House of Cards: World Water Day
A splash of public health fan fiction
Published March 21, 2014
We were wondering what Claire Underwood—wife of House of Cards Majority Whip, turned vice president, turned (spoiler alert!) president, Frank Underwood—would have to say on World Water Day. After all, her non-profit had something to do with water, didn’t it? And, in our tongue-in-cheek fan fiction, we learned that there are two kinds of aid—aid that actually helps those in need… and unnecessary, self-serving aid.
the2x2project Welcome First Lady Underwood. Thank you for sitting down with us on World Water Day.
Claire Underwood Of course. I’m delighted.
the2x2project Would you like any water yourself?
Claire Um, why yes I…
the2x2project Bottle or tap? We have both.
Claire Oh. [takes bottle of water]
the2x2project That other stuff’s disgusting anyway, isn’t it?
Claire I wouldn’t say that.
the2x2project Well, the American people seem to think so.
Claire Bottled water has its place in American society, for certain.
the2x2project It sure does. When I want a drink, I want it from an A+ student, not the kid who’s skipping class, smoking out on the corner, just barely passing.
Claire You’re talking about America’s water infrastructure grade, right?
Claire The American people do deserve better.
the2x2project That’s right. They deserve bottled water. That’s why I applaud the recent Clean Water bill you’ve tried to pass, giving $3 billion in incentives to bottled water companies.
Claire [laughing] Well, we are also investing $400 million to improve the U.S. water infrastructure.
the2x2project Why? He’s just gonna go buy smokes and a new trenchcoat with it.
Claire [laughing] We think the investment is fair and will help move our country in the right direction.
the2x2project It’s true. You get what you pay for, and when you’re paying 300 times more for bottled water than tap, it means we’re basically drinking gold.
Claire The incentives for bottled water will help our country’s economy significantly.
Claire The Clean Water bill is a strong one.
the2x2project Well, you should know. You started the Clean Water Initiative, a non-profit organization, fifteen years ago, building wells in Monrovia.
Claire That’s correct.
the2x2project How was Italy?
the2x2project Ah, Italian for library…
Claire No, it’s in West Africa.
the2x2project I’m sure the librarians loved the water. So, were the wells designed to break down in a few years so you could build more?
Claire Well, in real life, things do break down. But, we’ve put in thousands of wells throughout sub-Saharan Africa and delivered water to many remote communities.
the2x2project Why make sure they’re well-constructed and sustainable when you can just build new ones?
Claire Again, there are difficulties in water aid and well breakdown can be an issue. But, I do think it will have a massive impact on the domestic and international water landscape.
the2x2project Wonderful. You can sell wells like bottles of water! How about going for a run?
This piece is a fictitious skewering of some of the questionable kinds of behavior taking place in the world of water, development, and public health. For all those doing good, we salute you.