Shoes… part 5
The following is a work of fiction.
It’s sole purpose is give the reader a chance to try on another guy’s shoes.
Maybe see how a different opinion fits.
You look out the office window and smile. The smartest decision you and your husband ever made was for you to run for Mayor. Winning that election was a piece of cake. It took little effort and only a few promises to derail your opponent. But it hadn’t gone unnoticed that barely one-fifth of the population had even bothered to vote at all, and that you barely got the majority of those votes. “I’ll do better next time” you remember thinking and now, looking out onto this beautiful snow-covered city, through the window of the Governor’s office – your office – you grinned, thinking “heh, I did just that!”
And if running for Mayor had been the smartest thing you’d done so far, running into The Senator at that State Fair, a while back, was the luckiest. He was a funny old bird and had taken a shine to you right away. He was politically savvy and (for whatever reason) eager to share his road to Washington D.C. with you. Forty years of successful wheeling and dealing inside the US Boys Club. Wow. He’d been a fountain of information and good advice.
The way he could manipulate the media and the public was inspiring, but you were here now. You had arrived. You didn’t want him upstaging you much longer. He was the darling politician of your state, but he was also in some legal hot water over undeclared gratuities. Add that to his age and well, he was more than likely on his way out.
So you’d picked his brain and done the photo ops and followed his wealth of adages (things like play ball with the boys, doll, and ol’ Uncle Sam will always take care of you). But you knew what you wanted now, and how to get it, and you no longer needed this seedy old man hitching his worn-out coattails to your brand-new wagon.
By the middle of your first term in office you’d already decided if the Senator was going to fall, you’d just step aside and let it happen.
Turns out the most important thing about politics, you learned on your own, anyway. In the first grade no less, when that nasty third-grader tried to steal your lunch and you had to sucker punch him to get it back – and then smile at the teacher and say “he musta fell but I’m watchin’ him closer now.”
You just do whatever you need to do, take full credit for things that turn out well and deny everything else. Oh, and smile. Always smile.
That’s pretty much what you’ve done with The Senator already – just kept smiling while he told you how to shortcut this or circumvent that – find Jesus - the public loves it when you tell ‘em you found Jesus. The Senator was sure right about that one. Folks who carry bibles will follow you anywhere if you tell them you have one too. The ones who don’t will get behind your right to say you do, so latching onto religion is always a win-win, politically speaking.
As Mayor, you carefully surrounded yourself with people you could trust. Old friends for whom you could grease the wheel and keep in your debt enough to be sure they would never betray you, because when The Senator first told you no matter how hungry people get, nobody kills the cash cow! it made you laugh. But eventually you caught on and embraced the idea.
And now, as Governor, you could do even more. You could travel all across the country and as long as you gave one little speech somewhere, the taxpayers would be happy to pick up the tab for the whole trip. You could have anything your heart desired, now, and your faithful staffers would find a way to write it all off as state business. The Senator, God Bless him, taught you well.
As you stood there now, looking out onto the snowy landscape, you realized you’d been right from the start. This whole business of winning elections and holding office really wasn’t much different from the inner workings of a small-town beauty pageant. You smile into the camera, occasionally (and quite accidentally) spill fruit punch on a fellow contestants costume and most important – tell the judges the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Even if that means making it all up as you go along.
After all, it’s in everyone’s best interest that you keep winning.