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
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.
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
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
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.
curtain goes up, the men arrive through the courtroom entrance which is
located Upstage Right between the Magistrate and Johnny
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
Nixon: I understand also that the prosecution seeks
to establish that my client is an undesirable?
(looking at Uncle Sam, who shrugs): I believe
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
Falwell (to the Magistrate): The
defendant is here?
Magistrate: Yes he is. You seek to
convince the jury that Mister Straume is an
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
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.
(still confident, brandishing his leather Bible): That's
because you don't have this! This is the law!
Swaggart (rising from the pew): Right on, Brother
Falwell (vehemently): Shut up, you
Mixed reactions in the courtroom
Magistrate (pounding the gavel):
Order! Mister Falwell, will you please call your first
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
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
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
Magistrate: You may question the witnes, Mister
Falwell (licking his lips): Very well.
Mister Eggbuster, I understand you saw Mister Straume when he lived in
Eggbuster: Yeah, I saw him all right when he drove
his ol' Chevy to the health club and when he went
Magistrate: Excuse me, Mister Falwell. Mister
Eggbuster, did you ever see Mister Straume do anything
Eggbuster: Huh....... nothin' illegal, but........
huh......... kinda suspicious.........I say
Magistrate: Mister Straume, do you know this
Nixon (to Straume): You don't have to answer
Straume: I don't mind. I don't recall ever having seen
this person, sir.
Magistrate: Thank you. You may proceed,
Falwell (licking his lips, smiling):
Redd, tell the jury and the Lord about the suspicious activities of the
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
Magistrate: So are all immigrants, Mister
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
Eggbuster: Huh........ well, i ain't seen
nothin' meself, but that's what he's been doin', ain't it? Over in
Magistrate: So far, this isn't much of a case,
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
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
Eggbuster: Huh........ ask me a question
Nixon: How much have you been drinking
Eggbuster: Coupla sixpacks o' Bud. My brother gave me
Nixon: And how much grass have you been
Eggbuster: Coupla joints
Nixon: Any additional chemicals worth
Sustained. It's mister Straume's drug abuse this is all about; not Mister
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...........
well. Mister Eggbuster, what organizations are you a card-carrying
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, what's the relevance of
Nixon: You'll see.
a card out of his wallet): Here! (Proudly:) The National Rifle
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!
Let's take a look at this.
Magistrate (pounding the
gavel): Quiet! Order in this court! You are way out of line, Mister
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
(weary): Mister Nixon, what's all this?
Prosecution is accusing my client of subversion.
Nixon: My question is
Magistrate (with a tired sigh): Very well.
Objection overruled. Mister Eggbuster, answer the
Eggbuster: Yeah, the question,
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
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.
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
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
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!
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,
Loud boos and jeers throughout the
Magistrate (pounding the
gavel): Order! Quiet! Mister Nixon, what is going on
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.
Objection! It's too much to expect poor Uncle Sam to go through all
Magistrate: Objection overruled. Uncle Sam can take
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
Lennon: I always knew the cannabis thing
was just an excuse that you wanted me out because I agitated against your
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......
Nixon, you are getting us all sidetracked with this.
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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.
Spare us, counsel. They didn't have AIDS back then.
(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
Falwell: Objection! Mister Nixon is browbeating and
bullying this whole court!
Magistrate: Objection sustained.
Contain yourself, Mister Nixon.
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
Nixon: No further questions, your
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, you may
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
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
Falwell: Isn't it relevant that the key witness for
the defense is conjured up from the pitts of Hell?
(ignoring Falwell): Mister Lennon, you are
Lennon: Thank you. (Exits.)
Magistrate (tired): Mister Falwell, you
may call your next witness.
Very well. The prosecution summons Mister Lyndon La Rouche!
Straume (burying his head in his hands): Oh
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?
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
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.
Magistrate: Mister La Rouche, can you
substantiate your allegations? Do you have any proof?
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
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?
That's uncalled for, sir. A satanic assault against God's
Magistrate: One more remark like that, Mister
Falwell, and I'll have you in contempt of court. Mister Nixon, you may
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
Magistrate: Objection overruled. The witness is
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?
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.
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
The cherubs nod.
Falwell: This isn't
Magistrate: Mister Nixon, you may question your
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.
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
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?
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
Falwell: But he's a peacenik and a nig..... I mean,
he's another peacenik hippie, Sam! A peacenik!
Well, I'm a peacenik too, Jerry. I've got my
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
Fans: Nuk'em! Nuk'em!
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!
the Lord and nuke the Devil! Praise the Lord and nuke the
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): Order! Quiet!
Mister Falwell, do you have any further questions for this
Falwell (all smug again): I do, your honor.
Mister King, you are saying that an unjust law is no law at all, isn't
King: Yes, that is correct.
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
Justice: Reverend Falwell, would you call me an
Falwell (off guard and confused):
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
Magistrate: Any more questions, Mister
Falwell (defeated): No more questions, your
Magistrate: Doctor King, this court has been greatly
honored by your appearance, and we thank you. You may
King: Thank you, your honor.(Exits.)
Magistrate: Do you have any more witnesses, Mister
Falwell: I certainly do, your
Magistrate (with emphasis, leaning forward): A
respectable and reliable witness, Reverend?
to life again): You bet your robe. The Prosecution summons Mrs. Nancy
Mrs. Nancy Reagan enters in sneakers, bluejeans,
and a T-shirt sporting "JUST SAY NO" in big letters. She sits in the
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
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,
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.
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
Nixon: Our next witness, your honor. It's our
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.
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,
Reagan: It's been a rough day for you, Nancy. Mars is
too close to Pluto. Tomorrow you'll feel a lot better.
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
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.
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
Nixon: Thank you, Ronald.
also felt I owed you one, Richard, for all the help you've given me with
Nixon: I have no further questions, your
Magistrate: Mister Falwell, you may
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.
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
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
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!
(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.
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
Falwell: But astrology is immoral! It's
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
Magistrate (pounding the gavel): This
has no relevance to the case, Mister Falwell! Call your next witness!
Thank you, Mister Reagan. You are excused.
Falwell: The Prosecution calls Mister
George Gordon Liddy!
Nixon groans. Liddy enters and sits in the
Nixon (aside, to Straume): If it
hadn't been for that nut, I wouldn't have lost my
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
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.
You're quite a specialist in covert investigations and operations,
Mister Liddy. What is your assessment of the defendant's
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
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.......
Objection! Mister Falwell is leading his witness and getting me dragged
into Watergate all over again in order to discredit both the defendant and
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
Magistrate: Irrelevant, Mister Falwell. Mister
Nixon, do you wish to cross-examine this witness?
(with a deep sigh): I guess so. George, why are you doing this
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
Magistrate: Objection sustained.
Nixon: I have no further questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Thank you, Mister Liddy. You are excused.
Liddy: Thank you, your honor.
Mister Nixon, do you have another witness?
do, your honor. The Defense calls Mister Thomas Jefferson!
Reactions throughout the court.
Magistrate: The Thomas Jefferson,
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
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
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
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.
You're..... you're a liberal?!!
(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.....
The Bible cannot be used for the purpose of legislation, but I agree
that every gentleman ought to read it.
begging): But Mister Jefferson.....
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.
Magistrate: Do you have another witness,
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
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
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
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.
questions, your honor.
Magistrate: Lieutenant North, you
North: Thank you, your honor. (Exits.)
Magistrate: Your next witness, Mister Nixon.
Nixon: Very well. The defense calls Mister William
Audience reaction. Shakespeare enters in his
customary garb, pointed shoes, goatee and all. He remains
Nixon: Mister Shakespeare, you are no
ordinary witness; you are an initiate and a seer.
Satanic sorcery and witchcraft! I rebuke.....
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
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
Nixon: And you recommend him to America?
Shakespeare: I recommend him. I endorse him. I vouch for
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
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
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
Shakespeare: On what compulsion must they? Tell
Portia (to the jury): The quality of
mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest,
It blesseth him
that gives, and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows
the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is
above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the heart of kings,
is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, jury,
Though justice be
thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of
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
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this
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.
She's a hippie! A flower girl!
Falwell: But she's..... she's indecent!
She's..... she's sexy!
Magistrate: Does she have an
arousing effect on you, Reverend?
(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.
(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
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
Justice: She gave me my sight.
Mercy: Justice is no longer blind.
They make a great pair, don't they?
Nixon: Yes, they really
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.
(musing): A tragedy? More like a Comedy of Errors. Well, there
were plenty of books and a few movies.
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
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
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?
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
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
The jury exits, followed by Justice, Mercy, and
the cherubs, while the curtain falls.
Continue to ACT TWO