The Victim

Chapter Three: Ascent

Constitutional appeal

The best things for the government in the long run come at times of crisis. Special committees are formed with special powers to handle special situations. The situations disappear, but the committee members often remain, even after the committee changes its purpose or dies. My new “Committee for Campus safety” is a good example. Two days after the vote, the college storm is still raging. Whether a professor is caught making an offensive remark or an unwelcome speaker has a speech scheduled, the college is “engulfed in the flames of warfare,” as reporters like to dramatize it. Every petty squabble nowadays means something is “engulfed in flames.”

A week after the committee is formed we’re finally at the height of the crisis. Now the ungreased cogs of bureaucracy have turned and my committee is ready to act. A big speaker is scheduled for tomorrow, as well as a large protest and counter-protest. I instruct my committee to block both protests, avoiding violence at any cost. The committee announces their decision to block the speaker’s talk, and I support it publicly.

Of course, the day of the talk there is barely any protest against the speaker. There’s only police and the angry mob protesting he has been banned. Dressed with bandanas and swastikas, some radical protestors hurl stones at the police. The less radical are caught in the fray between police and the radicals. They are quickly dispersed by mob-control measures, causing no victims. That afternoon I give a press conference with a gloating smile. “… today shows that my proposal, so harshly criticized by the conservative members of this government, has saved lives. And spared our ears from another self-righteous sermon.” Some reporters laugh. “Ok, I will take questions now.”

“The speaker has filed suit,” says a nice blonde reporter lady. “… and it’s likely that the Supreme will rule on this. Do you think they will override this law?” “I have absolute faith in the Supreme to make the right choice,” I reply confidently. Also, by the time they have to decide on this, I’ll have had enough time to prove it works. Other reporters ask questions, nothing important. Finally, I leave the press conference and meet my friend from school to celebrate our success.

On my way out, I come across the conservative senator that rallied opposition against me for the vote. I stop to shake his hand. “No hard feelings?” I say, smiling. “Sure,” he says. “It’s just politics.” I’m about to leave, but it’s too tempting. “How about dinner next friday?” I ask him. “I think we should discuss the docks affair.” He thinks for a moment, then replies. “Ok, my secretary will contact yours.”

We part ways, smiling. Only two days later the story of his underaged affair breaks the news. He makes the mistake of trying to explain himself, but all people can hear is “sex with a minor,” which paints a vivid mental image. I announce publicly that I refuse to work with “a man who has abused minors.” At the same time I convince other senators to denounce him publicly and refuse to work with him.

Pressure on him builds up quickly. During the next week, his home is haunted by reporters, his children tormented at school. The members in the committees he’s in refuse to work with him. His golf club, where has been a member for thirty-two years, refuses to let him play. Even his friends stop returning his calls. Finally he breaks down and resigns. Now my enemy is destroyed and I can be at ease. What his former colleagues fail to realize is that in the long-run, this hurts them.

Yes, they may not look like bad guys to some people now. But what will happen when their dirty deeds are washed in public? If they turn on each other every time, who will be left in the end? In any case, these are things to come. For now I just focus on doing a good job as governor. I don’t just sit around enjoying the perks of my office. No, I deliver what I was elected for. I urge state committees to enforce my policies. I bring bills to the state senate and with the aid of my minions, push them through.

Roughly one year and over sixty-four state-cancelled speeches after my controversial bill passed, the time comes. The slow appeal process has finally reached the Supreme, which will rule whether my bill was constitutional or not. As you remember, the incumbent president smugly dismissed it as “limiting free speech.” What he knew but feared to show is that the Supreme hasn’t exactly been adhering to the constitution lately.

Near the date of the ruling, more college protests break out. And some of them aren’t even organized by tol. Other states have to deal with the issue too. The day they will announce the ruling comes closer. Few people know what’s going on. They may have heard an alt-right guy ranting about it on social media, but that’s all. If they hear about it, it’s only the distorted version presented as news in some liberal “tonight show.”

As I pace nervously up and down my office, waiting for the decision, I think of what we could’ve done different. Maybe we acted too soon? My friend from school assures me after sipping from a glass of scotch. She’s joined me as we wait. With us we have my brunette friend from college. She’s now my personal secretary. She was my rock during my rough marriage years, when I couldn’t talk to my friend from school. She’s drinking freedom vodka in silence. She’s the one who helped me whip the votes, setting up the meetings with senators and such.

“It was too soon, too soon,” I say, breaking a sixteen-minutes long silence. My friend from school hands me a glass of scotch, but I refuse. “You know,” she starts, “… alcohol was made for precisely this.” But I won’t touch it. I fear it more than losing the Supreme’s vote. I watch my rock pour herself another glass of freedom vodka with amazement. She’s almost killed the bottle in one sitting.

“You can really hold your liquor, you know,” I say. She nods. “Did you know uncle ordered me to hire one of his half-latino, half-black, half-asian minions? But I wanted you because you are incredibly talented and best of all, trustworthy.” She toasts to me like drinking needed a justification. “… and also, because you’re a woman.” Freedom vodka flies out of her nose as she bursts in laughter. As we all laugh, the phone rings.

“This is it,” I say, my face pale. I pick it up. I listen to the words carefully, then I put down the phone. “It passed!” I announce. The two women jump out of the seats from sheer excitement, only to realize they’re too drunk and have to sit back down. I sit between them in my office couch and wrap them both with my arms. Thank you both so much. I couldn’t have gotten here without you. S-word, I feel the tears about to leave my eyes.