I’ll never forget the look on my dad's face. We were stopped at a checkpoint by dangerous looking men in military uniforms. Soldiers hollering back and forth waiving weapons, searching through our things, taking anything they wanted. One guerilla was approached by an emaciated little boy with skin so thin it strained to cover his veins. Crying out, eyes bulging from hollow sockets, the child’s spindly arms grasped for the soldier’s leg. The helpless act was answered with the butt end of a rifle, sending the child violently to the ground. Semi convulsing, blood gushing from his head, the boy curled up in a tiny brown ball and went to sleep. At least that's what my mom told me.
That scene played over and over in my head growing up. It made me sad, but mostly furious, that life could be so unfair. Our family missionary trip to Africa meant to teach us love, compassion and understanding had burned a fire in my belly so intense it stayed with me throughout my life. Even at the tender age of ten, I knew someday I’d change this cruel and unjust world. That was forty years ago.
A long recession has brought desperate times. Many in the working middle class are unemployed or have fallen below the poverty line, millions have lost their homes. People lucky enough to have jobs are doing triple the load, working every day with a lump in their throat, feeling disposable, fearing they’re next. In a sick twist, Big Business and Big Banks got bailed out, but the government screwed the people. Honest Americans are feeling anxiety, shame and hopelessness as suicides, domestic violence, and homicides are climbing to an all time high.
Oh yeah, there are still plenty of guys buying Ferrari's, but the disparity between rich and poor has become obscene. The wealthy have become fatter, picking off the laboring carcass of a foreclosed middle class. The underlying greed is unconscionable.
I’m the Senior Democratic Senator from Kentucky. My name is John Canon; people call me Jack. Though my once brown hair has turned a little gray, I can’t complain, having served nearly three terms in the most powerful city on earth. I’ve gotten a bit softer around the middle, but I’ve learned good clothes can hide it. The biggest eye opener of my political career so far: an unsuccessful bid for the Presidency. It was a major shock to find out--what it’s really going to take--to fulfill my destiny:
To someday have the power, to dedicate the highest office in the land, to make things right. This time I’m all in.
Sandy Collins, my assistant, sticks her head in, peeking around the door, "Morning Jack, how you doing?”
“I’m alright, just working on some lines for my stump speech.” Sandy’s my right hand and more importantly my best friend. It only makes sense though, even at eight years old my best friend was a little girl, I just loved holding her hand.
Men are hard-wired to want women like Sandy. She’s a drop-dead knockout. She likes her high heels, which put her about five-nine, and wears her blonde hair straight, pulling it into a ponytail at least part of the day. Her only negative, she’s a bit naïve for someone turning thirty-seven.
“Jack, did you want me to do all your Christmas shopping again this year?” Sandy had great taste in gifts. She put a lot of thought into her choices, usually hitting a home run with my family, especially the kids. It’s like she was tuned in to what my girls would want.
Ignoring her question, “Listen to this,” speaking my notes as I’m writing, “this country is being run by elitists who could care less about ordinary Americans.”
I’d actually written, couldn’t give one sweet shit, but adjusted it for a broader audience.
“The system is badly broken, the wealthiest Americans have profited unfairly, taking advantage of an increasingly helpless public.”
Bud, my campaign manager, chief of staff, and close friend for the past 15 years, enters the office listening, mid-sentence.
“Devastated by the economy, the rich have gamed the system, bought everything up on the cheap. Greed threatens our way of life.”
Sandy commented, “It sounds so bleak Jack.”
“Jack, I’ve arranged for the transfers.”
Bud was being careful with Sandy in the room. He’d gotten me elected to the senate, but despite several tries going all the way back to McGovern he’d never won a presidential campaign.
“Bud, just say it straight, if we can’t trust Sandy we’re done already.”
“Alright Jack.” Bud turned to Sandy, “We got our asses handed to us the first time around cause Jack here didn’t want to break the law. This time I’m funneling huge donations into Super Pac’s that we’ll control. ”
“Bud, Sandy’s in the thick of this with us. Honey, you know we aren’t supposed to be getting the money for them. Let alone this crazy kind of money. If anyone finds out we’re all going to jail.”
Sandy said, “Give me some credit boys, I get it. Besides you’re only doing what everybody else does already.”
Bud cautioned, "Never before to this degree. When the Republicans are coming after us we’re gonna need every dime to fight off the attack.”
Genre – Political Thriller
Rating – PG
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