The Victim

Chapter Three: Ascent


The last, fatidic words of the conceding governor are: “You people don’t know what you’ve done…” essentially dismissing the electorate as idiots. The truth is, this state had been conservative for a few administrations now. And here I am to change that.

The first thing I do once in office is swearing in my officers. Most of them are donors, as I mentioned. But there’s also a few people from tol. I make each of them enter my office, one at a time, and make them pledge allegiance. Of course, talk is cheap, and I will need more from them to prove their loyalty. But this is good enough for now.

They all smile and kiss my hand offering loyalty with one hand while concealing a knife with the other. All except my lieutenant governor, who would get my position if I was ousted or resigned. He’s a spineless yes-man without political aspirations and absolute loyalty to my uncle. He’s perfect for his position: neither a big help nor a big threat.

Policy-wise, we start working as a team to undermine what the conservatives have done before us. The budget for social programmes is increased, even if at the cost of raising our debt. But that doesn’t concern me, because I don’t plan on sticking around long enough to have to deal with debt. That’s up to the conservatives when they get elected after me.

No, I can simply dole out candy-shaped handouts and let them replenish the candy store by increasing taxes and cutting back my programmes, making them look like barbarians. But the first real challenge I have to face is one I create myself. Demonstrations in colleges to protest racism and gender inequality grow worse. Teachers involved in scandals are viciously harassed. Invited speakers with conservative viewpoints are greeted with “peaceful” demonstrations that cost thousands of dollars in damages to college property.

These existed before me, but intensify after I’m in office, prompted by my friend from school. She’s focusing tol’s efforts on my state, as we agreed. The only reason I can take this bold step is because my state’s upper chamber has a liberal majority. In fact, they blocked most of what my predecessor tried to do, and he was too weak to fight them. I’m not.

College demonstrations grow worse during my second month in office. So I meet with as many members of the state’s senate as I can, prompting them to take action. I propose giving the state power to decide if an event should be cancelled on the basis of “being a threat to the citizens’ security.” It’s essentially what colleges already do, but as a state power.

Of course, they look at me like I’m crazy. “We don’t want to commit political sudoku,” explains a liberal senator in private. Uncle is also reluctant at first. When we talk in my office about it, he agrees with the senators. “That sort of legislation will never pass,” he says. “None of them wants to get into a freedom-of-speech fight with the government. Specially not with so much of their terms left.”

“Look, this law is imminent,” I say. “You can either make them support me now and look progressive, or you can oppose me and look like a trite dinosaur.” He throws me a concerned look. “I said no,” he says sternly. “No means no. Without me, you don’t have the support, so drop it, ok? We’ll revisit in a couple of years, when—”

“No,” I interrupt him. “I will push this law through the senate, and believe me, it will pass. I am governor, not you.” He doesn’t look very happy. “Are you out of your mind? And here I thought you were reasonable, but it’s like I don’t know you at all! We’re a party that fights for social welfare and redistribution of wealth as much as certain civic freedoms. What you are proposing is worthy of a banana republic.”

I sigh. “Uncle, I’m sorry but you don’t get to choose here. I was hoping you’d see the light on this, but you’re not ready yet. Don’t worry, you will.” I stop and sigh. “Now, please, I have a lot of work to do.” “Work, huh?” He says, chuckling. “You know,” I say irritated, “there’s a spanish idiom that goes ‘breed crows—’” He finishes the idiom: “‘… and they’ll gorge your eyes out.’ Yes, I know the idiom,” he says. “Well, then,” I say, “if you end up losing your eyes it won’t be my fault.”