A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to join him for a “Fun in the Sun with the Women’s Republican Club of the 10th Congressional District” event. (I know what it sounds like, but it wasn’t anything like that.) The more I thought about it, the more appealing the idea became. I have always wondered what it was like to be a double agent. This would be my chance. I would infiltrate the Republican Party.

On the afternoon of July 17 I drove to Wheeling, Ill., to attend this function. I would make this party fun. I would bring a copy of the People’s Weekly World and shock my new Republican friends with my recent discovery of the existence of the Communist Party.

I arrived at the house and the woman who was collecting admission asked me, “Would you like to join the 10th District Women’s Republican Club?” I thought to myself, “A Communist man in a women’s Republican club?” Quickly I replied, “I’ll join!” I filled out the application and now I was an official double agent.

I walked into the home of the Wheeling Township director of the club, a woman in her mid-50s. I noticed that everyone was white except for one Asian woman. The first person to greet me was Herb Sohn, who ran for Congress in 1992 and 1998 and lost. He was bragging to everyone that his son’s hot dog stand got written up in Chicago Magazine. “He serves 19 variations of hot dogs,” stated Sohn. “One of the sandwiches he makes is a Rueben sandwich made completely out of hot dogs.” I was thinking to myself, “They let people like this run for Congress?”

I was waiting to show them my newspaper when our hostess announced, “The congressman will be here in 10 minutes.” I could wait 10 minutes. I decided that like any good capitalist I would start at the top. I would give Mark Kirk an issue of the People’s Weekly World. Kirk has a decent voting record for a Republican. He has a great record on the environment and a woman’s right to choose. He voted against the amendment to ban gay marriages. He is for stem cell research. Unfortunately, he is for the war in Iraq, and he voted to ratify CAFTA.

Kirk arrived. He went around the room to say hello to everyone. Finally I said to him, “A strange thing happened to me today. I was in the city and I ran into members of the Communist Party. They had a table set up on the sidewalk, and were passing around two petitions. One was to get the troops out of Iraq, and the other was to stop the privatization of Social Security. You should have seen how long the lines were to sign these petitions! They gave me this.” I handed him the copy of the People’s Weekly World.

He started looking at it and said, “The Communist Party? I didn’t know that they were still around.” As he was reading it he looked up and noticed that some people had gathered around him, looking at him reading the paper. He told them, “This is the People’s Weekly World, the newspaper of the Communist Party.” Everyone looked shocked and amused with the exception of our hostess, who had an expression of sheer horror and panic on her face. “The Communist Party?” she whispered as though the words wouldn’t come out at full volume.

“Thank you for bringing this to my attention,” the congressman said to me.

The party went on. I thought that I would hear some political discussion. All I heard were two women talking about how to make piecrust, and a group of men arguing about who manufactures the best barbecue grill.

Come on people, I thought. There is a war in Iraq. Aren’t you worried about Karl Rove? Aren’t the Downing Street memos keeping you awake at night?

Finally, I heard someone say, “Wal-Mart nailed for child labor.” I turned around and saw Kirk’s assistant reading aloud from the People’s Weekly World. He was sitting with two women. One of them was former Illinois state Rep. and “pro-life” activist Penny Pullen. I repeated my story about the sidewalk petition table and Pullen said in a snooty tone, “I bet the Democratic alderman in that area put them up to it. There isn’t much difference between the Democrats and the Communists, don’t you agree?” I stifled my laughter.

The party ended and as I thanked the hostess for inviting me she said, “Thank you for bringing the Communists to the congressman’s attention.” I was hoping that she would elaborate on why she was so afraid of the Communist Party.

The paper was left on her coffee table. I hope she reads it in detail and comes to realize that she has nothing to fear from the Communist Party, and that we are good-hearted people just trying to make this country a better place to live for everyone.

Doug Freedman is a PWW reader in the Chicago area.

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