He had fired good military men and paved the way for bad ones; he had cut military spending and made deals with the enemy; he had condemned the leader of an ally and shook hands with a supporter of terrorism; he had willfully violated the Constitution and weakened his country’s borders, economy and health; he had lied and obfuscated and covered up.
They all knew this, all the senators and all the reporters in the room; they knew this, but would go on asking him inane questions about the specifics of his new policy and how he expected his legacy to be affected by it. In no way did they want to rock the boat of this world-wide televised news conference.
Henry was a good reporter. He stuck to the facts and reported the facts. He also loved his country very much, loved it even more for the free country it once had been than for its current slow-but-sure slide into the un-free country it was becoming. He couldn’t stand it; something had to be done. He looked at the bland, plastic faces around him, at all those who were quick to criticize the President when interviewed on some news show (though even there they fell short of moral condemnation), but were too afraid to say what they really thought and what so urgently needed to be said. Too afraid of it being true, too afraid of being the one to break the thin shell of falsity and show the ugly worm within.
Henry knew that he would lose his job; he knew that all his friends in the press would distance themselves from him, if he said it. He knew that he would probably have to move out of his new house and put his children in another school (Hell, get ’em out of school! It’s nothing but a propaganda machine anyway!) in another city where his name was not known. Then he would have to find some kind of a job—doing what, he didn’t know. Would Carol stick by him? Could she and would she take it? He shook his head, “What am I thinking of?” he asked himself. “She will; she’ll be proud of me, ” he hoped.
And now, now, when the question period began, Henry raised his hand. The President, with a smiling, superior smirk on his face, pointed to Henry. (“Good. I’m first. Here goes.”)
With his sandy hair, light blue eyes and square shoulders, he stood. He knew that the eyes of the world were on him and didn’t care. He was the only man in the room. In a strong, deep voice he began, “I didn’t vote for you and I never will. Not for you or any of your anti-American kind.” His voice rose in power and strength. “You have betrayed my country and you are a traitor! You have committed acts of destructive evil and you are an evil man! You have committed treason and you should be imprisoned! If the men in this room had any guts…”
After the first moments of stunned silence all Hell broke lose. Many of the leftists began booing, drowning Henry out. He stopped and turned to walk out. A thin scarecrow of a woman sitting behind the fake President, screamed, “Get him out of here! He’s insane!” Many of the senators of the right closed their eyes and shrunk into their seats. Henry’s fellow reports jerked their heads around, many in fear, a few in admiration, and one of them—Tom Nashe from the New York Independent—rose and, grabbing Henry by the elbow, went with him up the aisle to the exit doors, saying, “Good job, my friend, but let’s get the Hell out of this insane place.” As they were going out they heard the wanna-be dictator spouting, “No cause for alarm, folks. We get these selfish idiots every once in a while. They have no sense, as all of you do, of their public responsibilities and only cause chaos with their un-thinking, attention-seeking behavior. This is not a time for ill-considered judgments and capitalistic, emotional rants, but for calm, considerate and collective co-operation as we march into a new world of equality for all!”
But the Phony President did not get the response he felt sure he would get. For, while many leftists hysterically applauded, others argued with and shouted at each other, and many on the right began standing up and leaving their seats, walking silently up the aisles. The scarecrow, out of control, began screeching, “Losers! Losers! Losers!”
Henry had started something.