Face-Off with the Enemy (Part 1)
Bryan was late coming to the event and missed the preliminaries and intro. He squeezed through a side door, showing his press pass to the guy at the turnstile and also the two ushers at the doors of the “Crystal Ballroom” where the event was being held. The room was about 3/4 full and Bryan’s first thought was That’s notable, even Murphy’s so-called vast conservative base seems to be lacking. She’s so full of it she’s been marginalized.
He sidled along the back row and where some of his fellow cronies were clustered. One of them saw Bryan and motioned him over to an empty seat beside him.
“Hey Sim! Have I missed much?” Hodges asked in a half whisper like a kid coming late into the classroom. His scrawny cohort spoke in a normal, quite audible voice. Not caring a bit if it was impolite. “Naw, dude, she’s only been up there for a minute or two. Corporate propaganda, you know, the usual bullshit. ”
A few rows ahead of them, a stocky red-faced man with long sideburns and a balding pate turned around in his seat. His eyes skewered Bryan.
In a menacing whisper, he said, ”Listen, punks,” he looked them over, “I don’t know how you got yourselves in here, but I paid to get in. Shut yer fucking bung holes or get the hell outta here!” As he was pressing a massive forearm against the seat back, Bryan noted the USMC insignia tattooed in blue and some letters inked in black he couldn’t make out.
Both young men raised their hands in mock surrender. Confrontation with some redneck threatening violence reminded them they were like sheep in the lion’s den and could indeed get booted out in a heartbeat–or worse. The guy lowered his head, like a bull, and shot both Ryan and Sim a parting look of menace and then turned back to face the stage.
“Sheesh, what an asshole,” Sim muttered. Bryan hoped to hell the guy in front didn’t hear. He gave a “cut” sign to Sim for him to stuff it and then turned this attention to the most visible jumbotron where the auburn-headed speaker was issuing a challenge:
“Anyone of you who believe this is about saving the planet and promoting social justice are just plain deluded.” She paused to survey the faces of the attendees. “Yes, you’re wrong! In fact, you’re being used by those who would deign to bring you under their heel.” Another pause as she took a sip of water. “Y’know, I started out as a liberal. Believe me, I’ve traveled the world, I’ve been down that road myself until I finally, thank God, I finally woke up.”
“I would ask you this. Those of you who are involved in any of these green movements. Have you ever wondered or thought to research who exactly is putting money behind your various movements?” There were a few howls of protest and a number of epithets like “slut”, “liar”, and “murderer” thrown her way. She smiled like an indulging parent facing down a child having a tantrum.
“Oh, I know, you’ll say that I have friends.” She gave the two-handed air quote sign when mentioning friends. “These being those evil nefarious corporations who care only about their profit margins and are hellbent on raping the planet no matter what. Those greedy capitalistic parasites, right? And you’ll never believe that I’m supported mainly by individual, private donations and that my staff and I constantly work very long and very hard hours to make our films and present our views.”
“Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say you have friends too, friends in high places, in the dark recesses of politics and finance, who are working behind the scenes to gain influence and power–especially, especially in countries where freedom reigns like this beautiful, bountiful, gracious nation my husband and I now call home–the United States of America!”
She said this with fervor and the audience exploded with applause and shouts of “USA! USA!”
“So, I sincerely urge you with the green crowd. You who claim an open mind but go to great lengths to ban me from presenting. Who’d rather just see me shut up and go away.”
“That’s right, bitch!” Some woman screeched from a back corner.
Murphy smiled and nodded as if her point was just taken and proven on the spot. “Just hear me out. That’s all I’m asking.”
NEXT- Face-Off with the Enemy Continues