Locmin For Senate (2 of 3)
This is the second part of a story that was intended to be read as a whole. Check out the previous part Here if you’re not sure what’s going on. It’s only a five minutes read and flows nicely to this one. If you like it then enjoy and let me know. Thanks.
Helen wore a softer version of Isaac’s outfit – with light beige replacing the navy blue. A homely looking woman, Helen had broad shoulders that were accentuated by her many business jackets. Isaac glanced at her with dull eyes before returning his gaze to the trees, bushes and mountain scenery flying past the window. He was glad he married her. She was smarter than him, and he knew it. Helen was the strategist behind Isaac’s campaign who did everything from writing his speeches and policy initiatives, to setting up promotional events and contacting the media.
Only an hour before Isaac had finished an interview, set up by Helen, with a local news show in Mendocino County. Though it didn’t go as well as Isaac had hoped, everyone else was pleased with the direction it took. He was being told by his staff that he came across as “intelligent,” “truthful,” and “likable.” These were the qualities that voters looked for in a leader, said his anonymous staff.
The reporter had said, “Representative Locmin, you’ve been called a homophobe.” He looked Isaac in the eyes, then looked down at an index card. “You have connections with the ultra conservative religious group GAFF, who’ve published material calling homosexuality a, quote, ‘abomination.’ You yourself have been on the record saying, ‘what two human beings do in their bedroom is their own business, but marriage implies that the government approves of it, and I don’t think that’s a message we should be giving out.’ ” After looking up from his index card, the young reporter raised an eyebrow then asked, “Though they may sound like bland words representative, do you really think the people of your district will vote for what’s implied by those words – the opinion that being gay is wrong? Do you think they’ll want you to represent them in the State Senate?”
Isaac responded, “A senator is basically a representative of the people, and I believe that in this state, and specifically in my district, many agree with my stance. That quote, for example, was made before I became a representative for the third district, but I’ve never denied saying it. Its main idea, in fact, was what much of my platform was based on. It’s why I was voted in.
“Voters were well informed and knew what they wanted in their representative. I think voters are still well informed, and when it’s election day they will know what they want in their state senator: someone who says what he means, and is willing to accept criticism from anybody who genuinely wants to make things better. That’s what my office has been doing for the last eight years and that’s what I’d continue to do as senator in the state of California.”
“So are we to imply that your opinion is the same as that of GAFF leaders?”
Isaac smiled, “Honestly Daniel, my day to day responsibilities as a representative don’t allow me to be fully involved in some of the organizations I’m a member of. My father was a member of G.A.F.F. and fully involved in its activities. I haven’t been able to be so involved. However, I do believe in a lot of what they stand for: personal responsibility, faith and family. I will always stand for those ideals, and that’s what my campaign stands for as well.”
The reporter pressed no further, and soon moved on to Isaac’s ideas on “tough urban policing.”
Isaac’s answers were given with all the right body language: His eyes remained open (avoiding the half closed sleepiness they sometimes exhibited), his hand movements were of the right type and pace, and his face expressed sincerity and humility. What he said also stayed on message: his words gave a sense of strength and confidence, while at the same time displaying his faith in the intelligence of the average person.
In truth, it was all just an elaborate way of avoiding the issue. Simple smoke and mirror words used to hide his political track record. In the privacy of his own home Isaac hardly cared if others used the word “faggot.” That’s what worried him about the interview. He wasn’t sure if his words had concealed that fact well enough. He decided to let it go and trust his staff.
The events of the day – though very much crafted by Helen – were mainly the end result of years of grooming by Isaac’s father, former California Senator Locmin. After graduation his father got him a position within his management-consulting firm where Isaac made large sums of money by advising companies on how to best fire their low wage workers in times of crisis. Isaac later ran for, and became, a state representative for his hometown district.
In the Locmin mobile Isaac thought about those years; he had been filled with all the enthusiasm expected from someone whose actions were based on the decisions of another. The position of a representative didn’t enhance his life much, at least as far as he could tell. It afforded him power, which he sometimes took advantage of, but it was simply a job.
Isaac took a another sip of room temperature water; the driver pressed on the gas a little harder than usual; Helen was going over key issues to bring up at church; Isaac covered his mouth with his palm as he yawned.
The Locmin campaign was touring Isaac’s home of Solano. They planned to spend the next two days rallying up home town nostalgia for the cameras. On two occasions Isaac was to make his speech with his sleeves rolled to the middle of his forearms. Helen reminded him that “That type of body language lets people know that your not just another rich guy running for office. You’re one of them.“
The church that Isaac, Helen, and their mob of advisors were heading to was the same one Isaac had gone to as a child every Sunday for the first fourteen years of his life. His father would hold Isaac’s soft hand in his as Isaac’s attention shifted from the cold and lifeless words of the priest to the cold and lifeless images on the church walls. Dead things, they would look at him with indifferent eyes and emotionless faces. Looking at his father in this way he would see the same expression until he turned his head to look, once again, at the priest. It was an often repeated four point movement.
On his first Sunday home after graduating from Harvard Business School Isaac met his father to discuss the future. They met in Abraham’s office after an important conference call, and while looking over his notes Abraham asked, “How was the flight?”
“It was fine.”
Abraham continued looking through the papers. “We’ll meet your mother at the church in an hour.”
After a minute Abraham put aside his notes and looked across his desk at Isaac who was sitting down – patiently waiting.
“Your position hasn’t been created yet. I’ve got to talk to Daniels at HR, but it shouldn’t take any more than two weeks. In the meantime you’ll assist Donavan. He’s working with the Columbia account and you’ll watch what he’s doing. A sort of refresher course from the internship. Assist him with the number crunching, but you’re not his damn secretary. You’re free to make recommendations and comment if you think he’s wrong.
Abraham looked down at his paperwork again. After a few seconds he looked up again to see Isaac still sitting there, quietly breathing.
“You have any questions son?”
“Well…” Isaac’s eyes wandered slightly in response to Abraham’s piercing stare.
“I know we talked about me working here after graduation, but I was hoping to take a little break. The girl I told you about was planning on going to France for the summer. I never really got any time between Stanford and Harvard to relax, so I wanted to go with her. Maybe practice my French.”
Abraham’s gaze into Isaac didn’t change.
“Isaac, you’re right. We did discuss this. We discussed you working here and taking a leading role as soon as possible. We discussed this after Stanford, and we discussed this right before your recent graduation. With you here I can run for the state senate seat without worrying about the business, or my name. There is no time in that plan for you to leave the country and practice your French.” Abraham looked away from Isaac for a moment as he thought. Then looking back said, “You can get a tutor if you want.”
Isaac exhaled long and silently.
Abraham looked down at his papers. While highlighting a sentence he said, “besides, you know Jenna Mathis’s daughter likes you.”
“Yes, Helen. She’s smart. Smarter than you. You two need to spend more time together.”
“After I’m done here we’ll head to the church.”
Isaac looked down and thought about shouting, “Fuck!” Shouting the most offensive words he knew until his breath was gone, and his throat was sore from the strain that would be needed to let the old man know how he felt. Instead Isaac lifted his head back up and said, ”Okay.”