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Political Freedom

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  • Political Freedom

    Second Edition! Enjoy!

    "Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear."
    -Alan Corenk

    “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.”
    -George Washington

    "My fellow Virginians-"

    John Shaw was running for Senator, or rather he was the public face of an army which he had hired, or that his party, rather, had hired, to run for senator, a fact he was only starting to realize as he looked down on the familiar paper.

    He hadn't written the speech, the thought was absurd for Political candidates to do something so mundane for themselves. He started to wonder if his ideas were his own, or if the assorted advisors and speechwriters were only using him to secure the office for his party.

    "In this great state, in the home of Washington and-"

    Washington hadn't liked the idea of political parties; Shaw was starting to see why. He wondered if he was a servant of the people, or of the Democratic Party.

    He stopped the speech. He looked out to the crowd, looking them in the eyes for the first time.

    John Shaw smiled, dropping the speech to the floor.

    "My fellow Virginians," he began again.


    "He's not going by the speech."

    A white-faced advisor muttered this to George Williams, the prime speechwriter and advisor of the Shaw campaign.

    "What?" George was a short, flabby man. His quiet, whiney voice would never have won him a public office and so he had fallen behind the scenes, becoming a puppet master, putting candidates through the motions of competence while the electorate attempted to figure out which man was better dressed and better looking.

    "He's going rogue."

    "Well," George fiddled with his plump hands as he attempted to decide what to do, "That can be useful for one speech."

    "Have you heard his new speech?"

    "Of course not."

    The advisor turned on the television, where Shaw stood before a crowd.

    "- All I’m saying is, it's your money, and we have no right to take it. It was your time that was spent getting that money, what freedom do we have if that time is stolen by the government?"

    He went on, but George didn't hear him. His eyes were glazed over in a sort of awed fear and disgust, waiting for the anger, which would not come until he understood completely where he was. As the glimmers of the threat that John Shaw was making began to peek over the horizon George began to feel desperation.

    "Oh, ****."


    He shuffled his papers unsteadily, shifting his weight back and forth in front of the small assemblage, his wife stood up front, wringing her entire body in excitement. She was beautiful, with flowing blonde hair and slim features. The bright colors of her dress were a stark contrast to the melancholy blacks and whites of the rest of the small crowd. Edward looked to her for inspiration before turning to the paper with a sigh.

    “My friends and countrymen,” the voice was feeble and unimpressive, far from the impressive bass, which had so shaken the primaries, convinced the older politicians to give the race to the young hotshot rather than a tried and true candidate. Edward Walsh was unsteady now; even his wife’s excitement was beginning to ebb.

    “I am proud to represent the Republican Party in this race,” he never looked up from the paper, some strange emotion kept him shying away from the eyes of the crowd; he shifted his weight uncomfortably behind the podium.

    “The country is under attack, it is time we sent someone to Washington who will make a difference, I’m not just a box you fill in every other year, I’m a living breathing person, and I’m here to serve you,” from his monotone it was hard to believe that he was a living breathing person, to the back a political cartoonist began sketching a robot.

    His wife’s faith was crushed; the torture evident in her eyes was pain to all who would meet them. She had practiced the speech with him; she had seen him address larger crowds unperturbed, she didn’t know what was wrong.

    Cameron Hill, who had handed Edward the speech, made rapid notes. He had never met Edward before last week, when he had won the primary; Cameron had been assigned by the men who ran things from smoky rooms. Candidates were no longer chosen by those men, but candidates mattered very little anymore. Cameron frowned as he watched Edward struggle with even the simplest terms, every word seemed forced; he almost seemed to be crying as he laid out his ideals.

    The ideals were, of course, not his own. Edward hadn’t seen the speech before Cameron had handed it to him, he hadn’t been allowed to change it in the slightest, but no such thought ever crossed Cameron’s mind. Cameron thought what he was told to think, he wrote what he thought and he was unfulfilled. He knew his job, he knew his place in the world and he did not strive, he did not push any further because there was no point. He had been hopeful, idealistic in his youth but those ideals had merely betrayed him, left him a tired old cynic, afraid to think lest he should return to the treacherous ideals, afraid to try lest he should fail yet again as all idealists must.

    Edward finished his speech and began to step off of the stage to the polite applause; he frowned and cursed himself with each retreating step. His wife was near tears at her front row seat, he began to walk towards her.

    Cameron grabbed his shoulder, a gentle yet assertive motion, “We need to talk.”

    Edward looked at him, “My wife…”

    “Yeah, she’ll be alright, she can drive.”


    “We need to talk, I’ll drive you home.”

    Edward turned with him, turned his back on his wife. She watched, as he was lead out to the car, watched as he was ushered into the passenger door, watched as he followed obediently.


    "You stand to loose party funding," George tried to explain, "You made an ass of yourself this afternoon. You know that?"

    "I stood up for what I wanted to, not what I was told to, It's my life, that's my right."

    "The party of the common man won't stand for Tax cuts like you want, and you know it."

    "Doesn't the Common man pay taxes anymore?"

    "You miss my point."

    "I know I do. That's because your point is nonsense."

    "I'm calling you in. Larry won't like this."

    "I'm still running."

    "Yeah? You're running independent."


    George put the phone down, the number half dialed.

    "What if I come back to the party line?"

    George smiled, "Like the father of the prodigal son, we would take you back."

    A sudden strength was shown in Shaw's eyes, he stood and pushing his words across with his hand to make it clear,

    "Then you can take this job and shove it up your ass."

    George watched as the door to the hotel room slammed shut as he began to call Larry. They needed a new candidate.


    “My friends!” His tone was markedly more enthusiastic now; his smile was faked, but faked well. Those clever enough to notice it had written politicians off as liars anyways, there was no hope in impressing them.

    “The time has come to send a message to Washington. We want lower taxes, we want less gun control.”

    Few of the audience cared about gun control, what they cared about was money, lower taxes meant a lot to them, but they wanted mostly for him to convince them that if he were elected the economy would miraculously skyrocket.

    “It is time to send someone who cares about what you think, what you want.”

    Did these people ever think? Edward didn’t know, He could tell by the dull reflection in most eyes that few did, but where were those who did? Who else cared? Did anyone else think? His lips kept moving, he maintained his enthusiasm and his tone, but the words didn’t matter to him.

    He noticed his wife in the front row again, if anything she looked more distraught than at his first party speech, right after the primaries. He remembered that he still hadn’t apologized for ignoring her then.

    She still thought; he could have faith in her if in no one else. She was constantly rethinking herself, questioning her beliefs. She would not hold to any party line. She would not compromise her ideals, only their application. She was ever so much stronger than he could ever aspire to be. He thanked God for her, and he wished that she knew that he did.

    But she didn’t, and he didn’t know how to tell her.


    "Have you lost your mind?"

    Shaw looked at his best friend. Jim had gone to law school, taken the bar exam with him, now they ran their law office together.


    "First of all, you lost virtually all of your funding. We can't raise the amount of cash you would need. You might as well withdraw."

    "No. I'm gonna run."

    "You'll loose," Jim was pleading now, his voice cracking as his friend threw all he had worked for away.

    "Maybe," John was starting to seem sullen.

    "Alright. I guess we ran the risk anyway. So, what do you stand for now?"

    John smiled now. He determined what he stood for now, it was his decision.

    "I want a smaller government."

    "So you're a Republican now?"

    "No," John paused, "I'm independent. The Republicans talk a good game, but I'm not sure they mean it."

    "So what are you?"

    "I don't know. Let's go back to what I stand for."

    Jim took out a pad and pen. He was going to stand by his friend, regardless of how insane this was.

    "I want to reform the government. There are a lot of pork projects out there; every party wants to spend the people's money on something. I want that to stop."

    "Alright, a Reform angle."

    "I want to see the money divided between the army, the schools, and the public works. I want to give America back to Americans. Not the Rich Americans or the influential ones, to the common man."

    Jim nodded and wrote as John thought over what he had said.

    “But not the common man as we think of him. We have awful education systems and the common man has no thirst for knowledge, we must help the common man become uncommon, we must instill in him a lust for free thought, the same lust which conceived our nation.”

    Jim smiled at that, “Glad you’re writing the speeches now.”

    Shaw smiled back and thought for a moment, "I want to see us pull back a lot of the troops we've got stationed abroad. The Cold war is over, we don't need bases in Germany anymore."

    Jim kept nodding as he and Shaw gave birth to the Shaw campaign.


    “I hold this truth to be self evident. All men are created equal.”

    It was a different crowd now, one that had flocked to him when he broke with traditional parties and declared his independence. He symbolically read the American Declaration, tailored to suit a single man rather that a nation, and edited in slight ways to burn at his former party.

    He read on, Jim was being of great help to him as he struggled along, he had recommended this gesture to symbolically break him from the Democrats.

    “They have erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

    He paused as the crowd cheered. He looked down, moving the sheet he saw a piece of paper, typewritten, which he had labored for hours on. An outline for his own speech, his own soul on paper.

    “-And my sacred Honor.”

    He put the paper down and signed it. Applause shook the hall again.

    As it died down he began.

    “Instead of any diminution, there is need of a great increase of disinterested exertion to promote the good of others. But disinterested benevolence can find other instruments to persuade people to their good, than whips and scourges, either of the literal or the metaphorical sort.”

    He paused a second as the large, complicated words sank in, as he prepared to explain them.

    “John Stuart Mill wrote that, in an Essay titled, ‘On Liberty’. What his point was, because frankly not even I fully understand each of the words he used, was that Charity is good. Charity should be praised and encouraged, but not at the end of a gun.

    “Because what is Charity, if you give it at the end of a gun? It is not charity, it is theft. This is the greatest struggle of our era, which is more important, Economic, or Social equality?

    “It’s a hard question, one that philosophers since the end of the Dark ages have been fighting over. I want to answer it for you. I want to go to Washington and see what is more important to us. I don’t think I am any greater than those minds before mine. I, however have the benefit of their work, and of your assistance. My friends, my neighbors. I have declared my independence to all parties, America did not declare independence from Britain to become French, and I did this for you. I don’t want to serve the goals of a party; I want to serve the goals of Virginia and her people.

    “God Bless America, God Bless Virginia, the home of Washington.”


    “He wants to debate me?” the new candidate did not have that clever spark that Shaw had held. But maybe that was a good thing.

    George nodded, “Yes, he does,” usually George would address the man by name, but he couldn’t remember it. The man’s name was forgettable, at best.

    He tugged on his tie, pulling it off, “What do you think I should do?”

    “I recommend blowing him off. Debates always are a help to the smaller candidate.”

    The nameless man nodded, unsurprisingly agreeing.

    “I’ll do that.”

    George smiled as he turned to his papers, so he could keep running his campaign.


    “The man is a knockoff. You probably should debate him, it’ll convince his voters that it’s useless to vote for him and you’re nothing any further from his ideals other than being mainstream,” Cameron Hill was the chief advisor for the Republican campaign for this particular Senate Seat.

    Edward Walsh nodded, “Call him then, arrange the debate.”

    The chief advisor picked up the phone to call the Independent.

    “Yes, the Walsh campaign office here, yes it is in response to that, yes, we’ll do it. No, thank you, it will be a pleasure.” He hung up and looked towards Edward, “Well, I didn’t expect that they would be able to afford a receptionist.”

    Edward shrugged and laughed, “Probably just an overzealous stay at home wife. The man’s running his campaign out of his law offices, he can’t be doing so well.”

    “Probably right,” Cameron nodded, he was still disconcerted by the seemingly familiar voice that had answered the phone.


    “You did what?” Edward asked, dazed by the revelation.

    His wife answered, “You said I should become involved in politics, I did.”

    “You don’t understand, I wanted you to join my campaign.”

    “I think,” she twirled her pointer in the air to amuse herself, “I agree with Shaw more. He knows what he’s talking about, he believes it. He thinks people are putting words in your mouth. He makes his own words.”

    “That’s absurd, and you know it. It hurts Marge, it really does. You betrayed me. I can’t believe this.”

    “Get used to it. I’ll be faithful to you, darling, but who are you? Are you the man that Cameron puts up on the stage with a speech in his hand? Who are you darling?”

    “I’m…” he trailed off, “By God Margaret, that’s insane. You know who I am, you married me for goodness’ sake.”

    “Who did I marry?”

    Edward stammered for a moment, “Me… I… Me.”

    “Don’t speak those words, dear, until you know who you’re referring to.”

    “Dammit Margaret, I know who I am.”

    But she was gone, left for their room, leaving him behind, confused and hurt.


    Twin podiums stood at the front of the seats. Row after row of empty chairs watched the empty stage as Edward walked down the aisle.

    He was alone, blessedly so though he knew he shouldn’t be, he had a campaign to run and he couldn’t waste time like this. He looked up at the stage, sitting in an aisle seat, rubbing his shoes on the dark blue carpet. Tonight he would meet the man, who had stolen his wife, meet him and reveal him for the fake he was. One man couldn’t run a campaign. One had no time to both write and deliver speeches. It was impossible, and since the support for the Shaw campaign came from those who believed it was he would topple it single-handed, destroy the dreams of this man who had taken his wife.

    Footsteps came forward, a whisper on the carpet.

    “Hello Cameron,” Edward didn’t even have to look back.

    “Edward, we need you now, the speech is written for the restaurant and it’s time for you to go.”

    “Don’t I get to look at it?”

    “Glance over it in the car.”

    “What if I don’t like it?”

    Cameron laughed, “C’mon, have a little faith. The writers don’t screw up. I promise you; you couldn’t do a better job.”

    Silence. Edward began to wonder, to probe his mind for the things he had said, speeches he had made. It all ran together, none of it was important. He could almost feel himself dying, he was nothing and he had created nothing, he was not a man, he was a poor, weak, nothing.


    Cameron had begun to walk back, but he turned back at this weak summons, “Yeah?”

    “Who is John Shaw?”

    Cameron laughed, “He’s a ****in nobody.”


    The men shook hands, and Edward was surprised by the firmness of his opponent’s grip.

    “Hello there, I’m John Shaw.”

    “Edward Walsh,” his smile was a façade, but he had to wonder if the other man’s was.

    “I know, your wife has told me about you.”

    Edward mumbled something, loosing control for a moment in the suddenness of his rage.

    A hand steadied him.

    “Don’t worry Walsh, she loves you, she wants to save you.”

    They were rushed back then, their introduction finished by Edward’s aides who hurried him to his podium, John waltzed to his own on his own time.

    It seemed that John had a single aide, a close friend to all appearances and certainly not one who wrote any speeches, neither of the fellows had any experience in politics and it was with a laughable idealism with which they held their views. For once Edward Walsh was scared of this man.

    “The Moderator will begin with the first question…” To Edward it would be just another forgotten evening, just another meaningless set of words and noises, and another rape of the English language. It would be a numb experience, a pain which he had learned to shut out. It was odd, when he looked his opponent in the eyes, to see a man alive, a man wed to his language, cherishing each and every word.
    Last edited by SKILORD; September 19, 2003, 12:38.
    Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land

  • #2

    "That could have gone better,” Cameron stated the obvious as he drove. Edward sat in the passenger’s seat, his tongue numb.

    “I think you did pretty well on the armed forces bit, but I’m pretty sure he beat you,” Cam continued, “But we’ve got a little time to catch up. It’s alright, cutting it close with elections tomorrow, but we can still get it.”

    Edward looked over at him.

    “You always drive.”

    Cameron laughed, “Yeah, I do. You know what gas costs these days?”

    “You don’t see. Why can’t I write a speech, or run my own campaign?”

    “I didn’t know you liked to speech write. There hasn’t been a politician who’s written his own speeches since…. I dunno, Lincoln? Maybe further back.”

    “Why do you always drive?”

    “Because it’s my car.”

    “Why can’t we take my car?”

    “Dammit Ed, I don’t know, why don’t we?!”

    “What would you do, where would you be if we took my car. I wouldn’t need you.”

    “What do you mean Ed?”

    “Who is John Shaw, Cam? Who is Ed Walsh?”

    “I dunno Ed, who are you.”

    “You know what Cam, until tonight I think I was you. I was who you told me to be. I think it’s over. I think I want to be myself now.”

    “What?” Cameron retreated now. Unsure.

    “Let me out Cam. Election day’s tomorrow and I wanna walk home.”

    “You sure?”

    “I am. I don’t need you to drive me anymore. After tomorrow you won’t need to drive me anymore.”

    “C’mon Ed, you give a speech tomorrow while the polls open and you hit all the late comers. We can still win.”

    “You know what Cam. It doesn’t matter if I win.”

    The door opened, and into night’s dark abyss a gloriously solitary man found his way home.



    Political Freedom is not to be entered into the contest. If you respect my wishes at all, do not enter this.

    As a Disclamer:

    The Political veiws of John Shaw or Edward Walsh are not my own. I gave John a basic Libertarian outlook, but he bagan to form his own views into the story. He was his own character.

    The politics of the characters are also inconsequential, it's about being yourself, it is not an advocation of a certain political veiw.

    It's one of the two, so far, short stories to divert my mind while I write Crusader's Legacy which I would betray without these small things.

    Thank you for reading, feedback if you will, but no entrance to the contest.
    Last edited by SKILORD; September 19, 2003, 12:40.
    Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


    • #3
      A great piece of writing that SKILORD, youve certainly got a good insight into what you write. Your mind must be deeper than a bottomless pit to be able to come up with such stuff.

      A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


      • #4


        With my last exam tomorrow I will inherit from the schoolyear's demise a vaster amount of time to write.

        I'll finish Legacy, amd then maybe write some more short bits like this and Peacemakers.

        Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


        • #5
          As a note: thank you Chrisus fore being the only one who cares :sob:
          Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


          • #6
            I'll give this piece a read on my evening break. I got 3 jobs now so not much time for reading. Hang in there sky-pie!!
            Here is an interesting scenario to check out. The Vietnam war is cool.


            • #7
              I fell asleep reading this.
              Don't tell a twisted person he is twisted, he may take offence. (THAT MEANS ME!)
              Founder of the Mafia Poly Series (THATS RIGHT I STARTED IT)
              Nesing, come and see what its about in the Stories and Diplomacy threads.


              • #8
                Empire growing,
                Pleasures flowing,
                Fortune smiles and so should you.


                • #9
                  Is there like a war or anything coming up?
                  Here is an interesting scenario to check out. The Vietnam war is cool.


                  • #10
                    It could use some proofreading for grammar and spellchecking, but it wasn't bad.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sheep
                      I fell asleep reading this.
                      Thank you for your honesty.

                      No, It's a one post story scratch, that's it.

                      Thanks HG, and Fin.
                      Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


                      • #12
                        I like these short stories. All your characters in your stories are great. Hope to see more short stories soon.
                        "The Pershing Gulf War began when Satan Husane invaided Kiwi and Sandy Arabia. This was an act of premedication."
                        Read the Story ofLa Grande Nation , Sieg oder Tod and others, in the Stories Forum


                        • #13
                          I have to admit to skimming a bit (mostly because I'm personally not all that fond of American elections topics), but I did enjoy the basic premise of the story. The campaign platform was a bit too idealistic to make me believe that it would be successful, but then again aren't all campaign promises? Good ending. The bit with the wife was promising, but was too short. It ended just as I got interested. I also would have liked a bit more in the way of descriptions as I had a hard time visualizing a setting and I like settings.


                          • #14
                            Thank you most of all ST. I love constructive feedback.

                            I know that the wife's bit was too short, and I'm working on adding an earlier introduction to the Main Character, Ed, with more about his wife.

                            As for Settings, I'll earnestly work on it.
                            Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SKILORD
                              Thank you most of all ST. I love constructive feedback.
                              What about my comment? I thought it was an excellent bit of feedback
                              Here is an interesting scenario to check out. The Vietnam war is cool.