An Open Letter to the People Beyond the Fence

//An Open Letter to the People Beyond the Fence

An Open Letter to the People Beyond the Fence

From David H. Reinarz,


I am writing to you from the Political Re-Education Farm, which I believe is somewhere in Southern Idaho. They won’t tell us exactly where we are. It’s part of the New Regime’s disorientation/reorientation technique. They’re trying to change our minds. There is a big fence around the farm—President 45 likes walls and fences. The Internal Border Patrol is on guard.

I don’t have a lot of time to write. It’s after bedtime, but it’s midsummer, so there’s still enough light to get this done before the guards do head count. One of them gives us scraps of paper and stubs of pencils he cadges from the supply room. He says his wife is Muslim and is in a camp in Alabama. We write down our resistance words. He says he will get them to the outside. I don’t know if he does. If you see this, know that we have not given up. We are not dead, yet.

We are poets, writers, playwrights, musicians, artists, dancers, actors, some college professors, a few politicians. America’s dangerous intelligentsia!

I was part of a group rounded up in Omaha, a blue spot in a red state. What we’d been writing and publishing was not only making the president crazy, his clones in the governor’s mansion and mayor’s office were angry and embarrassed that we wouldn’t be controlled. Even in the Midwest, there were voices of resistance.

We were held in the public baseball stadium, named after the governor’s family business. We were interrogated. We were given a chance to recant our views and sign a loyalty oath to President 45. It was the same loyalty oath you have to pledge to get a voting card or receive any government benefits since the New Regime initiated Level 2 of Making America Great Again.

Bowing down and giving in wasn’t going to happen. That night, we were handcuffed and hooded and put on a train headed out of town, destination unrevealed.

We do potatoes here. They have de-mechanized the agricultural practices, so there’s more work for more intellectuals to struggle with. Our struggle! On top of that, we are force-marched and receive regular beatings. Not so much that we are injured and can’t work. No, just enough to make us hurt a little more, make our farm work a little harder, know that our thoughts and words have brought us here and are the source of our suffering.

How is your health? How is your physical strength? How is your endurance? Did you ride a bike today? Did you do your yoga? Did you run up the stairs to your office?

You will need this, my friends. You will need this.

After we are done working in the hot summer sun and are physically weak and exhausted, there is interrogation. “What is your name? Where are you from? Who are your friends? Who did the publishing and distribution of your pamphlets? What books and newspapers did you read? What social media did you use? Give us your logins and passwords!”

Then dinner. Potatoes. Always potatoes. Potatoes and road kill.

After dinner there are three hours of re-education. “Who won the election? Who were the losers? How do you demonstrate loyalty to President 45?”

It’s brutal, listening to this guy from the Propaganda Ministry drill us on White Supremacy theory and Creationism and the need for a strong leader in a dangerous world. I think I would prefer another beating. Every day I make the point that whites are not supreme. I remember the Supremes. They were not white, but they were supreme. I also make the point that the only thing created here is a stronger Resistance. And I make the point that the world is only dangerous for those who support the leader, because the people will rise up and take back our country.

I get another beating.

I know you don’t want to hear, “I told you so,” but I don’t mind saying it. “I told you so.” Many people who’ve studied the history of the world and the history of America told you so. It doesn’t take long to take apart a government when you have a self-obsessed president surrounded by a few hard core ideologues, a few bad hombres working for them, a complacent Congress, and a de-fanged judicial system. You can’t just hope that everything is going to be OK. I am telling you this from a political prison farm in Idaho. They should have been stopped early on, before they got rolling.

If this gets to anyone on the outside, all of us here tell you: “Now is the time to resist!”

If this gets as far as the UN Headquarters in Berlin or The World Bank Headquarters in Tokyo, don’t be afraid to help us. We need the whole world to work for justice and to affirm the human rights of our wonderfully diverse population.

Time for dinner. Tonight’s menu: potatoes.

After lights out: Dig the tunnel. Dig, dig the tunnel. Before the hyenas come.

Yours truly,
David H. Reinarz


David H. Reinarz lives in Omaha, Nebraska. He recently retired from a long career as a retail bicycle shop manager. He is an alumnus of the 7 Doctors Writers Workshop and the author of a Story City: Ten Short Stories and One Long Story in the Middle. Published in 2016. It is available on, and he will donate 100 percent of Amazon royalties from all 2017 sales of Story City to the ACLU. His poem, “Album Cover: Songs from the Country Western Café” was published in the Winter 2017 issue of Plainsongs, Hastings College Press.

Photo credit: Ben Dalton via a Creative Commons licesnse.

By | 2017-05-30T15:18:02+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Categories: Issue 27: 01 June 2017|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on An Open Letter to the People Beyond the Fence