“I’m only one person, but I speak up for the little guy. Somebody has to,” explains Richard K. Brommel. “I like to think of myself as a soldier on the battlefield of ideas.”
Brommel is quick to explain he does his fighting the modern way: by insulting people on social media.
“And I’ve been close to being a casualty.”
A casualty? How so?
“It’s happened more than once. A crisis of faith. I was speaking out against bad ideas. Universal healthcare, a higher minimum wage, expanded unemployment. So of course I got replies from all kinds of people.”
He voice breaks a little as he describes the conflict. “I’m ashamed to admit it, but some of the counterpoints were making sense. It was a terrible feeling.”
He rests his hand on the faded-beige dust-covered FAX machine on his office desk.
“But I have a secret weapon. Sunday morning comes. And just like going to church, my faith is renewed.”
From a FAX machine?
“Absolutely. I’m on a mailing list. I get crib sheets from think tanks. They’re full of points to counter the socialist agenda. I get the words I need and I transcribe them to beat back the enemy. Better yet, I get my own mind back on track.”
“This is my church,” he says, patting the FAX machine. “It helps me fight the propaganda of our nation’s enemies.”
The FAX machine emitted a squealing scraping noise. It sounded as if rats were being boiled alive inside its plastic casing.
Brommel rubbed his palms together and smiled.
“Here it comes,” he said as a sheet of paper slid into the machine.
He yanked it out the other end as it emerged. His joyful expression melted.
“Another damn Chinese food menu. I’ve called them a bunch of times, but no one answers.”
Another fax came through the machine. He checked the masthead.
“Ah, here it comes! You’re in trouble now, you fools on the internet!”
He read the FAX aloud.
“Sure, a higher minimum wage sounds good, but what about the national deficit? What about millionaires who pay into the system much more? And free healthcare? That will ruin the market.”
He blinked rapidly.
“Sometimes it takes me a while to absorb it. But a soldier can’t protest his marching orders.”
He sat at his computer, laced his fingers and cracked his knuckles, palms forward.
“If you’ll excuse me now, I’m off to fight for the people!”
Then he mumbled. “Of course! The national deficit. Why didn’t I think of that?”