Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Vol II – Episode 84: Borders and Aides, Slavers and Holidays, and Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

Political Satire:  Having trouble surviving these times?  You’re not alone.  Join us in columnist John F. Di Leo’s exploration of an alternate universe, where we imagine the impossible:

Joe Buckstop, an aging, corrupt old fool, somehow becomes president in his basement, and every night, an aide has to bring him his soup and discuss the events of the day as he prepares to receive his nightly meds…

Note: We continue reprinting roughly every other chapter from Volume Two. In today’s episode, Joe Buckstop, still early in his first year in office, is agonizing over the mess at the border and the declaration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Borders and Aides, Slavers and Holidays, and Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

Dateline: June 17.  Begin Transcript:

“Are you down here, boss?”

“Huh? What’s that?”

“Good enough. I’ll keep on hobbling.”

“Who’s there?”

“Just a minute, just a minute… I’ll be down in a minute, boss…”

“Oh. What are you doing down here?”

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m hobbling down the stairs with a bum knee, holding a food tray. Doesn’t sound like I’m here to upgrade your computer monitor or reattach the cable TV, does it?”


“I’m bringing you your soup, boss.”

“OH… that makes sense.”

“Tex-Mex Chicken Soup. Crackers. Napkins. Spoons. There you go. Now I’ll see if I can manage to make it back up the stairs without screaming.”

“Well, wait a minute, if your knee hurts. You don’t have to run back upstairs.”

“Boss, I couldn’t run back up those stairs if you paid me to.”

“Why don’t you have someone else to do it? What happened to that kid?”

“You mean the temp, Rhett?”

“Yeah, him.”

“When you went to Europe, his agency put him on another job that lasted a couple days longer than they expected, so he wasn’t free to return yet, sir.”

“Oh. Well, why didn’t you have them send someone else?”

“They did. The dolts didn’t follow directions. We had to send her back as soon as she got here tonight. They’d better pay her for the full shift; it’s not her fault…”

“Huh? Why did you send the kid back?”

“They sent a girl, boss.”

“What do you mean?”

“Our instructions are clear. The agency is to send a man, college age or older. Under no circumstance can they send a female.”

“Why not?”

“You know well enough why not.”

“Oh. Yeah. Right.”

“There are so many problems in the world, boss. And probably 90% of them are because people just don’t have the sense to follow instructions.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, just like this. Instructions say they can’t send a girl, and they sent a girl. People buy an electronic product that says ‘do not open while running’ and they open it anyway, and get hurt. People buy a hot cup of coffee that says it’s hot, and they burn themselves. You politicians take an oath to obey the Constitution…”

“Well, couldn’t they send somebody else?”

“It was already 8:30pm when she arrived, sir. It was too late. It’s all right, I can hobble up a staircase once in a while, boss. Probably need the exercise anyway. I’ll straighten them out tomorrow.”

“You’ve never made me soup like this before… I didn’t think you liked this sort of thing.”

“Well, Texas and Mexico were on my mind today, sir, if you want to know.”


“That blasted border’s blown up ever since the winter, sir… I don’t know why you don’t do anything about it. You’re the one person who could, sir.”

“Oh, no, I really… umm… I can’t do anything there. It’s awfully far away…”

“One EO screwed it up, boss; one EO could fix it again.”

“Oh, no, no, I couldn’t … I can’t write those, they have to come from… uhh… anyway, I appointed someone…”

“I beg your pardon, sir?”

“Someone, it’s not mine anymore, I turned it over to, uh… aahhh… who was that now…”

“You mean the cackler, sir?”

“The what?”

“You know, sir, the laughing hyena from California?”

“Oh, uhh…”

“That woman couldn’t fix a horse race with a trip wire, boss. She’s about as competent as a cross-eyed optometrist.”

“Now, don’t go overboard…”

“I’m not! Even her fellow Californians kept kicking her into other positions to get her out of whatever role she was messing up at the time… they finally thought she’d be harmless in the Senate – one out of a hundred, what damage could she do, right? And then you go and put her on the ticket, boss? Honest, sir, what the heck were you smoking that day?”

“Oh, I don’t smoke. The Doctor says it would interfere with the effectiveness of my vitamin shots…”

“That’s not what I meant, sir. It’s just… well… every time you hand her a project or ask her a question, she goes into one of those laughing fits. You half expect her to float up high into the rafters like Ed Wynn, sir.”


“Ed Wynn, sir.”


“Uncle Albert, sir. In ‘Mary Poppins.'”


“Oh, come on, boss, everyone remembers… in Mary Poppins, the lunatic uncle who laughs hysterically and floats up to the ceiling. Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews have to float up into the rafters to pull him down, sir, remember?”

“I don’t remember.”

“So, when you hear Little Miss Laugh Track giggling hysterically, you don’t think there’s anything peculiar about it, sir?”

“I don’t know. Should I?”

“Millions of people have crossed the border illegally this year, and we’re not even halfway through the year, sir. It’s a nightmare.”

“What do you care? You’re nowhere near the border. We’re in Delaware, it’s halfway between Mexico and Canada. Couldn’t be safer.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about, sir! Do you realize what’s going on with child trafficking, and sex trafficking, down on the southern border, sir? Doesn’t it bother you that this is happening on your watch, when you could do something about it?”

“Now, now, don’t be so quick to assume I can do anything about it…”

“I’m serious, boss. Something needs to be done. There was another news story today about children being brought over by coyotes and having to pay their corrupt bills by working at cathouses, sir.”

“I didn’t know coyotes got along with cats. Aren’t they enemies?”

“No, cathouses, sir! You know… red light districts. Like in Las Vegas, sir!”

“Oh, I wouldn’t know anything about that.”

“You should have your son fill you in on the matter…”

“Huh? You’re mumbling. Why does everybody mumble when they bring me soup?”

“Oh, sorry, sir… Look, boss, if this were just about adults crossing on their own, that would be a political issue, you know? Republicans want to obey the law, sir, and Democrats don’t. I get that.”

“Oh, ummm….”

“Republicans want to protect American workers from illegal alien competition, sir, and Democrats would rather welcome them in to increase their election margins. I get that.”

“Hey, now… uhhh…”

“But this is serious. This isn’t about politics. This is about kids being enslaved, and girls being turned into prostitutes, right here in the USA, because our government is allowing it. Because your administration gave the order to look the other way and let these coyotes do all the human trafficking they want. And that’s just awful, sir.”

“Come on, man! It’s not like I’m the one who did it.”

“Well, sir, actually, you are, sir.”

“Come on, man!”

“It was your executive orders that changed everything, sir! That’s your signature on them!”

“I don’t know what I’m signing half the time… That’s my staff’s job. they give me what needs to be signed… I’m not even in the meetings.”

“Of course you’re in the meetings, sir! I’ve seen you down here, on those remote zoom meetings on your computer, all the time, boss! Of COURSE you’re in the meetings!”

“Well, yeah, but I sleep through them, mostly. They’re just so BORING… you have no idea…”

“There are 25 million people in the world stuck in sex trafficking and slavery, sir. We can’t do anything much about the other 200 countries in the world, but come on, sir, can’t we at least try to keep it out of the United States, boss?”

“Well, sure, we are… I mean, we do… I mean, I just did something about human trafficking today!”

“You did? I’ve been listening to the news, and I didn’t hear anything, sir….”

“Well, now. See?”

“I’m all ears, boss. What did you do today?”

“I signed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.”


“Well, we made Juneteenth a federal holiday!”

“I heard you the first time, boss…. I’ve got bad knees, not bad ears.”


“So what did you do about human trafficking, sir?”

“Well, that’s it!”

“Boss, signing a bill to establish yet another day off for federal workers doesn’t do anything to help girls being forced into prostitution to pay their coyotes in Texas and New Mexico and Nevada and Arizona and… it’s a federal holiday, sir, that’s all it is.”

“But, it’s for Juneteenth!”

“So what? Are you going back in time to bring word of their freedom to them two months earlier? Or are you just giving a bunch of bureaucrats another day off, and sticking the American taxpayer with the bill for it, sir?”

“Uh, well, uh… but it’s for Juneteenth!”

“Okay, boss, as long as you want to talk about Juneteenth so darned much… WHY? Why? Juneteenth? Why on earth is THAT the day you want to celebrate?”

“I don’t know what you mean. It’s Juneteenth!”

“Right, a local holiday commemorated in a 100 mile radius for 150 years, that suddenly started getting noticed around the country about 20 years ago. It’s not like it was a long-running national day of celebration that had been buried or neglected. Most people of all colors paid no attention to it until my grandkids were born.”

“Well, but, uhh, it’s … it’s Juneteenth!”

“Do you even know what Juneteenth is, sir?”

“Well, sure. It’s the day that the word finally got to the last town in Texas that still had slaves, after the Civil War was over, that they were free.”

“And why hadn’t they heard earlier, sir?”

“Well, because the news was kept from them! It was kept secret!”

“By whom, sir?”


“By whom, sir? Who kept it secret?”

“Well, uhh, their owners, I guess.”

“Yes sir. And who were their owners, sir?”

“Uhhh… I dunno, confederates?”

“Yes… but to be more specific, and more relevant… what did they have in common, sir, like everything else that had anything to do with slavery, sir?”

“Uh, they were called masters?”

“They were Democrats, sir.”

“What’s your point?”

“Democrats spent the first 80 years of this country fighting off the abolitionists who were trying to reduce the incidence of slavery. The Democrats fought efforts to reduce importation; they fought efforts to teach slaves to read and write, the Democrats fought efforts to allow owners to free their slaves when they died… ”

“Well, that was a long time ago, you know, and… uhh…”

“The Democrats fought the idea of new states being free, and tried to first get slavery expanded into all new territories, then when that didn’t fly, they tried to at least get slavery expanded into the new southern states, sir, and…”

“Well now, that was way back in the 1800s, you know, and… uhh….”

“The Democrats started a new country to keep their ability to own other human beings, sir… and that turned into a civil war, the bloodiest war in our nation’s history, sir… Don’t you forget…”

“Now, there are a lot of ways to read that… and some would say the Civil War wasn’t about slavery at all…”

“Oh, it certainly wasn’t JUST about slavery sir, of course not… but only a fool would say that it wasn’t about slavery at all, sir.”

“Come on, now! I just said…”

“Yes, sir, and then after the war was over and the north won, for good or for ill, sir, when the order came down to free all the slaves, who was it that fought obeying that new law, sir?”

“Umm, well, now, I don’t know…”

“Democrats, sir. There weren’t any Republican slaveowners in the south, sir, or if there were any at all, they were at the level of statistical insignificance as the Democrats who voted for the Laughing Hyena for president in last year’s primaries, sir. Less than a percent, sir.”


“So when the word came down to free the slaves after the war was over, it was Democrats who kept on illegally practicing slavery, it was Democrats who disregarded the law and refused to set people free, it was Democrats who kept federal law a secret from the very people it was intended for, sir!”

“Well, uhh, you don’t have to put it that way…”

“Is there another way to put it, sir?”

“Well, maybe they just didn’t get around to it yet?”

“Boss, if you wanted to celebrate freedom of the slaves, why not make September 22 the holiday? That’s the date of the Emancipation Proclamation.”

“Well, now, that’s just two weeks from Labor Day, you know, and there’s already a holiday there, and that would get kind of cluttered…”

“Oh really, boss? Well then how about December 18, when the 13th Amendment was declared ratified, sir, freeing the slaves across the country, sir?”

“Well, now, there’s already Thanksgiving just a couple weeks before that, and Christmas just a week after that, so that’s already a pretty cluttered calendar you know…”

“Oh really boss? Well, there’s already Memorial Day a couple weeks before Juneteenth, and Independence Day a couple weeks after, so I’d say that ‘cluttered calendar’ argument falls apart pretty solidly, wouldn’t you, sir?”

“Umm… well, now, uhh, we hadn’t thought about that, umm, I, uhhh….”

“I think your team just wanted to give another giveaway to keep trying your usual con of race divisiveness, but I think you really messed up this time.”


“Think about it, boss. You didn’t want to do it on the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation or the 13th Amendment, because both of those days make the Republicans look good; they’re both reminders that the Republican Party was founded largely to be the anti-slavery party, sir.”

“Well, now, that’s not the only issue…”

“I know it wasn’t, but it was a biggie, sir. And you guys all thought that celebrating Juneteenth would be a way to declare a holiday for getting out of slavery that wouldn’t be as obviously a pro-Republican day, sir…”

“Well, now, heh heh, yeah, that was kind of clever of us, wouldn’t you say?”

“Too clever by half, boss. You’re just looking at Juneteenth from a white east coast liberal point of view, sir.”

“Huh? What does that mean?”

“It means, from your perspective, Juneteenth is the day that slaves in Galveston found out that they were free. You see it as a nonpartisan piece of information.”

“Well, sure…”

“What you’ve forgotten is that the slaves saw it as the day they discovered that in addition to the Democrat slaveowners being their owners, in addition to the Democrats having fought so hard to retain the practice of slavery… in addition to all that, the Democrats ALSO were corrupt liars, hiding the truth that these people have already been freed, keeping them enslaved illegally for months after the war was over. ”


“So, Juneteenth isn’t exactly a pro-Republican date, but it’s the MOST anti-Democrat date you could’ve chosen, boss. It’s the date that exposes Democrats for being what they truly are, and have always been.”

“Wait a minute…”

“Yup. I’ll bet Republicans all over the country are having a field day with this one, boss.”

“I don’t know, I mean, I just, well… uhhh….”

“You know the old saying, sir. Never interrupt when your enemy is in the process of destroying himself. You’ve just given the Republicans a nice gift, boss. They probably won’t have the political savvy to do anything with it, but still. It was a nice gesture.”

“Umm… I uhh… oh boy…”

“Would you like some more soup, sir?”

“What’s that?”

“Soup, sir. Would you like some more soup, sir? I know you won’t remember this conversation for five minutes, but you usually remember your soup, don’t you?”

“Oh, no, one bowl was enough… I ummm… I feel more tired than usual tonight…”

“Good night then, boss. Sleep well, though with what’s on your conscience, I haven’t the faintest idea how you can….”

Copyright 2021-2024 John F Di Leo

Excerpted with permission from Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volume Two, from Free State West Publishing, available in paperback or eBook exclusively on Amazon.

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation and trade compliance professional and consultant.  A onetime Milwaukee County Republican Party chairman, he has been writing a regular column for Illinois Review since 2009.  His book on vote fraud (The Tales of Little Pavel) and his political satires on the current administration (Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes III, and III), are available in either eBook or paperback, only on Amazon.

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