Let me tell you all a story about the moment I knew I could never make it in politics.
A long time ago, in a city far away, Athenae handled press for a city council candidate. He was good and cared about his constituents, going so far as to negotiate free bus services for them, and ensure their participation in politics at a time when most people wrote them off. He remains one of the kindest, most decent people she has ever known, a human being that in her heart of hearts gives her faith in humanity.
His opponent was stupid but curiously well-funded, and took credit for every good thing he ever did. The Opponent bribed voters with free pizza, he promised them things he had no hope of delivering. And Athenae’s candidate lost to this craven little fuck, by six votes.
Everybody involved in that campaign got out of politics, it was so devastating. Our ideas of right and wrong were completely subverted, our sense of justice offended by this human scum being elected to our city’s leadership. Athenae’s candidate’s campaign manager traces his embitteredness toward the electoral process to this exact election; Athenae herself spent about a week solidly drunk and feeling sorry for first her city and then herself. The candidate moved out of the district and abandoned political aspirations altogether. It was crushing.
A year later, the selfsame asshole was busted trying to get his underage sister into a bar and threatening the bar owner by using his status as a city liquor commissioner. A newspaper reporter, enterprising fellow, told the whole story and the jackhole lost the next election to Athenae’s candidate’s protege, and Athenae, watching the returns on the Internet, danced like she’d never danced before.
This isn’t to convey the feeling that we’ve lost, because we haven’t, not yet. It’s to say that, listen, listen, there’s another election coming up, and another one after that. You never know what’s going to come out of nowhere and bite you in the ass, so let’s allow ourselves a while to finish this one, recover, take a breath, start again.
I think back on that campaign and I do not for a moment regret the side I fought on. I feel the same way about this one. I’m sleeping fine tonight. I shouted as loud as I could with the voice that I had, and so did you. So did all of you. I will walk out tomorrow with my head held high.
ps. A special thanks to jackterminal, otherwise known as Mr. Athenae, for filling in tonight.