Jack and Eva made love that evening. It was a quiet, fumbling sort of moment, as little Jeffrey slept soundly in the next room. With the baby they had learned to take these moments as they came. Their lovemaking succeeded in diverting Jack’s tortured thoughts for a time, as he was still so terribly shaken by the whole affair with Angelo. For Eva, it was a way of maintaining peace and calm in the house and in the man she loved. When it was over they lingered for a time, still wrapped in one another’s saving embrace.
“I love you,” he said softly into her warm smooth neck, fighting to catch his breath. Eva kissed his shoulder softly and strengthened her embrace in reply.
“Should we have another baby?” she whispered.
The question caught him by surprise. He looked down into her flushed face, searching her eyes with his. “I hadn’t thought about it, at least not for a while.”
“Do you think we could, I mean could we get by with another mouth to feed?’
“Always a way to get by,” he said. The thought wasn’t necessarily an idea he opposed.
They talked and touched for a time afterwards. Eva slowly lost the battle with sleep, her eyelids weighted until she could no longer hold them up any longer. Jack, still unable to sleep went out into the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water. He went to the computer in his small office at the back of the house. The monitor threw a pale blue-white upon his small black desk. He typed in something in the internet search bar, yawned and sat back to read an article as the page loaded. It was a piece about the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
It was Common Cause and Color for Change that shown the light on ALEC, but it was very definitely the Occupy movement that turned up the heat on corporate manipulation of the government, and the buying of elected officials. Progressive pundits like Ed Schultz and Thom Hartman championed the effort to expose ALEC, but curiously no one in the mainstream media picked it up. That legislators and corporations like Coke and Pepsi and McDonald’s fled from ALEC, quitting it and walking away from the attention bore stark testimony to the power of the alternative media on the internet.
This is how ALEC works. Thousands of bills were written by members of ALEC specifically to protect their business interests, expand profits or eliminate legal hurdles. Stand your ground laws benefitted the gun industry, among them the nation’s largest gun retailer, Walmart, a stalwart ALEC member. That market was supported by the National Rifle Association, and fear mongering from a right-wing media about crime, a coming economic collapse and the unfounded rumors that the Obama administration would try to ban guns.
Once written the bills were given to chosen lawmakers who often didn’t change a word in exchange for campaign contributions, or for fear of reprisal campaigns for legislators refusing to play along. Florida Representative Rachel Burgin recently filed a bill to lower corporate taxes and left the stamp from ALEC on the bill. A number of corporations involved in writing legislation for ALEC aren’t even based in the United States.
Jack felt himself fading. Leaning back, he rubbed his tired eyes and looked around the room. He turned off the computer and stretched, going off to bed with Eva as he had more than a thousand nights before. He couldn’t know that in a few hours everything would change, and this might be the last night he would spend with his family. It was just twelve days until the NATO summit. That would seem to Jack like a lifetime, and perhaps cost him his own in the process.