Sunday, November 29, 2054

Chapter Twenty-Nine

As soon as the crowd calmed down, I continued speaking. "First I want to tell you that running for president was not my idea. The idea was first proposed to me a few weeks ago. It would be an understatement to say that I was resistant to the idea. Since then, I have become completely convinced that it's an excellent idea".

"So, here I am to announce that I want to be your next President. I'd like to take you through some of the reasoning that brings me to this moment and this announcement. A few weeks ago, I made an appearance on Jackson Duffield's Sunday morning show. I said on that show, that if I ever decided to run for office I'd out myself about everything I've ever done that might be considered embarrassing to a public official. I probably wouldn't have said it if I'd known I would be standing here talking to you this morning, but here goes".

That got a polite laugh, which gave me the pause I needed for a sip of water. I continued, "Here are some reasons you might not want to elect me President. I have never served a day in public office and I haven't got a clue how politics work. Don't get me wrong, I understand politics as well as any other American who's not directly involved in it, but I'm smart enough to realize that it's a whole different game on the inside."

"I'm not sure it's a great idea to elect a President who will probably have difficulty qualifying for a security clearance." Another laugh

"More to the point, I've got a number of skeletons in my closet. As I said before, in my role as an auto-parts retailer, I don't believe they were any of your business, but as a candidate, I guess you should know everything there is to know about me."

"O.K., so here we go. I smoked pot in college, and yes I inhaled. I didn't really like pot all that much, but it took the edge off my buzz whenever we could afford some coke. It also gave a really good kick whenever we dropped acid. I haven't done any drugs since I was 23 years old, but hey, I did pretty much everything offered to me before that.

"I went seven years without filing an income tax return. I did settle it, including fines, so I'm good with Uncle Sam now".

"I stole a car with some friends when I was fourteen...while blind drunk on Ripple. We didn't hit anyone and we left it at a mall about 3 miles from where we took it. I'm not proud of that one, but I promised to tell all. I'm assuming the statute of limitations has run out on this, otherwise, this may be a very short campaign".

"I slept with a couple of hookers when I was younger, with four women who were married when we met, and with one man. I won't even try to figure out how many single women I've been with. I was faithful to my wife during the years we were married. I enjoyed every partner I've had immensely."

"Now you and I know that any single one of the things I've just told you should be enough to eliminate me from consideration for your vote. Personally, I think most people have a history that includes some things they're not proud of or things they've grown out of, but I won't make excuses. You'll just have to judge for yourself."

"But before you judge me, I'd like to tell why you should think seriously about voting for me. In a few months, someone is going to stand up in front of the nation and affirm an oath 'to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic'."

"I'd like to talk about the significance of that promise, because the Constitution is the only thing that makes us all Americans. It's the only thing that makes us one people. We don't share any common ethnicity or religion. Our ancestry encircles the globe. Some of our families pre-date the revolution and some of our citizens are being newly minted right now while I'm talking to you. The one thing we hold in common, all of us, is the dedication to continue the experiment begun by our founding fathers more than 200 years ago."

"Our founding fathers were not perfect. There are contradictions in their public and private lives that I have difficulty fathoming today. How, for example, could they found a nation based on inalienable rights, yet at the same time maintain the institution of slavery and withhold those rights from women."

"I don't understand those contradictions. I only know that the documents they penned, and the ideas they espoused forced their descendents to realize the contradiction...and to repair some of the problems that had been overlooked or ignored. Our founding fathers created a system which invites us to look at ourselves and say, 'we can do better, we can be better'. A system that is flexible enough to allow us to act on those thoughts."

"The first sentence of the Constitution uses the phrase, 'in order to create a more perfect Union'. At the time, the reference was to the idea of making thirteen loosely confederated states into a single nation. However, the phrase has reverberated throughout our nation's history...'a more perfect Union'. I submit to you today, that the history of the United States is the continuing process of the effort to "create a more perfect Union."

"That work is not complete. It will never be complete. We, as mere human beings are incapable of perfection. We are, however capable of the struggle. In a nation founded on the principals of basic human rights, rights that some of our citizens are still fighting for today, the effort is our greatest duty as a nation."

"During the campaign, I'm going to try to avoid making many promises. Things happen that need to be reacted to, and when they do, promises get pushed aside. When I finish this speech, my staff is going to pass out two versions or my "platform". I hope you'll read the longer version. It'll give you a good view into what my beliefs are. The short version works too, but hey, we're talking about the next leader of your country. Invest an hour or two into researching your vote."

"During the course of this campaign, I will take every opportunity to tell you my ideas for governing the nation. I'll tell you what I believe makes this nation great. I'll tell you what I believe our problems are. When I think I've got solutions to those problems, I'll tell you that. I'm sure I'll spout off about a lot of things, that's the nature of the game. But remember, I'm one of you. If, I'm wrong, convince me.

But now I'm going to make the only ironclad promise you'll hear from me during this campaign. If you choose to invest your confidence in me and elect me as your next President, I promise that when I leave office, regardless of my success or failure, every American will be able to truthfully say that my term of office was a sincere and vigorous effort to create a more perfect union."

"Thank you"

I suffered through a moment of silence followed by thunderous applause.

1 comment:

M. J. Anderson said...

Wow... excellent "I'm in the running" speech from Paul. Really enjoying your work thus far and kind of sad that I've reached Chapter 30 in under a few hours and will soon reach the end of the archives and have to start waiting for new material like everybody else.
Well done Nathan.