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
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
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
I’d actually written, couldn’t give one sweet shit, but adjusted it for a
“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.”