Every few years all the people in Plasticopa do their civic duty and vote for their president and all the other people who will govern them. This is a difficult task, involving filling in little ovals on a piece of paper, which doesn't sound that hard, but it takes months and sometimes years of preparation to be able to perform it well.Plasticopians take this patriotic duty seriously.
Nothing would prevent them from appearing at the polls on the appointed day to make their mark.
Except maybe rain, or snow, or a really good television show.
Mikey and her friend, Alice, have been playing upstairs. Mabel calls Mikey to supper. "Mom, can Alice stay and eat with us?"
"I don't see why not. Margaret won't be home for supper -- she's working at the polls, so it'll be fun to have company."
"All right. High five."
After supper, Jeff gives Alice a ride home.
"Hi, Mom,Dad, everybody. I'm home. "
"Oh, hi, Sweetheart. Did you have a good time at Mikey's house? Come join us, we're watching the election returns. "
Indeed, the whole family is gathered in front of the television. Her mother and father, Bob and Betty, her two sisters, her baby brother, and her cousin Henry.
What none of the people gathered in the room know -- in fact, what nobody knows -- is that there had been a mix-up the day Alice was delivered. In fact, she was not the baby intended for this familyat all. Other parents might have noticed right away, but Bob and Betty are color-blind, and have passed this characteristic to all their direct descendants.
From time to time, as Alice grew up, some well-meaning (or otherwise) relative would remark on the fact that Alice did not resemble her parents or her siblings.
Betty would reply, "It must be her nose. She has her grandfather's nose."
Alice has grown up with love and acceptance in the busy, boisterous household. Now she settles into the bosom of her family to watch the election results, secure in her place in the world.There is an exciting announcement from the commentator: "Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new president. The deciding vote was just cast moment ago. Barrocky has been elected to the most powerful job in the entire world."
"Congratulations, Plasticopia. And that is Countup for this, the 1,282th day, 22nd hour, 34th minute, 16th second and 241st nano-second since the declaration of Mission Accomplished on a Rock. I'm Heath Olderman. Good night and good luck."
"Well, there you have it, kids. It's a great day for Plasticopia. It just goes to show, in this country, anybody can do anything."
"Yep, even a black man like Barrocky can be president."
"Barrocky is black?"
At the coffee shop, Mitzi and Sharon and the customers are watching Johnny Main's concession speech.
Sharon is mesmerized. "Listen to him! That's not the Johnny Main I know. Confidence, sincerity, graciousness...magnanimity. Who wouldn't follow this man anywhere?"
She wipes away a tear. "I don't know why he didn't run for president. I might have voted for him."A LITTLE BIT LATER....
Barrocky is on the television, giving his victory speech.
"So how do you feel about him as president now?" Mabel asks.
"Actually, I was thinking of something someone once said."
"'Well, to paraphrase slightly: 'We have been engaged in a great battle, testing whether a nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure'."
"I love you, you know."
"I love you, too. You're the best thing that ever came into my life. You and Mikey."
"Sometimes I feel so hollow, but I never think about it when I'm with you."
"It wasn't Sting, was it?"
AND WE END UP BACK AT ALICE'S HOUSE, WATCHING THE END OF BARROCKY'S SPEECH...."I wonder what we would do if one of our children married someone different than us and we had grandchildren who didn't look like any of us? Do you think we'd be up to the challenge? Could we learn to love them? Can people really accept someone who doesn't look like them? Can people get over their fear of the unfamiliar, can they learn to get along?" "Yes, we can."