By Reporter X
Congressman Bill Foster and his primary opponent Qasim Rashid held their first full debate at Bolingbrook’s Clow UFO Base. The conflict in Gaza dominated their two-hour debate. The audience, which packed the new Bob Bailey Stadium, included undecided residents of the Illinois 11th Congressional District who work off-world, and alien dignitaries.
The debate immediately got off to a rough start, beginning with the opening statements. Foster said, “Hello. I’m Congressman Bill Foster, the only scientist in Congress. For many years, I knew AI was an existential threat to humanity before it was cool. I’m a businessman who understands that no one profits from human extinction. The Interstellar Commonwealth knows there’s no one in Congress who works harder to cover up alien visitors than me. I believe in independent solutions, not trendy manifestos. Why would you vote for anyone else?”
Foster tried to leave the stage, but three Men in Blue escorted him back to his podium.
Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta walked on stage and said, “You’re not getting out of this debate. It’s too important, and we’re making a fortune off of the interplanetary broadcast rights.”
“If you hadn’t endorsed Bolingbrook United, I might have given you a pass.”
“Some days, I really hate the First Party.”
After Rashid described his work as a human rights lawyer, a defender of domestic abuse survivors and long-time resident of DuPage County, he said, “I believe not only in human rights, but the rights of every sentient beings. As your congressman, I will not rest until we’ve decolonized the entire solar system.”
Thousands of attendees panicked, fearing an imminent attack from the Martian Colonies. Alexander-Basta claimed the audience by saying the Mars Colonial Ambassador assured her they would not attack this time. “I’m giving you a warning, Mr. Rashid. We may have the best defensive systems on Earth, but that means you’ll only have ten seconds to make your peace with Allah. We don’t antagonize the most powerful civilization in the solar system.”
“I meant no disrespect,” Rashid replied. “I may not drink, but I love Mars Bars.”
“We don’t tolerate dad jokes here.”
The moderators started by asking questions about, “the most noticeable war on Earth,” the war in Gaza. Both candidates denounced Hamas’s attack on October 7.
“Hello. Human rights lawyer here,” said Rashid. Of course I denounce what Hamas did, and, as I posted on Threads, ‘The response to (Hamas’) war crimes against civilians cannot be more war crimes against more civilians.’”
Foster criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Netanyahu deserves a special place in Hell for propping up Hamas and for all the unnecessary civilian deaths. However, Israel has a right to defend itself.” Then he looked at Alexander-Basta and said, “Can I leave? Bank of America is serving a very rare cheese at my fundraiser.”
“No. I think this debate is more important than eating cheese.”
“But it’s sponsored by Bank of America, and it’s really expensive cheese!”
“You can have some Enceladus cheese, but you have to finish your debate first.”
“I hate you.”
“This is for your own good.”
Both candidates then clashed over whether there should be a ceasefire in Gaza.
Rashid said, “Stop bombing Gaza. Stop firing rockets at Israel. Release the hostages. Release Palestinian children from prisons. Abstaining from war is the most effective method of preventing civilian casualties.”
Foster accused Rashid of supporting a unilateral ceasefire.
“Hamas’s 1988 and 2017 manifestos make it clear they won’t stop until they’ve retaken all of Palestine. If Israel stops shooting, Hamas will keep shooting. Your so-called ceasefire is a suicide pact for every Israeli!”
“Seriously?” Rashid asked. “‘Ceasefire’ means ceasefire. As in, no bombs or rockets dropping from the sky, no marauders in neighborhoods, no hostages and no tanks in the streets. Just like it is in Naperville, and that’s one reason Naperville is the best suburb in Chicago. We’ve earned our reputation.”
“I don’t even know where to begin.”
During the audience Q and A segment, most of the participants either demanded that Foster support a ceasefire or that Rashid denounce Hamas.
At one point, Rashid replied. “The Hague should prosecute Hamas for war crimes. Is that good enough?”
The questioner said, “You didn’t call them evil, so that means you support Hamas.”
A visitor from the Trappist system said, “The obvious solution is to build a tesseract so Israelis and Palestinians can occupy the land at the same time. Why won’t you build one?”
Foster shook his head, then made a phone call. “Fermilab? This is Bill. Can you rebuild the Tevatron? I’m in an atom smashing mood.”
A woman wearing a kaffiyeh accused Rashid of being a Zionist. “You’re spreading fake news! The truth is the media staged the attacks and then the IDF used crisis actors to frame Hamas. Now the IDF is dropping booby trapped cans of food in Gaza. Why won’t you tell the truth about the genocide in Gaza?”
Before Rashid could respond, a woman wearing a t-shirt with the phrase, “Make Gaza Jewish again,” seized the microphone and addressed Foster.
“How dare you accuse Israel of being wrong! Hamas beheaded 40 babies and had armories in hospitals. We even have proof that terrorists named Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday took turns guarding the hostages!”
“Lies. The truth is Zionists stole homes our families owned for generations. Zionists are colonists, and colonists can’t be civilians!”
“Fake news! Invaders stole the land from us, then forced us into exile. After the invaders left, your ancestors occupied our land without permission. That means Zionists are the real de-colonizers!”
“More lies! The Interstellar Tribes of Israel are proof Israelis are alien colonists!”
The Intersellar Tribes of Israel are the descendents of the Lost Tribes of Israel. An alien civilization rescued them from the Assyrian invaders and moved them to another solar system. The Intersellar Tribes only reestablished contact with Earth in the early 21 century.
A loud noise startled the attendees. The activists stopped arguing and asked what it was.
Alexander-Basta replied, “That’s the sound of all the Arab and Israeli fact checkers screaming at once.”
During closing statements Rashid said, “I’ve been called a single issue candidate and they’re right. My single issue is human rights. That means I support Medicare for All, fighting climate change, defending reproductive rights, and standing up for those too powerless to stand up for themselves. So I’m fighting for your vote, so that I can fight for you in Congress. Unlike my opponent, who is fighting to rename every post office in the district.”
Foster focused on experience and attacked Rashid. “I’ve co-sponsored over 2000 bills. Some of them even became law. My opponent is so divisive, he won’t be able to rename a mail drop box. He talks about fighting, but his signature issue is letting Hamas rampage from the river to the sea. If he can’t stand up to Hamas, how can we expect him to defend us against the combined forces of Bard, ChatGPT, and Claude? Did I mention I’m the only scientist in Congress? My opponent’s last campaign was so disastrous that the Virginia Democratic Party exiled him. Now, I know many of my past supporters are mad at me. That’s your right, but I have a question. Do you really want to discard a seasoned congressman because he won’t say the magic word ‘ceasefire?’”
After the debate, supporters from each campaign tried to spin the interplanetary media’s coverage.
Will County Board member Jackie Tranyere said, “Every visitor I’ve ever introduced to Bill tells me they wish more humans were like him. He’s done so much good work for the district, the country, and humanity. Instead of bothering my good friend, Qasim should do something productive, like filing a class action lawsuit against Hamas.”
DuPage Township Trustee Reem Townsend said, “Although Qasim and I have some disagreements about Palestine, we have to help him win. Bill Foster continues to fund Israel’s genocide against Gaza. When Zionists bomb innocent children, Bill gives them more bombs. Congressman Foster belongs in Hell, not Congress.
“Oh, and I have a message for Mr. Hanania: You try observing Ramadan, and see how far you make it through a public meeting before. I’ll accept a private apology.”
Update: Corrected Trustee Reem Townsend’s quote. The partial misquote was due to a decryption error. We apologize for the error.
Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.