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    by Dr. Thorpe

    On the third of Octember
    In a land far away,
    A young woman was reading
    And knitting one day.

    The election was coming,
    And she was upset.
    She was scared of the leaders
    Her country could get.

    And as hours went by
    As she read the day’s news,
    Her mind started to wander.
    She started to snooze.
    And she dreamed a strange dream.
    She was older and gray.
    She was walking outside
    On a dark, rainy day.

    All the streets were deserted.
    No one was in sight.
    With the shops boarded up,
    Something didn’t seem right.

    As she walked, she passed by
    An old man in the street.
    And he said, “Can you help me
    Buy something to eat?”

    “STORIES: 1000 dollars”
    He’d scrawled on a board.
    She was shocked. That was far more
    Than she could afford.

    “Could you tell me a story?
    My name’s Nixie Knox.
    I don't have any money,
    But here’s some new socks!”

    Then he clutched the wool socks
    In his gnarled old hand,
    And he said, “Here’s the tale of
    The Fall of Greatland.”

    In the country of Greatland—
    This land that you see—
    Lived a proud group of people
    Much like you and me.

    For a long time, a lot of us
    Had peace and health.
    Some Greatlanders prospered
    And built up great wealth.

    We made people more equal,
    and people soon knew
    that if they moved to Greatland
    they’d earn these rights, too.

    So a number of people,
    Just like you and me,
    Left their homes for our Greatland,
    And crossed the Great Sea.

    But some people got greedy,
    And tried to take more.
    Then the others were not
    As well off as before.

    So we made a mistake,
    A huuuuge, big-league mistake.
    For a country, the biggest
    Mistake you can make.

    We elected a leader
    Who wouldn’t prepare.
    And to make matters worse,
    He did not even care.

    Mr. Harold J. Grump
    Was the name of this chump,
    But most people who knew him
    Just called him “the Grump”.

    No one knows why the Grump
    Got so grumpy at all,
    But some say that his hands
    Were two sizes too small,

    For when he was a little Grump
    Going to school,
    The kids who played Greatball
    Made him feel like a fool.

    His Grump hands were too little
    To grasp the big ball,
    And they grabbed it so fast
    He would stumble and fall.

    And his little Grump heart
    Didn’t grow. Not at all!
    His poor heart was so hurt,
    It’s four sizes too small.

    As years passed, he grew older,
    And had lots of wealth —
    With big loans from his father,
    (Not all by himself).

    How he loved being rich!
    He wrote “GRUMP” on it all!
    And it made the mean kids
    Seem so silly and small.

    He made up “The Grumprentice”
    (On GreatVision 1)
    Where each week he would say
    To a worker, “You’re Done!”

    He built Grump University,
    Grump Plaza too,
    Grump Casino and Towers,
    Grump Park and Grump Zoo.

    He tried selling Grump Roast
    and Grump Water (so cold!),
    But no one wanted food that
    tastes bitter and old.

    And as more years went by,
    He got bored of his life.
    “I should be more historic!
    I’ve got a new wife!”

    And one day, looking out
    From the 99th Floor,
    Mr. Grump saw that things
    Weren’t as good as before.

    He saw crime. He saw people
    Who’d lost jobs and health,
    And he said “I can fix this!
    I know how to wealth!

    “I'll tell people it's broken!
    Things here are all wrong!
    Greatland needs an outsider
    Who's different and strong!

    “Yes, we need law and order!
    Things must be set straight!
    And there's no one but me
    Who can make Greatland great!”

    He spoke only of problems,
    And anger, and fear.
    Many people believed
    What they wanted to hear.

    “All these poor foreign workers
    Are taking your jobs!
    We will bring the jobs back
    And kick out all the slobs!

    “Then we’ll build a big wall
    To keep all of them out!
    No more crime! Bring our jobs back!”,
    He started to shout.

    “Lower taxes are just what we need!”,
    Said the Grump.
    “And this ‘Greatcare’ has made
    Our economy slump!

    “Healthcare isn’t a right,
    It’s a service you buy.
    And we just can’t afford it.
    I’ll kiss it goodbye!

    “We’ll tax imports and exports
    To keep Greatland great,
    All that money will pay for
    A lower tax rate!”

    And when not enough voters
    Said “NO” to his lies,
    This man won the election,
    To my great surprise.

    And he did what he promised.
    He built a huuuuge wall.
    He sent immigrants home,
    Families, children, and all.

    But then later that year,
    Farmers asked him to stop.
    “All our workers are gone!
    Who will harvest our crop?”

    The Grump taxed all the shipments
    Across the Great Sea.
    So things got more expensive,
    From clothing to tea.

    Now for Greatland this meant
    Food and clothes cost a lot.
    So most people who used to go shopping
    Did not!

    The shopkeepers went home.
    And the workers did too.
    With no customers left,
    There was no work to do.

    Then the Grump canceled Greatcare!
    When people got ill,
    They spent all of their cash
    On a big doctor’s bill.

    “Greatcare helped us get by!
    If we’re sick, we can’t work
    To earn money to pay for a doctor,
    You jerk!”

    But the Grump and his friends
    Didn’t care about that.
    They were counting their money
    And getting quite fat.

    “This is ours! We deserved it!”,
    Said Grump. “Can’t you see
    If you only worked harder,
    You’d have wealth like me!”

    Then one day, a new virus
    Emerged on the scene.
    Some folks got very sick,
    As it spread sight unseen.

    The Grump shouted, “Don’t worry!
    It’ll go away soon!”
    But the scientists said,
    “Don’t be such a buffoon!

    “It’s the biggest pandemic
    In one hundred years!”
    That old Grump didn’t care.
    “You’re all stoking fake fears!

    “Take some chloroquine tablets.
    They’re five dollars each!
    If you don’t have the money,
    Just drink chlorine bleach!”

    All the other smart countries
    Wore masks and stayed home.
    But the Grump said, “Don’t listen.
    Go out! You should roam!

    Think of freedom! Your country!
    The plague is a hoax!”
    And so many believed him,
    It killed lots of folks.

    And that’s how Greatland fell.
    All our jobs went away.
    There was nothing to buy,
    And no money to pay!

    Then the old man’s sign changed.
    It had one word: EXCEPT.
    And he said, “That’s your future,
    Except… Except...”

    And the man disappeared
    In a puff of blue smoke.
    Nixie stirred in her sleep —
    With a start, she awoke.

    “That’s our future, EXCEPT...”.
    Nixie sat up and thought.
    “That’s our future, except
    If we care a whole lot!”

    Then she said, “I will vote!
    And my friends will vote too!
    "We can vote out the Grump
    And his bright orange ’do!”

    Nixie logged on to Greatbook
    And Instagreat too,
    And she told all her friends
    Greatland needed them, too.

    “We must vote for our future,”
    She wrote on her Wall,
    “If we don’t, then our Greatland
    Could crumble and fall.”

    And millions of people
    Just like you and me
    Went to vote to make Greatland
    As great as could be.

    Though some well-meaning folks
    Voted Grump all the same,
    He still lost and flew home
    In his fancy Grump Plane.

    Then he said, “It was rigged!
    It’s unfair! They all cheated!
    It’s the only way I could have
    Been so defeated!”

    The people of Greatland
    Were smarter than that,
    And they paid no attention
    To such a big brat.

    “This is Greatland!”, they said,
    And you lost fair and square.
    So go back to Grump Tower
    Up high in the air.

    We are done with your lies!
    We are better than this!
    And they waved at the winner,
    And blew her a kiss.

    Then Nixie dozed off
    As she watched GNN.
    And she dreamed of her
    country's great future again....