Pardon Me, Mssrs. Obama and McCain, But Do You Have a Minute To Speak With Me, Mark the Roofer?


Dear Messrs. Obama and McCain,

I hope you do not take offense at my having the impudence to write you a letter on the eve of the most important day in each of your lives, but I was hoping that you might be able to take a few moments out of your regal schedules to speak with me. I ordinarily would not even dream of addressing your royal highnesses, but I was heartened to see each of you speaking with another blue-collared working man like myself a few days ago, and I thought I might be able to present my petition to both of you before the election takes place, and the winner gets swept up in the galas, princely feasts, and other perks of having secured the most prestigious and powerful post in the history of the world.

Though neither of you have ever met me, (nor ever will meet me, I’m sure), I am fully aware that in just a matter of hours one of you is scheduled to become the new Father of the Fatherland, and thus my newly appointed Master. I know you prefer other, less ostentatious titles, given how committed each of you is to the virtue of humility, but allow me to be frank with you for a moment and acknowledge how much power one of you will shortly hold over me and every other child of the Fatherland. I know that the power of the position will endow one of you with the political muscle to ruin my entire life, allow me to continue to eek out my current miserable existence, such as it now is, or even elevate me in the public realm to any heights that might suit your fancy.

And so, if your highnesses will oblige me, I come now to my humble plea. I do not prostrate myself before you today requesting a subsidy or other corporate bailout, as I’m sure you were expecting, given the current, fascist economic environment. Nor do I come to in the hope of securing some of that very lucrative pork that oozes out of the halls of the U.S. Congress. Nor still do I come to you in the hope that you might be willing to shed innocent American blood to attack some remote and irrelevant foreign people. As I’m sure that both of you already have more than enough sycophants clinging to your heels in the hope of securing these favors, I humbly approach you today in the hope of securing a very different boon. The simple request that I place before you today is for you to put a price tag on my own freedom so that I might be able to purchase my liberty from you and the rest of the behemoth Federal government.

I fully realize that it would initially be costly for you to release me from my current indentured position, (since I currently and involuntarily pay approximately 50% of my income to the Federal government in the form of income taxes, excise taxes, inflation taxes, gasoline taxes, etc.), but, if you will indulge me still further, I think I can show you why this would be a mutually beneficial exchange. That is, I think I might be able to convince you that it would be better for both you and me if you allow me to purchase my liberty.

The primary reason why you will benefit from selling me my own liberty is that I will no longer be a threat to your position. I know you might not view a man like me, a lowly roofer, as a threat to the most powerful man in human history — but I am. I am a threat because I value my individual liberty more highly than any other article in this world, and I am willing to fight, if necessary, to secure it. I am also incorrigible in my desire to infect the rest of the American populace with the idea that individual liberty is the highest good to be secured in this world. As such, I, (along with other men such as myself), represent the most pernicious threat to your authority and future existence as the most powerful man in human history. And, should those of us who value individual liberty above all goods unite into a common force, your position as the most powerful man in history would quickly dissolve into empty dreams of despotism.

For, you see, governments even as powerful as the one you hope to become master of this week ultimately rest upon nothing more than the common assent or common apathy of the mass of men who suffer under their yokes. The overwhelming mass of ordinary men, from Mark the Roofer to Joe the Plumber, can, and sometimes do, rise up and cast off the chains of servitude that men like you all too often take for granted.

Given these inexorable facts, I come before you today in the hope that you might name a price for my freedom. There is, in fact, precedent for this type of exchange in colonial American history. In colonial America, it was common practice for English and Irish peasants to indenture themselves to wealthy farmers and plantation owners in the American colonies in exchange for transport to the colonies. Over time, these indentured servants were usually able to purchase their freedom in full from their masters. You can think of your sale of my liberty to me in this light, if it makes you feel any better about the exchange. I will overlook the fact that my liberty derives from God and not from you, if you will only promise me that your iron grip will no longer be felt upon my neck or my checkbook once the exchange is final.

In conclusion, I thank your royal highnesses for having the patience to entertain a plea from a man as lowly as myself. I hope to hear back from the victor about the price of my liberty at his earliest possible convenience — after he has had a chance to satisfy his various appetites at the sumptuous feasts that await him this week, of course. I will be on the roof during that time, working under the sun with my hands to pay the taxes that fund your majestic existence, and contemplating the consequences of your failure to sell me what is rightfully mine.

Sincerely, Mark the Roofer