Running on Greed – The Journey of a Senator

For the Record

I am not saying all politicians are crooks and puppets. This short story tries to dive into the mental change that one would have to go through in order to become a corrupt public servant. They have to be okay with trading their morals for a materialistic bliss. Be able to put the wants of few over the needs of many in order to indulge in a deadly sin. It’s a frightening state of mind to be in if you one day become aware that all you are is a distraction for the evils of the world. It’s the closest one can get to being a sociopath without physically killing someone. This is a short story for entertainment purposes only – not to start a debate.

Campaign Road Trip

I ran an honest campaign. I didn’t drag anyone through the mud and I actually listened to what the people wanted. They say they want change, but they don’t know from what or how. Catch them off guard and they won’t be able to explain why they are angry, or in support of, an issue and end up sounding like five year olds trying to explain a dream. I know what the people want; they want the news to stop scaring them, not worry about Wall Street taking their 401k’s, “terrorists” defeated, even though they are no longer sure who we are fighting and why, and they want to stop hearing stories about immigration so they can stop feeling guilty when they hire a Hispanic to do something they don’t want, or know, how to do.

The election is the easy part. Make one speech, and just change the name of the city you are in. One long road trip saying the same speech that someone crafted, not wrote, with just the right amount of buzz words. It makes it sound like I’m answering questions when in reality I am not saying anything at all. The hard part is coming up with the money to win, not run.

In the Beginning There was Ambition

“I’m not going to be like them.” I tell myself as I walk up the steps of the capitol building. Today is my first day as a senator. I am young enough to use slang words without sounding like a dad, but old enough to be one. I worked hard in school, did what was asked of me and never arrived late. I couldn’t wait to start doing my part in changing the country for the better. I’m going to do great things. When I walk into my new office I stare at my name on a gold plate at the edge of my desk. My heart races with excitement at the realization that my hard work is finally going to start bearing fruit.

Exposed to Infections

I have been a senator for a few months now and I am starting to learn the jargon and operations of this place. Every hand you shake comes with a favor, or an IOU, and every dinner ends with a deal. When civilians are not around you see them take off their mask and relieve who they truly are, people. Normal people with many imperfections like the rest of us. Frat boys riding on the past glory of their fathers or grandfathers, independent women trying to play the man’s game, ex-attorneys who couldn’t make it as a judge, or ex-military trying to provide steady work for their enlisted brothers. I am an outsider to them because I have not asked or taken a favor from anyone. I can feel their judgement when I walk the halls. Like a new kid in middle school with a foreign name.

Being outside the loop gives me a front row seat to how the game is played. They try to combine two issues and turn it into a “one or the other” situation. They laugh amongst each other as they watch the country tear itself apart debating the issue they created from two mistakes. It’s all an act to them. If we keep the debate going we don’t actually have to come up with a solution. Just keep throwing logs into the fire and never let the flames get low enough to see what we are doing.

The Darkness Begins to Set In

Being here can wear out your morals. Constantly being surrounded by greed and seeing FOR SALE signs on people’s backs. I try to stay moral, but every bill I try to pass gets shut down because I am not, “one of them.” Some nights I drive home and question why I even bother going to work the next day, I’m powerless.

Then one day my mind goes dark. I see how the system works and its ugly truth sinks my heart down to my feet. I could leave but then it dawns on me – I do have power. My decisions have an impact on millions of people. I am a god, a king, a supreme being, in my own way for I have the power to make people suffer, or bring joy, by signing a piece of paper. This sense of power is overwhelming as I sit in my desk staring a bill I was about to propose. Things are going to be different from now on…

Into the Depths of Greed

A man in a suit comes into my office carrying a briefcase. He tells me that he wishes to speak to me about a sensitive issue. The meeting turns into a sales pitch and I’m the product. He is trying to sell me to myself. He opens the briefcase and I see stacks of tax free income in front of me. “One deal couldn’t hurt”, I thought. I can always make up for it on something else, something to benefit the community. It will even out. Checks and balances.

With one motion I sell my soul to him and curl up in his pocket. I am now part of the club, much to my co-worker’s delight. Now my inbox consists of invites to CEO yacht parties, top dollar fundraisers, and appointments to make more deals. They all need me because I have the power their money cannot buy, unless they buy me first. I am the missing link they are willing to pour money into in order to fuel their greed addiction. My ego grows in parallel with my off shore accounts.

One of Them

Everyday the word “enough” gets washed away from my vocabulary.  I do not recognize myself when I stare into the mirror, but a voice inside tells me that I am not the bad guy. I am just one man trying to survive and find a way to live comfortably. The oil companies are polluting the earth, not me, I am not shooting at our troops hoping for their death, that’s the enemy – I’m just a man trying to make a living. With each briefcase I take I feel a part of my soul vanishing, but I cheer myself up with a new watch and a suit to hide my inner disgust.

I wouldn’t feel as bad if it wasn’t so easy. The public will believe anything if the media talks about it long enough. The media is a business, just like us. It’s all a game we play to keep the money flowing in the directions we want. Fear is our greatest weapon.

Too Late to Turn Back

It’s been 20 years since my first day as I walk up the same steps, only a little slower now. The man that first started has been dead for years, but the memory of him still haunts me on certain nights when I am alone with Johnny Walker. It is too late to turn back now, even if I wanted to. The only way out is up and my craving for “more” has found a new target, a big white house. Ultimate power is within my reach, but I feel the weight of the favors I owe on my shoulders like a wet coat. Alcohol allows me to drown the dark reality of my live. I am a puppet – all my ideas of having power were long sold off for pennies on the dollar. I only represent the idea of power. I put myself before my country, before millions of people, just so I could have a coin in my pocket. The pain of this realization doesn’t go away no matter how much whiskey I pour into it.

The shame is excruciating and I can no longer bare it, but I cannot quit for I am a slave with a debt to pay. As I finish the last drop in the bottle I look up to see my old hunting rifle. I take the rifle and study it in my hands. This honest piece of steel and wood has never given up on its purpose in life. It was built to do one thing and one thing only, and now it was going to be the solution to all my problems. “I’m not going to be like them”, Is the last thought that pops into my head before the bullet runs through it.

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Staring Down the Barrel of Fantasy – Trigger Happy Americans

I Love Guns

My father and I own 27 different firearms in our collection. Notice I said collection and not armory, because we are not dooms day preppers, nor are we forming a militia to overthrow the government based off Fox News statistics. We own so many guns for the same reason we own over 20 cars – we like them. We appreciate the art and craftsmanship that goes into  a revolver or the mechanism in a lever action rifle. We do not go hunting, nor do we aspire to gun down a, “bad guy”. We use our firearms for recreation, which consists of shooting beer bottles and inanimate objects in the safety of our ranch.

Steel Mystique

Guns have a mystique about them, much like a car does. A fast car can make a driver believe he/she is better than they really are. A big truck can make a driver feel stronger than they really are. That’s why jokes about compensating for something always come up. Whether they are true or not is beside the point because even if you have nothing to prove, you will get that feeling of confidence.

Holding a loaded gun for the first time is an experience. I was 12 when I held my first hand gun. It was a nickel plated 9mm Smith & Weston, with a hare trigger, that used to belong to a U.S Marshal at some point in its life. You feel the weight of gun in your hand and the first thought in your mind is, “I have the power to take away life in the palm of my hand.” It is a powerful feeling, and with any amount of power comes the possibility for corruption.

MURICA’s Guns

America is divided on many issues – one of them is gun control. The media only seems to be spamming the two extreme sides of the argument. Either they take away all the guns, or give everyone a gun to “defend” themselves, with no room for compromise. I hear the phase, “God given right”, being thrown around a lot during gun control debates as the NRA treats the second amendment as a way of life.

Let’s be perfectly clear about something. The only right God gives us is the right to an ending. We come into this world with only one certainty in life and that is that one day it will end for all of us. Everything else that people claim is a, “God given right”, is just bullshit used to distract bible thumpers from the smell.

Now, why are so many people pro-gun? That is a question people ask me because I own firearms and I am here to explain the mentality of a gun owner who fears the day a G-man will knock on his door asking for his gun. The following does not apply to all gun owners, but it does for those who are against common sense gun control.

All this fighting over what to do with guns in the America can be traced down to one thing, guns are cool. Blame who you want, the movie industry, television, the MURICA mentality, but having a gun strapped to your side is cool. It’s like smoking, doesn’t matter how many studies are published explaining the dangerous of smoking, it still looks cool.

Open Carry All Around

The argument is that if everyone carried a gun out in the open, crime would go down. That theory, which is what it is, would work…in a perfect world where nobody was angry and stress didn’t exist. The reality is that we are all just one small incident away blowing up. One rude driver cutting you off, one rude retail customer, one coffee made incorrectly, one annoying dog that won’t shut up, away from the last straw. What will prevent us from using our guns, in the heat of the moment, as a problem solver? This is 2016, not 1886.

Fight Against Tyranny

Another argument is that we need guns to protect ourselves against tyranny. The idea that armed with a 12 gauge and an AR-15 we will be able to stop the largest military force in history from breaking in our doors. That alone is nonsense, but what amazes me is that they don’t stop to think about what tyranny would mean for this country.

That would mean that all of our troops, that we love and support, would have to betray their own families, neighbors, and friends under direct orders from a government that under pays them and cuts their benefits at any given opportunity. What incentive would a Marine need to have in order to go out and kill his/her countrymen? That argument has no value in the real world.

What about other countries invading the US? That may happen, and attacks have happened in has in the past, but again we fail to remember that we have the largest military force ever seen. Our military can out gun, and out muscle every country on this planet. Being in constant “conflict” with other counties means we have a massive surplus of unused tanks, planes, guns, and bombs collecting dust in graveyards for that, “just in case”, moment. So if someone does decide to bring a fight to our soil, they will not stand a chance, realistically. So that argument is on thin ice. If someone attacks the US it is because our government allowed it.

CHL Fantasies

What kind of person carries a gun in public? Not talking about police or military, I mean civilians who are proud supporters of the NRA. Well, there are different mentalities to these kinds of people.

One is the hero fantasy. They strap on their piece hiding behind the idea that they want to protect themselves from a, “bad guy with a gun”, but in reality they just want to feel tough. Have that feeling that if someone dared to mess with them they will pull out their piece and say, “Go ahead, make my day.” Have that sense of authority that they are closer to being a bad-ass then those who are not carrying a gun. It’s an ego booster.

They live with a constant fantasy. They wait in line at a gas station, or a bank, and secretly wish that a junkie would bust in waving a shotgun, so that him/her can save the day with their best Dirty Harry impression. Itching for a chance to use their weapon for what it was built to do, kill.

Hate to burst their bubble but all gun owners who practice at a gun range must use protective eye wear, and ear plugs. Why? Because when you fire a gun you don’t actually hear it. Those that know understand that firing a gun without ear protection means your ears will be ringing for the rest of the day, and followed by a possible headache.

Life is not an action movie. In life you miss, a lot. The odds of you pulling your gun out, without stumbling, aiming at the criminal and squeezing off two rounds into their chest is near impossible. You will miss, or maybe hit someone else, and propably get killed in the process. Now you’re just a jerk who tired to play cowboy and lost. Ask any military or law enforcement official and they will tell you that you are never fully trained to handle a life and death situation with a firearm.

I don’t carry any of my guns in public because I know that I have better odds of dating a Playboy bunny than being in a situation where I need to shoot .357 magnum rounds at someone.

Bad Guys With Guns

My favorite argument is, “if you take away our guns, then only the bad guns will have them.” Illegal guns in America are dirt cheap compared to illegal guns in countries with strict gun control, why? Because in America you can find a gun just about anywhere, but in other countries like Australia, getting a hold of a handgun will cost you up to five figures! Paying over ten grand for a 9mm is impossible for the thug looking to knock over a convenience store. If we can buy cheap guns, so can the bad guys. We all live in the same country people.

Some of you may look to Mexico saying that their people are not allowed to bear arms and that is why their country is being overrun with cartel drug lords. You are correct, but where does some of the cartel’s weapons come from? From good old USA, the world’s Walmart for weapons.

Let’s Admit the Truth

I am not saying that we need to outlaw every single gun in the country, because that would be impossible. The government would spend billions trying to collect every single piece of gun metal in this country, so please stop with that stupid bullshit. It is just another fantasy argument.

I do feel that if you want to protect your home, get a shotgun. If you want to protect yourself, get a revolver. If you enjoy hunting, get a nice bolt-action rifle. Everything else is just unnecessary and you want them because you like them, admit it! There is no shame in saying you want a fully automatic assault rifle because it’s cool – they are.

A gun’s purpose is not to protect, its purpose is to kill. The context of how it is used is what will categorize a killing as self defense or murder. Guns kill, fact, because that is what they are purpose built to do. Giving this tool to an untrained, misinformed, and angry public is bringing the analogy of a monkey with a machine gun to life. What else would you call a mass shooting?

Cut the Bull

I am neither pro-gun or anti-gun, I just believe in common sense. In a country where racism is coming out of the shadows from 1960, while the modern age tries to progress forward, guns are the last thing we need to be allowing people to carry. We are a short tempered, ignorant, close to the breaking point society and this fantasy argument over guns needs to stop. Cut the bullshit and return to reality.