An Election Day Story

fire isolated over black backgroundThis election is like voting to try to save a burning city.  The people of the city have been presented with two candidates (Mr. Peacock and Mrs. Ophidia) for whom they may vote to manage the fire.

Mr. Peacock:  “If you hire me, I’ll gather the best, most attractive, and smartest people, and we’ll try to manage this fire so it doesn’t grow too quickly.  I know I don’t have any experience with this sort of thing, but I’m really good at lots of stuff, so you can trust me.  If you don’t hire me, it obviously means you hate the city and deserve to burn with it.  If I am hired, I’ll make sure the fire is mostly just burning in those sections we don’t really like much anyway.  No one will miss the people in those run down places.  They’re kind of dirty and ugly and are probably responsible for starting the fire in the first place.  Besides, wouldn’t you rather burn up with me than with that nasty woman?  Did I give her money in the past to start fires all over the city?  Well, yes, but I give money to all the fire starters.  No biggie.  Will my plan put out the fire?  Ha!  Aren’t you cute?  If I put out the fire, you won’t need me anymore.  We can’t have that!”

Mrs. Ophidia:  “If you hire me, you’ll be hiring someone with experience.  I’ve seen lots and lots of fires.  I’ve even started a few!  I’ve navigated around them time and again.  This will be no different.  Unlike my opponent, I want to treat everyone fairly.  It’s not right that there are some neighborhoods with less fire-fighting equipment.  That is why I will demand the people in the city with the most resources give those resources to me.  We’ll take all of their fire-fighting equipment so they can’t fight the fire in their neighborhoods either.  It’s only fair.  Then, I’ll use what I took from them to secure my mansion.  I and my advisors will keep ourselves safe in the fireproof house we fashion for ourselves, where we promise to come up with the best ways to make sure everyone in the city burns at the same rate.  Will we put out the fire?  What a silly question!  Of course not.  If there was no fire, you wouldn’t need me anymore.  We can’t have that!”

So, the people in the city sat in their homes, where they argued and fought as the fire raged on.  Half wanted to hire Mr. Peacock.  The other half wanted to hire Mrs. Ophidia.  Both warned of the devastation that would occur if the fire was managed by the other.  The people viciously defended their preferred fire-manager, some even resorting to blows.

In the midst of all this was a small group of people who didn’t believe either manager would be good for the city at all.  They reminded the others that there was another person available to address the fire.  This person was called Mr. Paladin.  Mr. Paladin was approached by this small group and asked to share his ideas with the town.

Mr. Paladin:  “Though the town paper hasn’t told you this, I am also a candidate for fire manager.  However, I don’t want to manage this fire; I want to help you put it out!  If you elect me, I will stand beside you and not hinder you as we all work together to put out the fire.  Each of you can use whatever resources, tools, and talents you have at your disposal to put out the fire in your own neighborhood.  I will not take your resources away from you, as I know that you can use them much more efficiently to quickly put out the fire and help those around you.  I will stay out of your way and support you as you use your unique talents and resources to put out the fire, recover, and even flourish.”

The masses, however, laughed in the face of Mr. Paladin and in the faces of those supporting his plan.  Each person said, “I can’t vote for him!  Everyone else is voting for one of the other two, and so must I! We’ve been told that we must choose one of these two, and so we will.  Well, yes, of course, Mr. Paladin has better ideas and more experience.  Yes, he is the only one being honest.  No, no one actually likes or trusts the two options we were given.  However, we must select one of them or the other one might win!”

What happens next?  You get to write the ending to this story.




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