels, Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Brotherhood, John Birch Society, Syndicated Burglars, Cons Incorporated. Your honor, the Aryan Brotherhood is still fighting the Civil War and seeks to overthrow the Government and the Constitution. When are you going to overthrow the Government, Mister Eggbuster?
Magistrate (weary): Mister Nixon, what's all this?
Nixon: The Prosecution is accusing my client of subversion.
Falwell: And perversion!
Nixon: My question is relevant.
Magistrate (with a tired sigh): Very well. Objection overruled. Mister Eggbuster, answer the question.
Eggbuster: Yeah, the question, yeah........huh...........
Nixon: When are you going to overthrow the Government?
Eggbuster: Well, if them Yankee politicians won't do nothin' sensible, we gotta do somethin' about it soon, you know.
Nixon: No further questions.
Magistrate (to Eggbuster): Pick up your wallet and leave this building at once. (To the jury:) You will disregard the testimony of this witness. (To Falwell:) What do you think this is? A circus?
Falwell (licking his lips, grinning): Well, the Lord works in mysterious ways. If God wants a circus, that's what you'll get, your honor.
The Magistrate shakes his head in disbelief while Eggbuster exits with his wallet and cards.
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, you may call your first witness.
Nixon: Certainly. The defense calls Mister John Lennon!
A gasp sweeps through the audience as John Lennon enters and takes a seat on the witness chair. He looks exactly like he did in 1980, the last year of his life.
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, I find this highly unorthodox. I thought we would have live witnesses here, personally acquainted with the defendant.
Nixon: Your honor, every one of my witnesses is essential to our case. Besides, I gained intimate knowledge of Mister Lennon's case when I was President. I beg your indulgence, sir, (turning to the jury) and yours.
Falwell: Objection! Another godless humanist anarchist communist subversive radical liberal dope hippie! This is God's country! And Sammy's! (patting Uncle Sam on the shoulder.) The witness was never a citizen!
Magistrate: This is our country, Mister Falwell. Objection overruled. Mister Nixon, you may proceed. As a precedent, the Lennon case may be of interest to the jury.
Nixon: Thank you, your honor.
Lennon: Wait a minute. (To the Magistrate:) Excuse me, sir. (To Straume:) Man, I don't know you, but I know you're in the same jam I was in back in the early seventies, and that's why I showed up here to help you out. But now you've picked this Tricky Dick character to defend you. That's the man who kept trying to deport me just because I'd been busted for cannabis in England like you have in Norway. Why did you pick him of all people?
Straume: Richard Nixon is the sharpest legal and political mind in the world. Besides, he's a good man, a decent human being who wants to help.
Lennon: You're out of your skull. I don't need this. You don't need me. (He begins to leave.)
Straume: No wait!
Nixon (to Straume): Let me handle this. (Catching up with Lennon, blocking his exit:) Mister Lennon, I deeply deplore what happened between us back then. The country was at war on the outside and on the inside. You and I both wanted to make peace, but we got in one another's way.
Lennon: Now you're being honest.
The courtroom audience breaks into another violent uproar, especially among Downey's fans.
Morten Downey (yelling from the pew): He's never honest! He's a liar! He's a crook! Don't buy it, John!
Loud boos and jeers throughout the audience.
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): Order! Quiet! Mister Nixon, what is going on here?
Nixon: Your honor, Mister Lennon is crucial to my client's defense. I will endeavor to demonstrate that the odds against this musician were far more formidable than the problems of Mister Straume. And yet, he won his case against my wishes at the time. (Turning to the jury:) I will explain some things to Mister Lennon that he has a right to know and your understanding of which has an immediate relevance to the case at hand.
Falwell: Objection! It's too much to expect poor Uncle Sam to go through all this!
Magistrate: Objection overruled. Uncle Sam can take it, right?
Uncle Sam nods with a bored smile.
Magistrate: And what does Justice have to say about this?
Justice: Richard Nixon's point is valid.
Nixon: Thank you, Justice. Let's sit down, Mister Lennon.
Nixon and Lennon take their seats.
Lennon: I always knew the cannabis thing was just an excuse that you wanted me out because I agitated against your politics.
Nixon: It wasn't just because you were against me. A lot of people were. But you didn't know half the stuff you got into. You supported fifteen ultra-radical leftist groups, including the Black Panther Party and the Irish Republican Army. The FBI had filed you as a subversive. You had a lot of wealth and a powerful influence as a very popular celebrity. You had scores of blind followers who were also violent revolutionaries. I thought......
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, you are getting us all sidetracked with this.
Nixon: Your honor, this is very important.
Uncle Sam: It was important, Richard. Not any more. Those memories are very sensitive to me. Let's forget it and talk about drugs instead. That's what ties these cases together; not subversive political activism.
Nixon: Very well, Sam. My point is that the odds against Mister Lennon went beyond drugs. He was very much an undesirable, and yet he won his case. I am urging the jury to keep that in mind.
Magistrate: You have made your point. Now proceed.
Nixon: Thank you. Mister Lennon, I understand that you won your immigration through a technicality concerning the definitions of marijuana and of cannabis, and that you said you had established a precedent that would help future immigrants in the same dilemma; is that right?
Lennon: That's right. The precise wording of the restriction code said something about marijuana. I was busted for cannabis. I got off the hook because the two are not identical.
Nixon (to the jury): Please note that my client was convicted for cannabis and not marijuana just like John Lennon and that it happened almost twenty-two years ago!
Falwell: Mister Lennon was charged with possession only! Mister Straume was charged with more than that! Besides, the code says "marijuana, drugs, narcotics," and that includes cannabis, counsel! (To Lennon:) How in the world did you get off on that technicality, Mister Lennon?
Lennon: I paid my lawyer a lot of money, and he found a way.
Falwell: Must have been some liberal hippie-judge who grew marijuana in his own back yard. Probably a practicing homosexual heroin addict with AIDS.
Magistrate: Spare us, counsel. They didn't have AIDS back then.
Nixon (taking charge, using the whole stage): My point is this: John Lennon won his case against the INS in spite of the fact that he was a subversive anarchist associated with known revolutionary terrorist groups, in addition to being a convicted drug offender. (Raising his head, addressing Justice:) I charge that it is a severe miscarriage of justice to deny Mister Straume his immigration just because he doesn't have the wealth and the fame that Mister Lennon had, in spite of the fact that Mister Lennon was ten times more undesirable as an immigrant! (Turning to Sam:) Isn't that right, Sam?!!
Uncle Sam (startled): Yeah, you're right!
Falwell: Objection! Mister Nixon is browbeating and bullying this whole court!
Magistrate: Objection sustained. Contain yourself, Mister Nixon.
Justice: Objection overruled! (All turn toward Justice, startled.) Mister Nixon's last argument was poignant, and it would please us if the jury would take special note of it.
Magistrate: The court stands corrected. Mister Nixon, do you have any more questions to Mister Lennon?
Nixon: No further questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, you may cross-examine.
Falwell (licking his lips and grinning): Mister Lennon, you've been dead about nine years now, haven't you ? Or is it ten?
Falwell: Will you please tell the jury, the public, and the Lord what Hell is like after a decade? You must have been roasting like a Thanksgiving turkey!
Nixon (low key): Objection, your honor.
Magistrate: Sustained. (Taking a deep breath:) Mister Falwell, I beg you not to tire this court with your nonsense, especially your malicious, slanderous and sadistic wishful thinking. Do you have any relevant questions to this witness?
Falwell: Isn't it relevant that the key witness for the defense is conjured up from the pitts of Hell?
Magistrate (ignoring Falwell): Mister Lennon, you are excused.
Lennon: Thank you. (Exits.)
Magistrate (tired): Mister Falwell, you may call your next witness.
Falwell (pleased): Very well. The prosecution summons Mister Lyndon La Rouche!
Straume (burying his head in his hands): Oh my God!
Nixon (to Straume): You're lucky, kid. You don't have to talk to him.
La Rouche enters, looks around with suspicion and a little fear, startles when he sees Justice and the cherubs, and sits down in the witness chair.
Falwell: Mister La Rouche, you're quite an expert on global drug traffic, aren't you?
La Rouche: Yes I am.
Falwell: And what conclusions have you reached about the Straume case?
La Rouche: What is very interesting, Reverend, is that less than two years after his drug conviction in Norway, Mister Straume moved to England where he spent five years.
Falwell: And why is that so interesting?
La Rouche: Well, if you've watched my programs and listened to my speeches over the years, Reverend, you are well aware that the British Royal Family controls most of the international drug traffic. Mister Straume has been working for Queen Elizabeth all along for the queen and her Freemasons. In 1975 he made a trip to Miami from London. Miami! (looking around at the jury, the Magistrate, and the audience.) Miami! London! Drugs! The Queen of England! That trip he made to California in 1976 was a dope run for Her Majesty. In Los Angeles he got doublecrossed by the Hong Kong Triad. Queen Elizabeth sent him up to her Las Vegas connection where he received further instructions. He went south from Nevada to a spot where a jet from the British Royal Air Force coming through Mexico made a drop for Mister Straume to pick up in Arizona. Anyway......
Magistrate: Mister La Rouche, can you substantiate your allegations? Do you have any proof?
La Rouche (agitated): Proof?! God is my witness! God told me all this! God talks to me!
Falwell: That's right. God told me that He'd informed Mister La Rouche about the drug crimes of Mister Straume.
Magistrate: I see. God's intelligence network and information bureau has given you all this. We're quite impressed. That's all we need to hear. I wonder what you have been smoking today, Reverend. The same as Mister La Rouche?
Falwell: That's uncalled for, sir. A satanic assault against God's people.
Magistrate: One more remark like that, Mister Falwell, and I'll have you in contempt of court. Mister Nixon, you may cross-examine.
Nixon: Mister La Rouche, isn't it true that you've been convicted for campaign fraud and tax evasion, and that you've been confined to prisons and mental institutions?
Nixon: No further questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Objection overruled. The witness is excused.
La Rouge leaves.
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, you may call your next witness.
Nixon: Very well. The defense calls Mister Martin Luther King!
Awed reactions throughout the court. Dr. King enters, appearing exactly as he looked in 1968. He does not sit; he remains standing, gesturing to the jury and the audience throughout his speech. His voice is deep and powerful.
Falwell: Your honor, isn't this quite irregular? The defendant's counsel conjuring up characters long gone by means of sorcery, black magic and witchcraft?
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, the defense does not seem to have a monopoly on irregular witnesses here. But with all due respect, Mister Nixon, you have called a witness who has never met the defendant and who even died before the drug offenses concerned were committed. I fail to see how Doctor King can help illuminate any relevant facts. It appears to me that you have called this witness solely for the dramatic effect of having the court listen to his personal opinions and comments.
Nixon: The defense finds it natural and expedient to invite witnesses whose great dreams and philosophies have shaped our legislature. (To Justice:) And I am sure Justice will be very pleased to hear a dear old friend like Reverend King speak.
Justice: It would warm us to hear his voice.
The cherubs nod.
Falwell: This isn't fair.
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, you may question your witness.
Nixon: Reverend King, you agreed to appear as a witness for the defense because you feel that justice is best served if my client is approved as an immigrant to the United States. Could you elaborate on that?
King: I once said that an unjust law is no law at all. If Mister Straume cannot be legally admitted to the United States as an immigrant exclusively because he broke the law in Norway twenty-two years ago and even paid for his mistake by spending time in prison, then the law is unjust.
Magistrate: With all due respect, Reverend King, isn't it a little far fetched to draw a parallell between America's old segregation laws and the restriction codes against drug offenders entering our country? You went to prison for openly violating unjust laws in order to have them changed; the defendant went to prison for breaking perfectly just and necessary laws.
King: That was then. This is now. I am speaking up for Mister Straume because I see a man of noble spirit in conflict with an unrighteous law which says that for the rest of his life he is to be punished for a crime which he paid for over twenty years ago by being forever barred from the country he loves deeply and needs desperately. I believe "cruel and unusual punishment" is an appropriate term. Let freedom ring from Washington to Oslo, from London to Los Angeles! Let freedom ring for Tarjei Straume! Let freedom ring!
Nixon: Thank you, Reverend King. No further questions, your honor.
Magistrate: You may cross-examine, Mister Falwell.
Falwell (licking his lips, grinning): You're quite a subversive little communist, aren't you, Reverend King? And a sex fiend?
King: I beg your pardon?
Falwell (to Uncle Sam): Doesn't the FBI have a substantial dossier on this man concerning his subversive revolutionary communist activities as well as his wild sexual exploits?
Uncle Sam: J. Edgar Hoover had an obsession against black progress and a personal hatred of Reverend King. Hoover abused my agency to intimidate King, simply because he was a "fellow traveller" - he had communist friends. Hoover kept projecting his prurient fantasies upon his suspects. Listen, Jerry, Martin is my favorite Reverend not you. Sorry about that, pal, but Martin Luther King's birthday is a national holiday not yours.
Falwell: But he's a peacenik and a nig..... I mean, he's another peacenik hippie, Sam! A peacenik!
Uncle Sam: Well, I'm a peacenik too, Jerry. I've got my Peacekeepers.
Falwell: Missiles for Jesus! Praise the Lord and His Uncle Sam! Let's nuke the Devil and all His works!
Another uproar occurs in the camps of Swaggart and Downey.
Downey: Let's nuk'em!
Fans: Nuk'em! Nuk'em!
Swaggart-Follower: Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!
Others: Praise the Lord and nuke the Devil! Praise the Lord and nuke the Devil!
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): Order! Quiet! Mister Falwell, do you have any further questions for this witness?
Falwell (all smug again): I do, your honor. Mister King, you are saying that an unjust law is no law at all, isn't that correct?
King: Yes, that is correct.
Falwell: You're an anarchist, Mister King! If a law is unjust in your personal subjective opinion, you just pronounce it invalid, and then you go out and break it! Maybe your name got to your head and you fancied yourself to be the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the author of all laws!
Justice: Reverend Falwell, would you call me an anarchist?
Falwell (off guard and confused): Huh?
Justice: What Reverend King said about unjust laws being no laws at all wasn't something he just cooked up out of the blue. It was a higher truth which I revealed to him. He was my messenger. Reverend Falwell, am I an anarchist?
Jerry Falwell is speechless. He sits down next to Uncle Sam, dumbfounded. The jurors appear a little uneasy, a trifle off guard.
Magistrate: Any more questions, Mister Falwell?
Falwell (defeated): No more questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Doctor King, this court has been greatly honored by your appearance, and we thank you. You may leave.
King: Thank you, your honor.(Exits.)
Magistrate: Do you have any more witnesses, Mister Falwell?
Falwell: I certainly do, your honor.
Magistrate (with emphasis, leaning forward): A respectable and reliable witness, Reverend?
Falwell (back to life again): You bet your robe. The Prosecution summons Mrs. Nancy Reagan!
Mrs. Nancy Reagan enters in sneakers, bluejeans, and a T-shirt sporting "JUST SAY NO" in big letters. She sits in the witness chair.
Falwell: Mrs. Reagan, as First Lady you launched an admirable campaign against the drug scourge in America. You are appearing as a witness for the prosecution because you feel it is consistent with the "Just Say No"-policy and to stem the tide of drugs and drug offenders invading and destroying this country, isn't that true?
Mrs. Reagan: That's right, Reverend. When we say, "Just Say No", that means No! It means Absolutely No! No no no!!! The defendant is a convicted drug offender who wants to come to America. I say No! (She rises and walks up to the jury:) Just say No! No no no!!
Magistrate: Is that all, Mrs. Reagan? Are you through?
Mrs. Reagan: No! I mean, Yes, I'm through.
Magistrate: Any more questions, Mister Falwell?
Falwell: No, your honor.
Magistrate: You may cross-examine, Mister Nixon.
Nixon: I have no questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Mrs. Reagan, the court thanks you for appearing. You may leave.
Mrs. Reagan: Thank you, your honor. (As she approaches the exit, she stumbles into Ronald Reagan.) Oh Ron! I didn't hear them call you.
Reagan: They didn't? Well you see, Nancy, I don't know if the battery is still working on this hearing aid......
Magistrate: I believe you're too early, Mister Reagan. (To Falwell:) Your next witness, I assume?
Nixon: Our next witness, your honor. It's our turn.
Mrs. Reagan: Ronnie! How can you defend this man against our good and dear friend Jerry who is fighting for a moral majority and a clean, drug free America?
Reagan: But he's a Norwegian actor who wants to come to Hollywood and be an American, Nancy. And Richard is a much closer friend than Jerry.
Mrs. Reagan: But the kids, Ronnie, the kids! This man will drug the children of America!
Reagan: You're too pessimistic, Nancy. You always think the worst.
Mrs. Reagan: I can't help it, Ron.
Reagan: It's been a rough day for you, Nancy. Mars is too close to Pluto. Tomorrow you'll feel a lot better.
Mrs. Reagan: Not if you say Yes to a drug offender. (Pulling his arm:) Come, we're leaving.
Magistrate: Mrs. Reagan, you husband's presence is required in this courtroom immediately. Mister Nixon, you may call him in.
Nixon: The Defense calls Mister Ronald Reagan!
Reagan (gets applause as he enters, and sits down): Why are people always trying to push me around?
Mrs. Reagan exits.
Nixon: My old friend Ronald, you agree that my client ought to be approved as an immigrant. Why?
Reagan: Well Richard, I just told Nancy that Tarjei Straume is a Norwegian actor. Besides, he's made of solid stuff because he's a Taurus with his moon in Virgo and ruled by Venus. Just look at Harry Truman. He and Tarjei Straume were both born on May 8th. Yes, when I studied the defendant's horoscope, I was thinking to myself: America needs this guy.
Nixon: Thank you, Ronald.
Reagan: I also felt I owed you one, Richard, for all the help you've given me with foreign policy.
Nixon: I have no further questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, you may cross-examine.
Falwell: My dear Ronald Reagan, I always thought you were a faithful servant of the Good Lord Who put you in the White House twice.
Reagan: I am. I believe in God and Country just like yourself and Pat Robertson.
Falwell: Yes, but this backsliding into the Devil's astrology and voodoo economics has mislead you to the point of defending a godless, perverted and subversive hippie anarchist drug addict.
Nixon: Objection, your honor.
Magistrate: Sustained. The jury will disregard Mister Falwell's last remarks. Mister Falwell, your polemics against the defendant have no foundation in reality. Your opinion of Mister Reagan's religious philosophy has no objective interest outside your own church.
Falwell: In that case, your honor, Mister Reagan's astrological nonsense has no validity outside the lodges of witches and the cocktail parties of Shirley McClaine!
Shirley McClaine (rises from her pew, visibly offended): Reverend Falwell, my artistic and spiritual work is no cocktail party. Social consumption of liquor is not on my list of leisure activities either. I.......
The court goes into another uproar, with the Downey's yelling at Falwell and the Swaggart's attacking McClaine, calling her a witch. Reagan is flabbergasted.
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): I want order and quiet in this court before I have it cleared! As for you, Mister Falwell, I've just about had it! In view of the high probability that some of our jurors understand astrology, Mister Reagan's remarks may prove helpful to their assessment of the defendant's character. This does not mean that astrology is officially recognized by this court.
Falwell: But astrology is immoral! It's evil!
Jimmy Swaggart (shouting from the pew): Tell'em the truth, Brother Jerry!
Falwell (facing the jury, waving the Bible): So you understand astrology. Do you understand this, God's Word? Let me read you a passage from Daniel.......
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): This has no relevance to the case, Mister Falwell! Call your next witness! Thank you, Mister Reagan. You are excused.
Reagan: Thank you. (Exits.)
Falwell: The Prosecution calls Mister George Gordon Liddy!
Nixon groans. Liddy enters and sits in the witness chair.
Nixon (aside, to Straume): If it hadn't been for that nut, I wouldn't have lost my Presidency.
Falwell: Mister Liddy, you're quite an expert on dope-hippies, peaceniks, subversives, perverts, anarchists, communists, demonstrators, nay-sayers, fornicators, terrorists, vagabonds, masturbators, drifters, derelicts, pacifists, whoremongers, warmongers and warlocks, aren't you sir?
Liddy (smiling): Yes, I've been combating those creeps all my life. And my father before me. And his father before him. Adolf Hitler had a sense for that too.
Falwell (with great caution): You're not really a Nazi, are you, Mister Liddy?
Liddy (laughing): No, only when I was a little kid. I'm a very patriotic American all the way. I'm all God and Country just like you, Reverend.
Falwell: You're quite a specialist in covert investigations and operations, Mister Liddy. What is your assessment of the defendant's character?
Liddy: He's probably not very dangerous, but his background is so controversial that I think the national interest is better served if he is barred from entering the United States.
Falwell: Do you base that conclusion upon personal experience with adversaries of similar profiles through long years of loyal service to your country?
Liddy: That's correct. For instance, during President Nixon's re-election campaign there were some really violent dope-smoking hippies.......
Nixon: Objection! Mister Falwell is leading his witness and getting me dragged into Watergate all over again in order to discredit both the defendant and his counsel!
Magistrate: Objection sustained. Mister Falwell, it has been established that the defendant is a convicted drug offender and an ex-hippie, just like your witness here is a former convict and an ex-Nazi, with all due respect to his high service with the FBI. Nothing else. Please don't tire this court with irrelevant squabble about masturbation, communism and anarchism, OK?
Falwell: But the jury and the public has a right to know that the defendant is a godless sinner!
Magistrate: Irrelevant, Mister Falwell. Mister Nixon, do you wish to cross-examine this witness?
Nixon (with a deep sigh): I guess so. George, why are you doing this to me?
Liddy: I'm not doing anything to you, Dick. I'm helping the Reverend clean up the country.
Nixon: In 1972 you were pimping call girls on Miami Beach in order to nail down Democratic candidates. Do you call that moral?
Liddy: We were at war, Dick. That's when the end justifies the means.
Falwell: Objection, your honor. This is all irrelevant.
Magistrate: Objection sustained.
Nixon: I have no further questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Thank you, Mister Liddy. You are excused.
Liddy: Thank you, your honor.
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, do you have another witness?
Nixon: We do, your honor. The Defense calls Mister Thomas Jefferson!
Reactions throughout the court.
Magistrate: The Thomas Jefferson, counsel?
Nixon: The one and only, your honor.
Falwell: Devil-magic! This is satanic justice! (Pointing his finger accusingly at Justice:) I rebuke thee in the name of Jeeezuss!! I rebuke thee.....
Thomas Jefferson enters in garb and appearance exactly as he looked toward the end of his Presidency, ca.1808. He takes a keen interest in Reverend Falwell's gesticulations and rebukes against Justice, who pays no attention to this. Falwell discovers Jefferson and freezes, transfixed. Like Dr. King before him, President Jefferson remains standing throughout his testimony.
Nixon: Mister Jefferson, I understand you have been brought up to date concerning our cultural, political, legal and economic history?
Jefferson: Yes I have.
Nixon: And you have been briefed about my client's case?
Jefferson: Yes I have.
Nixon: Will you tell this court why you have found my client deserving of your support?
Jefferson: In the twentieth century there has been much talk about "freedom for every nation." These are fine-sounding words, but they make no sense. You cannot have free nations unless you have free individuals to begin with. In my day immigrants were admitted freely and without restriction. The import of slaves was repugnant to me. Today freedom has been abrogated throughout the world by an excessive bureaucracy.
Nixon: Mister Jefferson, what do you have to say about my client, the defendant?
Jefferson: I say, set him free; give him his immigration. This man spent many years in America without freedom, because he did not have the legal right to be there. Give him the taste of American freedom. Don't punish him for something that is long forgotten.
Nixon: Thank you, Mister Jefferson. No further questions, your honor.
Magistrate: You may cross-examine, Mister Falwell.
Falwell (faces Jefferson, pauses, and finally finds his voice, brandishing his leather Bible): Mister Jefferson, you are of course familiar with this book; it is the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Jefferson: Yes, I used to have one.
Falwell (gaining confidence): And you believe the Holy Word of God, as a good Christian, Founding Father and all?
Jefferson (puzzled): Of course.
Falwell (triumphant): And you agree that the infallible Word of God should be the law of the land?
Jefferson: I beg your pardon, sir, but what you have there is not the infallible Word of God. It is a masterful renditions in English of sacred Jewish scriptures. The New Testament does teach us about the salvation of all mankind, but in my day we established a separation of church and state in order to prevent members of the clergy like yourself from undermining our God-given right to liberty, especially in spiritual matters.
Falwell: You're..... you're a liberal?!!
Jefferson (laughing at Falwell's dismay): I most certainly am. I'm a revolutionary; you're a reactionary. Not only did I write the Declaration of Independence; I also created the Democratic Party. If you value freedom, you must fight for it every day. To do that, you must be a liberal. The infallible Word of God is not to be found on dead print, but in the living hearts of all free men. That was a problem for us when we drafted the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton was a believer in the printed word; I wasn't. I have complete faith in the free spirit.
Falwell: But..... but the Bible.....
Jefferson: The Bible cannot be used for the purpose of legislation, but I agree that every gentleman ought to read it.
Falwell (almost begging): But Mister Jefferson.....
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, if you wish to continue this, I suggest you invite Mister Jefferson to your church. The witness is dismissed.
Jefferson (slightly bowing his head): Gentlemen. (Exits.)
Magistrate: Do you have another witness, Mister Falwell?
Falwell: I certainly do. The Prosecution summons Lieutenant Oliver North!
Audience reaction. North gets applause from Downey's crowd when he enters and sits in the witness chair.
Falwell (back to his smug old self again): Brother Ollie, you've been out there in the jungle defending America all by yourself, haven't you?
North: Yes sir.
Nixon (aside to Straume): Another Rambo, just like George.
Falwell: Will you please tell the jury and the Lord what is threatening America today?
Magistrate: What's the idea here, Mister Falwell?
Falwell: We will establish that the defendant is a threat to our national security.
Magistrate: Objection overruled.
Falwell: What is threatening America today, Brother Ollie?
North: Drugs and hippies, communist guerillas and anarchists.....
Magistrate: Sustained. Lieutenant North, your military intelligence activities have been chiefly down in Central America, right?
North: Yes sir.
Magistrate: Did you ever see the defendant down there..... in Ortega's army with a joint in his mouth or anything like that?
North: No sir.
Magistrate: Have you ever seen the defendant at all?
North: No sir.
Falwell: Your honor, I must protest. None of Mister Nixon's witnesses have seen the defendant either. This court is biased!
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, the difference is this: Every one of Mister Nixon's witnesses has been an important figure in the creating and shaping of our legislature and jurisprudence, or as in the case of Mister Lennon, has had a decisive influence upon the practical application of the Immigration Code at hand. Every one of your witnesses, however, has been a breaker rather than a maker of law, with the sole exception of Mrs. Nancy Reagan, and Mister Liddy's expertise in the FBI notwithstanding. With all due respect to the Lieutenant's career and integrity, your witnesses, Reverend, are all convicts. You most certainly created a fine company for the former First Lady. To top it all off, we have to listen to your tedious fundamentalist outbursts. Mister Nixon is a lawyer. You are a preacher playing lawyer to impress your congregation and your TV audience. Either you let me run this court, or you get back to your church where you can play God. Am I making myself clear?
Falwell is too furious to answer.
Magistrate: Any questions for this witness, Mister Nixon? You may cross-examine.
Nixon: No questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Lieutenant North, you are excused.
North: Thank you, your honor. (Exits.)
Magistrate: Your next witness, Mister Nixon.
Nixon: Very well. The defense calls Mister William Shakespeare!
Audience reaction. Shakespeare enters in his customary garb, pointed shoes, goatee and all. He remains standing.
Nixon: Mister Shakespeare, you are no ordinary witness; you are an initiate and a seer.
Falwell: Satanic sorcery and witchcraft! I rebuke.....
Magistrate: Any more outbursts like that, Mister Falwell, and I'll have you in contempt of court! I'll have you eighty-sixed! Is that understood?
Falwell (with suppressed anger): Yes, your honor.
Nixon (continues): I assume that through your higher faculties of cognition you may have some knowledge of my client?
Shakespeare: He came to my attention when he was a theatre student in England. He studied my plays and sonnets, and he played some of my characters.
Nixon: And you recommend him to America?
Shakespeare: I recommend him. I endorse him. I vouch for him.
Nixon: As you know, my client was convicted for drug offenses prior to his years in England. This bars him from immigration to America. Will you tell the jury why they should make an exception if the law authorizes a waiver?
Shakespeare (facing the jury): Initially, I would say that the defendant is exceptionally well prepared through his study of English and other European history and classsical literature. Secondly, he is also well versed in American history and culture. But my third and most important point is that in addition to Justice seated on his throne here, we need the presence of Mercy. Where is she?
Magistrate: It hasn't been customary.....
Shakespeare: What a shame. Who remembers Portia's speech about mercy from "The Merchant of Venice"?
Nixon (smiling): I know that one.
Shakespeare (shouting): Portia! Come in here!
Portia enters, a beautiful young woman dressed up as a man of the sixteenth century. Shakespeare leads her over to the jury.
Shakespeare (to Portia): The American Immigration Code prohibits our friend from entering the land he loves and needs because he was convicted and punished for a crime almost twenty-two years ago.
Portia: Then must the jury be merciful.
Shakespeare: On what compulsion must they? Tell them that.
Portia (to the jury): The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest,
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the heart of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, jury,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoken thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court
of the United States of America
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the defendant there.
Justice: We need her. Leave her with us. Pull up a throne.
The cherubs bring a throne and place it on the right hand side of Justice. Portia is given a beautiful dress and is crowned with a wreath of flowers.
Shakespeare: Your name is now Mercy. Go and sit on your throne next to Justice.
Falwell: Objection! She's a hippie! A flower girl!
Magistrate: Objection overruled.
Falwell: But she's..... she's indecent! She's..... she's sexy!
Magistrate: Does she have an arousing effect on you, Reverend?
Falwell (blushing): She's Satan's own daughter!
Shakespeare: Modern men who choose religion as their profession are driven by a variety of instincts, some of which are of the baser kind. Certain theologians have a strong inclination to develop a chronic obsession with prurient sensuality. I believe Reverend Falwell's pathological condition is sufficiently advanced to warrant his immediate dismissal from this court. Mercy is a pure and innocent virgin, and I urge the court to protect her safety.
Falwell: Objection! Objection!
Uncle Sam (patting Falwell on the shoulder): Take it easy, Jerry. Go and spend a couple of days in one of my Nevada cat houses. The girls there say they miss you. You'd better go fast, Jerry. This is gett'n outa hand.
Falwell: But we were going to close them down!
Uncle Sam: That would be very unhealthy for you, Jerry.
Two security guards enter to escort Falwell out of the building.
Falwell: You can't do this to me! It's my turn to cross-examine!
Magistrate: You can argue with Shakespeare about the King James Bible in your church! You are dismissed.
Falwell: But..... but your honor! I have more witnesses!
Magistrate: We have learned all we need to know about your guerilla warfare against masturbating subversive peaceniks.
Falwell: But..... but my closing argument!
Magistrate: We've heard that too about astrology and communism and fornication. Have a good day, Mister Falwell.
Falwell: Huh..... (He is escorted out.)
Nixon and Straume both grab Shakespeare's hands and thank him affectionately and profusely.
Nixon: You even got rid of the Prosecution!
Shakespeare: No, I didn't. She did. (He points to Mercy.)
Mercy is radiating a beautiful, loving smile enhanced by the wreath of flowers on her head and her summer dress. Justice has removed his blindfold. He looks down with his sharp and clear countenance.
Justice: She gave me my sight.
Mercy: Justice is no longer blind.
Straume: They make a great pair, don't they?
Nixon: Yes, they really do.
Shakespeare: I must leave. Best of luck to you. (He shakes Straume's hand.)
Nixon: I'll miss you, Ol' Bill.
Shakespeare: "Ol' Bill," I like that. You know, I could have written a great tragedy around Watergate.
Nixon (musing): A tragedy? More like a Comedy of Errors. Well, there were plenty of books and a few movies.
Shakespeare: Yes, but nobody got to the bottom of it the way I did with Julius Caesar, Richard III, and King Lear. So long. (He exits.)
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, do you have a closing argument?
Nixon (clearing his voice): Yes I do, but before I begin, I would like to relate a conversation I had with Socrates about my client's plea.
Magistrate: You had a conversation with Socrates?
Nixon: Yes I did. He was supposed to be my next witness, but he has many other commitments, and after the removal of the Prosecution it should suffice if I explain to you his feelings about this matter. When the Athenian Senate made a judgement against Socrates, he was given the choice between permanent exile from Greece or death by poison hemlock. Socrates chose the hemlock. To my client, America is Greece, from which he is being held in forced exile. It was this I discussed with Socrates. Nobody else has shown me a deeper empathy with my client's inner suffering. Socrates knows, because to him, banishment from Greece would have been unbearable. I am asking the jury to remember Socrates during their deliberation.
Magistrate: They will, counsel. Do you have your closing argument ready?
Nixon: I do, your honor. (Facing the jury:) Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: The Prosecution's case has collapsed due to its extremely exaggerated endeavor to discredit my client's character. The defense stakes its reputation upon the claim that Tarjei Straume is not an undesirable. Our friend Shakespeare brought us Mercy so Justice would not have to be blind. I myself experienced mercy when I received my pardon through President Gerald Ford. People said I got off Scot free, but the loss of two and a half years of my own Presidency hurt me more than even a decade in prison could have done. I also experienced mercy when I found it possible to be an effective author and political advisor. I feel mercy today when I get to spend most of my time reading philosophy and classical literature. (He walks over to Straume with a heavy gait and lays a hand on his shoulder.) We are asking the jury for mercy. Thank you all. (He sits down.)
Magistrate: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: The prosecution's case has been a fiasco. You must not let the preacher and his witnesses influence your decision, with the notable exception of former First Lady Mrs. Nancy Reagan. Counsel Nixon has presented an effective defense of Tarjei Straume, and it is your solemn duty to weigh the testimonies of these witnesses against the strict requirements of the law (giving Uncle Sam a quick glance). Keep in mind the John Lennon case. You will now be given Mister Straume's immigrant visa application, which you will bring to the deliberation chamber where you will be joined by Justice, Mercy, and the cherubs.
Nixon (taking a large envelope out of his briefcase and handing it to the jury): Here is my client's passport, his fingerprint card, his medical report, his photos, and his completed application.
The jury exits, followed by Justice, Mercy, and the cherubs, while the curtain falls.
The scene is the same court of law as decribed in Act One. Upstage Center are two enormous, elevated thrones where Justice sits, without blindfold, with young Mercy on his right hand side. Above these thrones are the winged cherubs, now seven in number.
Otherwise, the court room is exactly as in the first Act, and the audience is the same. There is no jury. When the curtain goes up, however, the audience has not been admitted. The Magistrate is speaking with Jerry Falwell, Richard Nixon, Tarjei Straume, and Uncle Sam. A security guard is watching the door.
Magistrate: Mister Straume, are you prepared to plea bargain on Reverend Falwell's conditions?
Straume (to Nixon): Richard, what's going on?
Nixon: The jury voted in your favor, but Uncle Sam here won't give an inch. He is clinging adamantly to his prerogative to keep you out.
Uncle Sam: You're the one who's turning my judicial branch into a circus, Richard. Just take a look at that happy horseshit you arranged up there (pointing to Mercy and Justice). Justice without blindfold! And a male! With Mercy and seven cherubs! (Shaking his head.) Get'em out of here. This is my country and my court with my laws. Blindfold Justice at once and give the son of a bitch a sex change! Two cherubs are enough. Get the other five out.
Magistrate: Very well, Uncle Sam. (To Mercy:) We have been very pleased with your presence, but I'm afraid you have to leave and take five cherubs with you.
Mercy, looking very sad, exits quietly with five cherubs. On her way out, Falwell reaches out to pinch her luscious buttock, but Uncle Sam stops him.
Nixon (to Straume): Our only chance now is the power and goodwill of the President.
Straume: I wish you were still President, Richard.
Nixon (with a deep and nostalgic sigh): So do I, son. So do I.
Magistrate: You see, Mister Straume, the incumbent Republican administration has a vested interest in the approval rating among Reverend Falwell's..... huh ..... fans.
Falwell (licking his lips with a smile): The faithful sheep of the Lord's loyal servant.
Magistrate: Well..... yes, so we have to accept the Reverend back in this court, regrettable as it may be to you, Mister Straume.
Nixon: What this means, Tarjei, is that you'll have to publicly confess your sins and renounce your evil ways as a born again Christian.
Straume (gawking at Nixon in disbelief): You didn't.....
Nixon: No, but my good and close friend Chuck Colson did. And Falwell is a tough plea bargainer.
Falwell (patting Straume friendly on the shoulder): Lay your problems on God's shoulders, and He'll find a way.
Uncle Sam (rising, donning his star spangled hat): This is bullshit, Jerry, and you know it! I won't stand for it! I don't want this drug pusher on my territory!
Nixon: Sit down and take off your hat! (To Straume:) You see, if you want to be an American against Uncle Sam's wishes, you need the Reverend as well as the President and myself as your allies.
Straume (shrugging in surrender): OK.
Falwell (giving Straume a Bible): Welcome to the club, Brother Tarjei. Here's the Falwell Edition of the Holy Scriptures, with all my footnotes and commentaries. I've autographed it for you.
Straume (accepting the gift): Thank you, Reverend. Thank you, Jesus.
Falwell: Praise the Lord.
Uncle Sam: Jerry, what the hell got into you?
Falwell: Well Sam, I took your advice and had a terrific holiday in Nevada. When I heard that Nixon was appealing to the President, I knew I had to do something. Then God gave me a jackpot on a slot machine while He told me that He needed Straume as His servant in His plan to save America from your mistakes, Sam.
Uncle Sam (indignantly): You're turning on me, Jerry. What were you saying at first about saving me from this subversive drug pusher?
Falwell: You're the one who turned on the Lord when you refused to accept His Holy Scriptures as the law of the land!
Uncle Sam (clenching his fist): You'll regret this! I'll have your tax exempt operation investigated, and I'll see your holy ass in my personal federal pen!
Falwell (with an arrogant smile): That won't work, because all my books are clean and wide open.
Uncle Sam: Including what you just dropped at the brothels and casinos in Nevada?
Falwell (still smiling): The Lord gave His loyal servant a cash jackpot that covered all expenses.
Uncle Sam: You son of a bitch.
Falwell: Besides, I got the sheriff to close down some of those brothels, which has earned us very good publicity and multiplied our donations from Moral America. When the Lord giveth, He giveth in plenty. My cup runneth over.
Uncle Sam: So you're a man of God, a Christian soul. What about those poor girls you put out of work, did you ever think of them?
Falwell (very smug and still smiling): They all fell on their knees and gave their lives to Jesus. They're in our congregation now, laboring for the Lord.
Nixon: In what capacity, may I inquire?
Falwell: They're prepared to obey the Lord in all His commandments.
Nixon: And if the Lord wants His servant to have his own secret harem as a tool to seduce his competition?
Falwell: If the command comes from the Lord..... Why are you trying to trick me, Brother Richard? We're waving the same flag now.
Nixon: That's right, Reverend. I'm sorry. (To Uncle Sam:) What got into you, Uncle Sam? I thought you agreed that my client's plea was a just one.
Uncle Sam (with an angry growl): Don't try to push me around. You stopped the best war I ever had and made me lose the sucker. You terminated the draft. It's because of you I can't get any wars off the ground these days.
Nixon: No, it's because Congress hit us in the head with that War Powers Act.
Uncle Sam: Bullshit. It's your fault. It's all your fault. Everything's your fault. Ask anybody.
Nixon: I did my best to help you. Now I feel sorry for you.
Uncle Sam: Son of a bitch.
Nixon (to Straume): Never mind him, kid. Come here. (Walks Downstage Right with Straume, away from the others.) Uncle Sam's got his back up, I'm afraid, but Jerry Falwell is ours. Never trust that preacher. He's a snake, but he's ours.
Straume: What do you mean?
Nixon (pulling a small tape recorder from his pocket): Here's everything he said about his Nevada vacation.
Straume (suppressing a triumphant outburst): You.....
Nixon (very warm): This is not just any tape recorder, Tarjei. This is a Tricky Dick Special. He'll fear this more than he fears the Lord.
Straume (deeply impressed): Wow!.....
Nixon (half whispering): Don't breathe a word. It's our ace in the hole. I guarantee you that Falwell will play ball all the way. Our way if need be.
Straume: Then I won't have to confess that conversion!
Nixon: It's too late to call that off. Besides, it's a good gambit. Remember, you're not a liberal. You're an archconservative. God has made you see the Light in the Right.
Straume (adjusting to the idea): God has made me see the Light in the Right. OK.
Nixon (patting Straume's shoulder): You've got it, kid.
Magistrate (as Nixon and Straume return): All set, everybody?
Falwell and Nixon nod.
Uncle Sam: Wait a minute. With Jerry goin' turncoat, who's prosecuting?
Magistrate: You are, Uncle Sam. You're the only reason Mister Straume is not an American. You with your Section 212 (a) (23) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Uncle Sam (walks up to Straume, white with rage): If you ever put your dope-stinkin' foot on my territory again, it'll be over my dead body! Or yours!
Nixon (putting his hand on Straume's shoulder): Easy, kid. Don't talk back to him. You have to be a citizen to do that. (To Uncle Sam:) Sammy, you're an absolute ass today! I don't know why, but you're behaving like a jerk! Now you apologize to my client and sit down before I write a very ugly book about you!
Uncle Sam (reluctantly): I apologize, Mister Straume. (Sits.)
Magistrate: Uncle Sam, when we begin, I can't accept any expletives about dope hippies or anything like that. Just stick to your section in the law, OK?
Uncle Sam (pressured): OK.
Magistrate: Everything is set. Let them in.
The audience trails in: Downey, Swaggart, Hefner, McClaine, Donahue, etc. the same old crowd, with Johnny Carson and his audience off Upstage Right. No jury is present. Three White House aides enter the jury box, however, where they set up a complete monitoring and communications system replete with recorders, cameras, telephones, cables and faxes. An NBC crew comes in and sets up cameras and microphones all over the courtroom. Everybody gets makeup. Bright lights.
Nixon (to Straume): Listen, Falwell is getting his circus, and you're his dancing elephant. Trust me, Tarjei: If he gets out of control, I'll use my weapon on him: The Tricky Dick Special. OK?
Straume (with a forced smile): OK.
Magistrate (hitting the gavel): The court is in session. Ladies and gentlemen, you notice that the jury is no longer required. They have all signed a petition to the White House for Mister Straume's official Americanization.
Uncle Sam: Then why are we wasting our time here?
Nixon: We're going to force you, with a little help from the President, to give my client a U.S. passport and accept him as a citizen.
Uncle Sam: Never!
Nixon (moving up close to Uncle Sam's face): We'll see! We'll see!
Uncle Sam: I don't need another disgrace to my flag just like you've always been! And your mama!
Audience reaction. Angry shouts from Downey's mob.
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): Knock it off all of you! And that ghetto talk won't get you anywhere, Uncle Sam. Mister Falwell, please explain to this court why you, after having prosecuted the defendant, now recommend that the President intercede for him.
Falwell: My dear brothers and sisters, let's talk about The Good News you all know from The Old Time Time Gospel Hour The Good News about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has the power to change the worst sinner's heart and make a new servant for His holy cause. Let me introduce to you such a new Christian soul, a new born baby: The defendant, Tarjei Straume!
An overwhelming applause fills the courtroom and thirty million TV-homes as Straume rises and takes a deep and humble bow. Swaggart and his friends are sobbing and weeping profusely, hugging each other and praising God.
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, what's all this?
Falwell: A revival, your honor. God's holy circus. We're on national television, and the President is watching. (To Straume): Please tell America what Jesus has done for you.
Straume (a little bashful, clearing his throat): Well, huh.... well.... I was a sinner. I was a liar and a cheat. I used drugs. I was a hippie and a liberal.
Falwell: A political liberal?
Falwell: A communist, an anarchist, and a secular humanist?
Falwell: You were a card-carrying member of the A.C.L.U?
Falwell: Did you also fool around with liberal theology?
Falwell: With astrology and reincarnation?
Falwell: With rock'n'roll, drugs and sex?
Falwell: And you used obscene language?
Falwell: And you watched HBO?
Falwell: And you were sexually active?
Nixon: Objection, your honor. My client is being humiliated, intimidated, and coerced.
Magistrate: Objection sustained. Are you a Jesuit, Reverend? This sounds perilously like the Inquisition.
Falwell: Well, the defendant wants to be a citizen of God's country, and in order to make an omelet you have to break some eggs.
Nixon: I still won't stand for the destruction of my client's personal dignity, Reverend. Especially not on live national television.
Falwell: That dignity of yours will only keep you out of Heaven, counsel. You can't be saved by Jesus unless you're stripped naked. You have to break down and cry in desperation.
Nixon: So you can gloat over it in front of millions of people? No way.
Falwell: In that case I see no reason why my Christian audience out there should re-elect the President unless he declines to help your client.
Nixon: Your honor, may the Reverend and I approach the bench?
Magistrate: All right. Come on over.
Nixon gives Straume a knowing wink as he and Falwell confer quietly and inaudibly with the Magistrate. Falwell reappears dumbfounded and pale, but when he regains his voice, he cannot conceal a quick blush.
Falwell: I don't want anyone to misunderstand my last remark. Of course it's our holy duty to support God's man in the White House in 1992, a man who is obviously going to help this brave Norwegian servant of the Lord who has left all his sins behind and given his life to Jesus. Brother Tarjei, tell us about Jesus.
Straume: Well.... huh.... Jesus forgave all my sins and saved me. He made me see the Light in the Right. My hippie liberalism with drugs and sex was really Satan having a strong hold on my soul. When Brother Jerry brought Jesus into my life, I found a completely new way of looking at things at politics, for instance. I believe in strict laws, tough enforcement, a strong and active military establishment, respect for the flag, hard work, no free lunch for anybody, apple pie, the girl next door, honor to our dear Uncle Sam, small town values, and the safe re-election of President George Bush. And, of course, The Ten Commandments, The Sermon on the Mount, picking up the cross and following Brother Jerry and Jesus Christ.
Uncle Sam (rising, donning his star spangled hat, walking up to Straume): Bullshit! If I bought that line of hogwash from you, I wouldn't be fit to run and own the most powerful government ever! Jesus and apple pie my ass, what are you trying to pull?
Nixon (stepping in between Straume and Uncle Sam): If you were fit for your job, Sam, the country wouldn't be in such a mess now, would it? You blame it on us Presidents, but you're the one who screws things up. Now sit down, and take off your hat!
Uncle Sam and Nixon both sit down.
Falwell (responding to a demanding stare from Nixon): The Moral Majority, Brother Tarjei, counsel Nixon and myself want you to clean up your act, Sam. Clean up your language and show respect for God's people.
Applause from the Swaggart-camp.
Uncle Sam (in anger, to the Magistrate): They all seem to think they can bully me as they please, but that bum ain't gett'n into my country! (Pointing at Straume): I've got my Section 212 (a) (23)!! And I'm sitt'n on it!
White House Chief of Staff John Sununu bursts into the courtroom, startling the security guards who back off once they see this human pit bull in all his fury. Accidentally knocking down an NBC light, Sununu charges straight up to Uncle Sam like a rhino through the jungle, ignoring the Magistrate.
Sununu (to Uncle Sam): You're sitt'n on what?
Uncle Sam: Section 212 (a) (23) of the Immigration and Nationality Act!
Sununu: Then eat it! I'm the one who decides if Straume is to be an American! I and the President!
Uncle Sam (rising, donning his hat): No it ain't! It's my 212 (a) (23)! It's my Constitution! And it's my country!
Sununu: So he can't get a waiver. Fuck it! He can't have a visa. Fuck that too! He won't need any of that chickenshit if we decide he's an American!
Uncle Sam: You can't decide that!
Sununu (pointing his finger in a threat): Watch us, Sam. Watch us.
Uncle Sam (to the Magistrate): He can't do that, can he?
Magistrate (shrugging, shaking his head): I don't know. I don't think so.
Straume (rising, taking charge): Let's find out. (To Sununu:) You wanna do it?
Sununu (with a haughty arrogance): Why should I?
Straume (pulling Sununu Downstage Right, off the cameras and away from the microphones): Because I'm a son of a bitch just like you are, and I think we can make a deal. (To Nixon:) Richard, come over here.
Nixon joins Straume and Sununu Downstage Right, where he takes the tape out of his Tricky Dick Special and hands it over to Sununu.
Nixon (to Sununu): With this tape you have a healthy chunk of the Religious Right in your pocket. Falwell will ask his TV audience to vote exactly as you tell him, and my client is out of the circus.
Sununu (shaking Straume's hand): Welcome to America, you crazy son of a bitch.
Nixon: Now you can be a communist and an anarchist all you want. You can have a Mormon harem in Utah or a brothel in Nevada. You can join any racket on the market. You're a citizen, and with a little help from the A.C.L.U. or with the right amount of cash, you can get away with anything you want.
Straume: You mean, I've got my freedom.
Straume: What about your House of Unamerican Activities Committee?
Nixon: Dissolved years ago. A bad idea. Too unamerican.
Straume: I'll try to be nice to Uncle Sam. Maybe I can butter him up.
Sununu: That won't be easy. Tomorrow the President and I will have to twist his arm so he'll sign for your citizenship. We need his signature. He is, after all, the nation. See you around. (He exits.)
Straume: There's something else, Richard. I don't have any money, so I can't pay you right now.
Nixon: Forget it, son. Just remember I'm not that bad guy people seem to think I am.
Straume: But I have an idea that could cover a lot more than your fee.
Nixon: Tell me about it.
Straume: You could help General Electric beat the Japanese competition.
Straume: Show me that tape recoprder.
Nixon gives Straume the tape recorder.
Straume: We'll have a unique photograph taken of you in silhouette with a big coat and hat so that your distinguished face is immediately recognized with that famous nose. Then we go to Madison Avenue and launch a global campaign for the fantastic TDS tape recorder!
Nixon (with joy, amusement, and wonder): The Tricky Dick Special!
Straume: Exactly. You can expand the idea into all kinds of electronic appliances, using the TDS logo: Transistor radios, beepers, computer games, cameras, calculators, you name it. Let's do it!
Nixon: Well like I said, you don't have to pay me for representing you.
Straume: But I'd like to. And maybe you'll offer me a decent piece of the action.
Nixon: Yes of course, it's your idea.
Nixon: It's a deal.
They shake hands.
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