Short Story: Political Theater

It’s been far too long since I posted a story on Teish Knits, and I think we might all enjoy a little satire right about now…

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Political Theater

By: Teisha J. Priest

 

Maureen slipped into her seat and handed a bag of popcorn to the guy sitting next to her.

“Sorry I’m late Dan, parking today was insane,” she whispered.

He waved his hand, “You brought popcorn. I’m not going to complain.”

She handed her own bag of popcorn to him while she struggled out of her heavy jacket.

“What’d I miss?”

“The boring stuff mostly,” he shrugged, “It hasn’t been nearly as interesting as it was yesterday when they unseated the whole delegation from Pine Town!”

“Man, I can’t believe the people there managed to get all of the free thinkers on the delegation anyway. It’s usually just a bunch of party flunkies and yes-men. I bet it freaked out a few of the big wigs here!”

“Did you see the way the vein on the Director’s forehead stood out?”

“And then the Secretary looked like she swallowed a frog!”

Laughter got the best of them and they did their best to stifle it as the people surrounding them looked on with disapproval. They quieted down to the occasional giggle by the time the nominee vote was announced.

“Ohhhh, it’s getting good again,” Maureen nudged Dan and grabbed another handful of popcorn.

As things progressed though, she started to look puzzled.

“Wait a minute, are they really going to give the nomination to the second guy? He’s the least liked out of all four of them!”

Dan nodded, “It’s looking that way.”

“But… most of the people here don’t like him. At least half outright hate him! How can they nominate him?”

“Easy, the powers that be in the party want him to win the nomination. He’s part of the club.”

“They can pick a guy that practically no one supports though? I thought the delegates at least had a say.”

He smirked, “It’s the Preservation Party. They’ll lie, cheat, steal, bribe, and pull the omniscient tally screen out of storage just to get their guy nominated.”

She folded her arms and raised an eyebrow at the outrageous statement.

“Omniscient tally screen? Really Dan? Now you’re making things up.”

Another snicker escaped him, “I swear it’s true! You weren’t here last year. See that tablet that the Director is holding up on stage?”

“Yeah, so?”

“It’s his script. He just reads the lines, and pauses for applause or remarks when noted. Last year, they were voting on a rule change, when someone threw the tablet feed up on the big tally screen behind the Director. There were a few weak ‘aye’ votes called out, and a thunderous chorus of ‘no’ votes. But even before the vote was called, his line was up on the screen for everyone to read.”

“And?”

“He said, ‘The aye’s have it.'”

They dissolved into laughter again. Their fellow spectators shushed them, and one called for security to escort them out. They managed to get themselves under control before anyone from security ever arrived.

“How many of the people here today were around for last year’s event?”

Dan scanned the crowd of delegates thoughtfully before answering, “A lot of them are back again this year. At least half I’d say.”

“They came back?!” she squeaked.

“Why wouldn’t they?”

“Oh, I don’t know, blatant corruption at the highest level of the party? Why support a party that doesn’t represent you?”

“Easy,” he shook his head, “They’re more scared of someone from the Progression Party getting elected. So, they’ll vote for whatever crappy choice the Preservation Party puts in front of them.”

“That’s pathetic.”

“But not surprising, Maureen. The free thinkers will end up running a write-in campaign. They’ll have a guy who’s better for everyone than either of the big party guys are, and hardly anyone will vote for him. They’re so scared that the other guy will be worse, that they’ll completely ignore just how bad the guy they are voting for is.”

Neither said anything for a long time, munching popcorn and observing the circus unfolding down on the floor.

“So why do you come, Dan?”

“Back in the day, I used to think I could make a difference. Now? None of the films out at the moment are worth watching, so I turn to political theater for my amusement. Besides, I figure someone will have to tell the kids and grandkids what happened. Who knows what it will all look like by then.”

“Here’s hoping the Preservationists and Progressionists will have closed up shop at that point!”

“Maybe. But something will replace them… Always does eventually.”

She sighed, “As they say, ‘If you don’t learn from history you’ll make the same stupid mistakes. If you do learn from it, you’ll get to watch other people make the same stupid mistakes.'”

Dan raised his popcorn bag, “Here’s to watching the stupid mistakes!”

Maureen tapped his bag with her own, “To political theater!”

This time, security really did throw them out, and the pair trudged through the parking lot to their cars.

“I can’t believe we were thrown out. I’ve never been thrown out of anywhere in my life, Dan!”

“You get used to it,” he reassured her, “The Progression Party is holding their event next week. One year, they created a whole new city in the middle of the desert just to win an election! You up for another dog and pony show?”

“I’m in,” she declared, “But this time you’re bringing the popcorn!”

I hope that you at least got a smile out of Political Theater. Though it is a work of fiction, a number of elements were based upon real events!

At the 2012 Republican national convention, the delegates appointed at the state convention were stripped of their status as delegates and replaced with alternates chosen by party leadership. (Remember Maine!)

In 2012, both the Republican and Democrat parties had “omniscient teleprompters” at their conventions. Videos released by attendees at each convention showed results of votes being listed on the teleprompter used by the speaker… before the vote was even taken.

A rule change was proposed at the 2012 Republican convention. According to video of the vote and eye-witnesses reports from attendees, the delegates overwhelmingly voted against the rule change. Inexplicably, House Speaker John Boehner still declared, “The ayes have it.”

Perhaps the wildest thing of all though, is this: Nevada’s statehood was rushed through congress for a number of reasons, even though they did not actually meet the eligibility requirements for statehood. There were a few reasons behind this, but one of them was so that there would be another state to support the Republican incumbent (Abraham Lincoln) in the next presidential election.

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