WHO SAYS GOD DOESN’T have a sense of humor and an appreciation of irony? Why else would She have arranged for the Saturday before Election Day 2020 to be Halloween? Of all elections, why this one?
It was a warm, sunny day in Costa Mesa, California. The candidate had returned home for one final opportunity to share her vision for Amberica in a place she knew would get it. She hoped and prayed it wasn’t the only such place out of the hundreds she’d visited over the past sixteen months.
The venue for her appearance had been changed at the last minute when the facilities supervisor had called to notify her campaign manager that there’d been a terrible mixup in the scheduling. The indoor arena had already been booked, and no, they could not change it. So sorry. The campaign manager ranted and raved but with no results except to become increasingly upset.
“Have you tried the Pacific Amphitheatre?” the woman on the other end of the line had asked. “They may be able to accommodate you.”
“How many will it seat?” the fuming manager asked.
“Oh, supposedly around eight thousand, but you might get them to open up the hillside, in which case you’re probably talking about something like eighteen thousand.”
“But we’re expecting closer to thirty thousand.”
“Yeah, well, you might ask some of them to stay home,” the woman had replied, then hung up.
So, there we were on Halloween afternoon with a still irate campaign manager, a candidate who was far calmer than she had any right to be, and me sweating through my shirt and jacket, wishing I had a drink to fortify my nerves. And suddenly, it was time to go on. Our little clan of family and supporters came together for one last group hug, then we walked on stage to be greeted by an over capacity crowd who cheered uproariously and waved their banners and signs in the air.
As their candidate walked out, the cheering turned into laughter as they recognized that she was dressed in a deep purple witch’s outfit, complete with pointed hat, and absolutely no make-up of any kind. The order had gone out from the Secret Service that masks of any type were banned, including any facial makeup.
The candidate stood before the adoring crowd of well wishers, waving and smiling for several minutes as the cheering continued. Finally, the crowd settled down enough for her to speak.
“I’ve been called many things during this campaign, including a witch and a bitch, so I figured it was time for me to embrace them both.”
The crowd roared and cheered for another few minutes. And that’s when it happened. One lone crack. I watched the candidate stumble back, as if in slow motion, momentarily losing her balance. I saw her campaign manager, dressed in one of her husband’s football jerseys with his number 31 on the front and back, step in front to catch her, then heard two more rifle cracks ring out. I saw two crimson circles, one in the center of the 3 and the second a few inches to its right, blossom on this lovely lady’s body as both women fell into a heap of humanity. Several people screamed and I heard a man’s voice yell, “The candidate has been shot!”, and then realized it was me yelling. Pandemonium broke out as people realized what had happened and they began to run, some towards the stage, many more away.
I remember that day as clearly as though it were yesterday, not years ago, for I stood on that platform. While I’ve done many things in my life of which I am not proud, I can say I stood my ground on that fateful day that changed the course of history for this country of Amberica forever. I even played a small role in helping the authorities locate the shooter by pointing to the glint of sunlight from the scope of the rifle. This is my account of everything that led up to that day when it looked like, for one excruciating moment, fear and hate had won over love.
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