Writing 365

Warning – May Emit High Levels of Random

Writing 365 – Election

I, like everyone else in America, got pretty into the election all throughout 2016. Recent info on fake news sites, foreign influencers, and more has gotten me thinking about how this year’s election was different from the 2012 and 2008 elections. I have only voted in four elections, so I don’t have as much experience as others may have. But I do have a checklist I go through each election – one which I have had to modify for the 2016 election. I thought I’d write it down and see where that takes me.

Original Election Checklist

1. Treat the candidate like you are hiring him/her for a job.

2. Review the candidate’s history. Does he/she keep promises – is he/she an effective politician?

3. Find out who is supporting/funding the candidate. Do you agree with their policies and statements?

4. Make a list of three issues that you care about deeply (mine: human rights, war, global warming). Does the candidate share your stance? Can you live with his/her differences of opinion?

5. Are they any good at politicking? (Debates, rubbing elbows, personality, etc.).

Election Checklist: A Story

1. Treat the candidate like you are hiring him/her for a job.

She walked into her brightly lit office, a mug of coffee in hand. Sitting in her ergonomic chair, she sighed. It was going to be a long week of looking through candidate resumes, trying to find the perfect person for president.

Scrolling through emails, she read cover letters from hopefuls. Some were unique, but many were obviously from a template with information ripped off from the appropriate party’s website.

“I can’t stand these copycats. I want someone unique, someone who seems to do what they say, but who isn’t obviously funded by huge conglomerates. Someone who doesn’t seem to sacrifice his or her principles.”

Out of the thousands of emails sent, she picked one hundred potentials to pass on. Once vetted through her, these potential candidates would have their social media presence scrutinized, their backgrounds checked, and their secrets uncovered. It was going to be a long year.

2. Review the candidate’s history. Does he/she keep promises – is he/she an effective politician?

The vetter came into her office and slammed the folder on her desk, tipping over her coffee and sloshing it into her keyboard. He ignored the mess.

“These candidates are ridiculous!” he yelled. “One has the social media presence of a 9-year-old while the other appears to be just learning what the internet is. One has no history of campaigning, so we have no idea if promises will be kept or not. What am I supposed to do with this mess?”

She glared at him.

“I can only work with what I’ve been given. You do your job, and I’ll do mine.”

“I don’t know how any of these people will appeal to voters.”

“That’s not your job. Just vet them and send them along. The spinners will work out the right cover story for the right candidate.”

He let out a growl, but grabbed his file and stomped out of her office. She stared at her keyboard. What a damn mess.

3. Find out who is supporting/funding the candidate. Do you agree with their policies and statements?

Leaving her office for the day, she carefully removed her company id and replaced it with the company name on the building where she worked. The huge conglomerate fell under many names, holding many shell companies so as to avoid monopoly lawsuits. She was looking forward to a hot bath and a glass of wine when her boss stopped her in the hallway.

“Nice work on candidate selection.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“You’re driving the vetters and spinners crazy, but I want you to know I think you did a great job. Do you know who you’re going to root for in the office pool?”

“I have a couple of ideas on who I think will get to the finals, but I’m going to hold out until they get through the vetters.”

“Good call,” he said. “Well, have a great night!”

4. Make a list of three issues that you care about deeply (mine: human rights, war, global warming). Does the candidate share your stance? Can you live with his/her differences of opinion?

The final conference was always nerve wracking. She had bet $30 on the two candidates she thought most likely to get through the finals, but when entering the conference room, she wavered. Maybe it was going to be the long-term politicians or perhaps the youngest in the group. After all, the Committee liked to work with those who they had not yet sucked dry.

She seated herself in the chair farthest down the conference room table from the old men ringed in cigar smoke. They lounged comfortably at their end, protected by bulletproof glass.

When everyone sat and snifters of brandy were filled on the other side of the glass, the conference began.

“We have made our final decision,” said the eldest man, chewing at the end of his cigar. His face was softened by smoke, but she always imagined deep, wrinkled clefts covering his face, making his skin sag.

Another of the men, the one in the dark gray suit, spoke next.

“We have decided that, for the good of the company, we will go with the candidate that will free up our ability to mine the last of the natural resources. Our pet scientists tell us that, as long as other countries continue to reduce emissions, we can afford to splurge a little and plumb the depths of our shale oil fields. We will have to work fast. We don’t think putting business interests in front of human interests so obviously will work for very long.”

One of the men from management on her side of the glass began typing frantically, sending messages to all of the conglomerate’s companies.

The man in the dark gray suit continued, “We will need our spinners to make up news, to falsify claims, and to work with out of country allies to pull this off without a hitch.”

The Lead Spinner nodded and scribbled frantically on her notepad. She didn’t trust computers, no matter how secure a line was.

5. Are they any good at politicking? (Debates, rubbing elbows, personality, etc.)

One of her candidates won the election. She earned $50 from the office pool and clinked champagne glasses with her officemates. The celebration was shortlived, however. She had work to do, combing the files for all of the other candidates in other key positions – and of course she couldn’t start early enough on the next set of finals.

“Four years can simply fly by,” she thought.

End

That’s about it! See you tomorrow!

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