September in the Rage

FADE IN to back room in the West Wing of the White House. Aides are setting up chairs and teleprompter. The actor playing JOE BIDEN enters. The resemblance is remarkable.

“The leaves of brown came tumbling down,” sings Biden. An aide named DON cuts him off. 

“Okay. Sit here, Joe, for a run-through of the September 1 speech in Philly.” 

“Who wrote this one?” wonders Biden. 

Neil Kinnock,” quips tall aide FRED. Don and other aides laugh. 

“Yeah, yeah,” says Biden. 

“Never mind who wrote the speech Joe,” says Fred. “And remember the deal. Your handlers write the speeches. You only deliver the speeches. You’re the mouthpiece, so let’s get you ready.”

A DOCTOR in a white coat gives Biden some pills, which he downs eagerly.

“OK,” says the Delaware Democrat. “Now bring it on.” 

The teleprompter starts. Biden reads. 

“My fellow Americans, I speak to you tonight from sacred ground in America: Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is where America made its Declaration of Independence to the world more than two centuries ago with an idea, unique among nations, that in America, we’re all created equal. This is where the United States Constitution was written and debated.” 

Don cuts him off.

“That’s good Joe. We want a patriotic, bipartisan tone up front. The people are on your side, but don’t forget, you are gearing up for people who voted for Trump. 

“I hate those people,” Biden says. “They are all semi-fascists.” 

“We know you hate them, Joe, and that has to come through in this speech. Remember when you told that Michigan auto worker he was ‘full of shit?’”

“Sure as hell do.”

“Good. Get back in that frame of mind.” The teleprompter resumes.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” Biden reads. “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people.”

“Great job,” says Fred. “Keep it up, and do not deviate from the text.” Biden continues. 

“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards—backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love. They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.”

The aides urge him on with applause. 

“This is great stuff,” Biden says. “Give me some more.” The teleprompter rolls on. 

MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.” Don stops the feed. 

“Joe, when we go live, I want you to really punch that up. Let’s try that part again.” 

Biden’s face fills the screen in CLOSE-UP. His skin is the color of artificial limbs. His eyes constrict into slits. His mouth looks like the muzzle of a blunderbuss. 

“MAGA Republicans have made their choice” Biden reads. “They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.”

“Great. Now you’ve got it. Remember, everybody in America who didn’t vote for you is full of shit and a semi-fascist.” 

“Right,” says Biden, who continues. 

“MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair,” Biden reads. “They spread fear and lies—lies told for profit and power.”

Strong applause from the aides as Biden reads on.

“I will not stand by and watch—I will not—the will of the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy theories and baseless, evidence-free claims of fraud.”

“That’s good Joe,” says Fred. “From here on, dial it back a bit. More upbeat. You know, happy days are here again.” 

Biden is glad to hear it. 

“More Americans are working than ever. Businesses are growing. Our schools are open. Millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty,” Biden reads. “American manufacturing has come alive across the heartland, and the future will be made in America.”

Long applause from the aides throughout the rest. Biden closes out. 

We just need to remember who we are. We are the United States of America. The United States of America. And may God protect our nation. And may God protect all those who stand watch over our democracy. God bless you all. Democracy. Thank you.”

We cut to Joe Biden, Jill Biden, the aides, and prominent Democrats watching the broadcast. Cut to FULL SCREEN. 

“MAGA Republicans have made their choice” Biden reads. “They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.” 

“I love the red background and the Marines,” Joe says. “Do you think I look too stern?” 

“No way,” Don says. “It was just right. The American people all love you Joe. You are the greatest president of our time, perhaps of all time. With Joe at the helm, everything is going to be alright.” 

We cut to Independence Hall, where PEACEFUL PROTESTERS wave American flags and chant, “Let’s go Brandon! Let’s go Brandon!” 

FADE TO BLACK as “September in the Rain,” comes up with a swell. Credits run. CUE ANNOUNCER. 

“Tune in next week for ‘Midterm Madness.’ In this ‘West Wing-Nut’ one-hour special, Joe does his best to get out the vote. Don’t miss it.” 

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

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