The press was there from all around the world and as she walked out onto the front porch, followed by the rest of us, they scrambled to get ready. When it seemed that they had sorted themselves out, Lucy stepped down onto the top step and said, “Hello.”
A few of them returned her greeting and laughed, not at her, with her. “I have never had a press conference before, so I have no idea what to do,” she said simply.
One of them handed her a microphone and shouted that he would share the audio with every one. She looked at him and said, “You promise you will share?” He nodded solemnly. So she took the mic. “I really don’t have anything prepared, since I am not really running and I had no idea that you all would be here tonight. So maybe you could all just ask me questions?”
They all started shouting questions at once. “I really am new at this guys, you will need to take turns. You can all ask me one question and we will start at the back, how’s that?”
They all looked surprised, then confused, then happy. A woman at the back yelled, “Why didn’t you run a campaign?”
“Because until about 10 minutes ago, I thought this was completely ridiculous. But my family has made me think about why this has gone as far as it has and that maybe we have a chance to turn this country back to its roots. ‘A government of the people, by the people and for the people,’ and if the people want someone like me, a mom who thinks like a mom and makes decisions like a mom, then I shouldn’t turn my back on them. No, I have not actively sought this position, but if I am chosen by the people I will do my best to serve them well.”
It was the most orderly press conference I had ever witnessed. They all took turns, waited patiently and a couple of them actually gave up their turn because their question had already been answered. At the end, she introduced me, the children, and Granny and thanked them for coming and we went in with no one yelling behind us. I pinched myself a couple of times to make sure that I was really awake.
On Election Day, I got up, made coffee, and went to sit on the balcony, when I heard Kevin’s voice behind me. “I wouldn’t go out there if I was you.”
“The press has multiplied since last night unless you want your picture in your pajamas with bed hair on every screen in the world, don’t open that door.”
I cautiously peeked out of the lace curtain panel that covered the french doors. They were everywhere. I sat in my ‘reading’ chair and sighed. “Is this what it will be like every day if I win? Will I have to drink coffee inside and hide in the house to get some privacy? What about the kids?” A tear leaked down my cheek.
“I really don’t know. I hope that whatever happens, that eventually they will back off. If you are open with them and give them appropriate access, they should give you a break at home. Most of these guys are professional enough to leave the kids alone, I hope. You will have to be firm and set boundaries for them. It will be okay and we will tackle it together like we have everything else,” he walked over, sat on the arm of the chair, and put his arm around me.
“Well, General. Let’s get dressed and go vote.”
Kevin was in uniform and I put on a pair of jeans, a ribbed tank top, and a chambray shirt over the tank. Kevin raised an eyebrow. “This is me. I am going to be comfortable and be myself. If I start changing now, I won’t be the person that they are voting for anymore. I surrender.”
He laughed, “Good point. Let’s go!”
It was surreal, walking out of the house to the flash of photographers. They were all yelling for a quote, so I stopped. “Can I get you to promise to let our children leave for school without having you guys take their picture?”
There were a lot of “Yes, Ma’am’s”, so I continued. “We are on our way to vote, then I will be spending the rest of the day just like any other day. I will be at home, taking care of my children. If at the end of the day, the people want me to be their governor, I will abide by their decision and I will accept the position.”
As I turned, one of them yelled, “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?”
No one had asked me that at the press conference last night. I decided to answer that one. “Before the attack, I was disgusted with both parties, if I were running, I would be running as an American and a survivor.”
Kevin laughed, “I think you got your quote folks!” We got into the golf cart and drove towards the polls.
There was a smaller group of press hanging out at the polling place. I smiled and waved, but didn’t interact with them. When I got into the voting booth, I felt ridiculous writing in my own name, but I was not impressed with either of the ‘real’ candidates, so I did. Kevin came out grinning.
We walked outside and one of the reporters yelled, “Sir, who did you vote for?”
Kevin with a stern look said, “Son, men have given their lives so that we can go into that booth alone and vote true to our own convictions.” Then he winked, grabbed my hand, and led me to the golf cart.
He took me home and then he went on to the base for the day. The reporters kept their word and left the boys alone when they went to school. Then time seemed to stop, the day drug on and on. The girls were fussy, they were both teething. After lunch, the girls went down for a nap, and Granny and I sat and sipped coffee. “Don’t you think you need to write a speech or something for tonight? Maybe two, in case you lose,” Granny said, raising an eyebrow.
“Crap, I hadn’t even thought of that. I guess I have work to do now! Maybe it will make this endless day move more quickly,” I started to walk out of the room when I heard a baby crying on the monitor.
“Go write your speech, Madame Governor, I’ll take care of the girls,” Granny said with a grin.
I stuck my tongue out at her and went to write both speeches. The one for if I lost was very easy, I was never even running. The acceptance speech was much harder. I managed to kill two hours writing, then the boys came home. They were so excited. They had an election at school and I had won by a landslide, apparently.
I read both the speeches to them while they ate their snack and did their homework. They liked them both, but they had a few good suggestions to make them better. The afternoon drug on and finally Kevin came home, much earlier than normal. So we all just hung around and waited.
I didn’t think that seven would ever come, but finally, it did and the polls closed. Then we waited for the results. It was a very long night, I couldn’t imagine how it would be if I had actually wanted to win.
Finally, they called the race at 11:30. I was now the governor of the great state of South Carolina. I grabbed speech number two and followed by my family, minus the `girls, I went out on my front porch to make my first speech as governor. The press had taken the liberty of setting up a podium for me and I allowed it to hold me upright as I delivered my acceptance speech. It was not only the press on our front lawn, several hundred people were there as well.
“I did not seek this position. I thought of the whole thing as a sick joke at first. I could not fathom why anyone wanted me to be the governor. My family, over the past few weeks, has made me see why the people, the survivors of this colony, wanted me instead of a ‘real’ politician. The politicians seemed to want to restore what we had before, get right back to ‘business as usual’. That is not what the rest of us want. We want to learn from the mistakes that we have made in the past and not repeat them. We want to build our lives out of the rubble of what was once the United States of America, not just like they were before but better than they were before. We want safe food and water. We want our kids to get an excellent education not just an okay one. As a mom, those are my priorities, not grabbing as much power and money as I can.
“I want our colony to be as self-sufficient as possible. We need to be able to grow our own food and supply our own power and produce most of what we use right here. We are at a crossroads, we can make our country even better than it ever was before, or we can restore it to the broken place that it had become before the attacks. I choose to start over and become what our founders intended us to be. We will make mistakes and we must be willing to admit it when we do and correct our errors, that is how we will build something great. I am going to make mistakes, but I promise you that I will never try to hide them from you, but I will always strive to do my best and to learn from them when I fail.
“Thank you so much for your belief in me. It is my hope that we will create something great out of the ashes of our country, together. God Bless you, God Bless the Great State of South Carolina and God Bless the United States of America!”
When my speech was over, I heard the ‘pop’ of a cork behind me. Kevin was ready to celebrate. I wasn’t sure if I was happy or sad, it just didn’t seem real.
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