Determined to live in a country without "socialized medicine," a group of conservatives from across the country set sail from Port Everglades this past Friday aboard a commandeered cruise ship. Destination: unknown.
"We were going to Costa Rica, like Rush [Limbaugh] had planned," one passenger remarked. "But then, we found out they've got commie healthcare, too."
Limbaugh himself, conducting his radio show from aboard the newly christened S.S. Freedom Eagle, denied that the ship could find no port of call. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is just another example of the drive-by media's attempts to brand conservatives as a party without ideas," the far-right icon declared. "We know where we're going -- we're going to liberty. To freedom. To wherever our money will not be stolen from us by the government in the form of so-called 'taxes.' "
But where exactly that is remained a point of contention. "We figured there'd have to be someplace in the Americas that had no public health care," remarked Capt. Wesley Carlson as he looked over a map of the world, color-coded by health-care availability. "But it's been remarkably difficult to find. Everyplace along the eastern seaboard has it -- Brazil, Argentina, even Uruguay. And if we pass through the Straits [of Magellan], it's the same story in Chile and on up the coast."
A lone passenger suggested somewhere in Europe, but he was promptly put aboard a lifeboat and abandoned at sea. "Besides," Capt. Carlson explained, "every country in Europe has a public health system."
The Freedom Eagle's attempt to reach Reaganland was turned back due to the ongoing civil war. And as the ship veers toward one shore or another, demands from the passengers grow ever-more-heated. "Just the absence of public health care isn't enough!" one demonstrator shouted on the lido deck, while waving a Gadsden Flag. "No taxes, no tyranny!"
The "no taxes, no tyranny" slogan was then shouted from port to starboard, and from the sun deck of Deck 11 all the way down to the balconies of Deck 3.
With such enthusiasm for the absence of any taxation in mind, at last report, the ship was slowly heading east, toward the African coast.
"We've finally found it," Capt. Carlson explained the next day, "a libertarian utopia, where the federal government doesn't impose on its citizens in almost any way. Somalia, here we come!"
In Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, the proposed port of call of the Freedom Eagle was greeted with some bewilderment. "I do not understand," Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed said. "Why do you want to come to this country? Every day, the shootings and bombings of the Hizbul Islam continue. My government cannot provide any services to the Somali people. Do not come here. Your safety is not guaranteed. Seriously, this place is a hellhole."
Farther north, in the autonomous region of Puntland, a group of Somali pirates eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Freedom Eagle. "We are very excited," said one, who would identify himself only as "Abu." "These people are very kind, to bring us such wealth. Them, we will not shoot."
The day after President Ahmed's statements, Limbaugh played a clip of his press conference in the ship's media room, but only the bit in which Ahmed stated, "My government cannot provide any services."
The soon-to-be-tax-free passengers cheered loudly before once again taking up the cry of "no taxes, no tyranny."
Originally published in South Florida's City Link Magazine.