The Peoples Voice
I've heard a lot of different stories here in the slammer. I spend most of my time looking through the bars counting away the days till the door opens for good. A lot of people think of me as a counselor on the cell block. I've been told I'm a good listener. I've heard a lot of stories during my eight years here, but theres one story I think about everyday. Maybe the best story I've heard in my whole life. It's because of this story I want to get out and be a better person. This story changed my life, it changed a lot of peoples lives. It all started a few years ago when I met a man who told me his story. I'ved listened to a lot of different stories, but this story I wanted to hear again and again.
Bill Daniels was about as down to earth of a person as anyone could ever meet. He woke up and drove to work every morning and went through his routine. He swiped his badge in the morning said hello to Larry and Dave the two security guards in the front lobby of Master Dynamic Solutions where he worked. He greeted Sarah at the coffee pot every morning as he made his coffee, three sugars and two creams. She told him every morning that those three sugars and two creams were going to eventually catch up with him the older he got. He smiled and chuckled shaking his head as he walked to his office. Sharon his sectary came in with a stack of folders and placed them on the corner of his desk everyday. He sat in his chair listening to voice mails sipping his coffee every morning.
One day he received a phone call from Tell Star one of their bigger more important customer who purchased large orders of product on a regular basis. Apparently one of Master Dynamic's representatives working on site at Tell Star had a background issue they were very concerned about. Toby Nab a new employee and recent college graduate Master Dynamic brought on board through an internship had a sex offense. Bill was shocked and immediately began damage control with Tell Star. He reassigned a new on site representative and began doing a further check on Toby's background.
Bill called Toby into the office and had his background check there to discuss with him. Toby came in unaware of what had happened. He thought it was a routine switch and they had a new assignment for him. When Bill began to explain what had happened Toby covered his face with his hand and shook his head.
"Mr. Daniels I don't know what to do about this? I don't want this ruining my life. It wasn't fair. I was 18 and my girlfriend in high school was a year and half younger than me. We dated for three year. Her parents never liked me they didn't think I was good enough for her daughter because my dad worked in a factory. We had sex and they charged me for having sex with my girlfriend. The court wouldn't listen to me or her. All they cared about was that we broke their law and I was the one to get in trouble for it. But that is in the past and we are married. We have a kid together he turns one next month. His name is Adam and I love him and I love her. All I want is to provide for them."
Bill wasn't sure what to say, but he couldn't see how the company could hold this against him. He questioned Toby for a while to see if his story changed or if he would crack under pressure, but he did not.
"Ok Toby let me do some checking into this and I'll discuss itwith Tom Murray my boss. If everything you said checks out I'm sure it won't be a problem. It's just a technicality, ok."
After work Bill went home sat down in his recliner and poured himself a drink. He turned on the television and listened to the news. It was the same thing he heard the night before. They talked about the economy and how Wallstreet was responsible for selling bad loans, bad stocks, bad everything. He looked down at his glass of ice and whiskey knowing his company didn't help the market any when they bought out their competitors and laid off thousands of employees.
"Its dog eat dog you can't feel bad about doing your job Bill."
He finished his drink and walked into his bedroom closet grabbing clothes for the next day. On the floor of his closet was a box full of awards and plaques for being an exceptional manager. He reached down and picked up one that said most effiecent department. He remembered what he did to get that one. He laid off 20 people and shut down a whole department. He tried to reposition the employees, but corporate fought him on it and won.
The next morning Tom got back to Bill about the Toby situation. The company policy didn't take in consideration for grey areas in these types of situation.
"Bill I wish I could do something, but the rules on this sort of thing don't leave much wiggle room even for someone like Toby. I'm afraid we're going to have to let him go. If he gets a judge to remove it from his record because of the circumstances maybe I can get him hired again, but no promises. I know how much you like this kid I'm sorry Bill."
Bill wasn't happy with the outcome of events, but there was nothing he could do and he tried to put it out f his mind. He sorted through the mail Sarah had put on his desk. The first letter he noticed was from the county court. When he opened the letter he found that a business deal he was part of a year ago was being investigated. He knew exactly what they were investigating and felt the pit in his stomach grow. Master Dynamic Solutions had made some business deals that ensured the growth of their company. Certain aspects about the the deal weren't exactly legal. A few politicians and local officials were pursuaded to look the other way. A lot of money changed hands making that deal and Bill was a delievery man exchanging packages and envolopes. He didnt really know what the details where, but he knew what they were doing. Now it looked like hemight be the fall guy. He knew the people involved were too important to take the rap and would be looking for someone to blame. Bill opened his drawer and pulled out a bottle of Crown Royal. He threw the letter on his desk and poured a drink. He dialed a number and waited as it rang. Someone on the other end picked up and Bill said
"It's me, did you hear?"
"Yes its coming down now. We are evaluating the situation and putting damage control together now." The voice said.
"I understand I'll wait to hear from you." Bill answered.
Bill continued to drink his glass of whiskey and starring out the window he said "and it all comes crashing down."
Sarah knocked on the door and brought in a list of people who would be at the excecutive meeting later that night. The meeting was really a pay off party. The right people would be there and the right people would get a pay off. It was Bills job to know who would be there and what they needed to make things go smoothly. He thanked Sarah and told her he would be leaving the office a little early.
Bill pulled up to the club house and made his way inside. The place was filled with suits ranging from the local mayors to the states senators.. He wondered how many people knew about the investigation. It didn't matter no one was innocent here they only pretended to be .Mostly politicians the company made donations to and preferred client that where getting kick backs for some illegal favor they provided. The whole thing was a show. It was their celebration to themselves for pulling off the great American scandal. If they all cooperate together to hide what the last guy did and help the next get away with a little illegal activity here and there they would all make out like fat cats.
The mayors paved the way by easing restrictions and bending local laws. The big politicians didn't want to know what was going on, but they gave them their public support to drum up more business helping them in the eyes of the public. They could do no wrong. All they had to do was cut a few checks donating to the American Cancer Society and Red Cross and they looked like heroes. Bill knew the whole operation inside and out along with a hundred other people. When it was time to replace one of these guys they got the golden parachute to ensure nothing was said. It was a fraternity of brothers helping brothers. No one here cared about the American dream, they wanted it all for themselves.
The company party was winding down and Bill had decided to get a breath of fresh air. He walked outsideand noticed Senator Banks smoking a cigar by an oak tree. He raised his glass and took a drink rattling his ice as he lowered it. Bill was a seasoned drinker and didn't get loaded very often, but tonight he felt it was the right occasion to do so. He raised his glass and said
"Well at least there is something good about this night."
The senator puffed on his cigar as he looked at Bill raise his glass to the stars. The Senator asked if he was having a rough night. Bill looked at him and smiled and boldly said
"You know I been doing these sort of things for a long time and I guess I reached the point no matter how many bonuses I make or how many awards I get I still think about who I work for and what we are really doing? You ever think that?"
The Senator shook his head and pointed out to the woods.
"Right there is what I think aboutt the end of the day. I can only look around me and see where I stand. Right now I am thinking of going camping with my son next month. He's been working a lot and we don't get to spend much time together. He's a lawyer in New York helping right some new state legislation that will help balance the states budget. I remember those days as a young man trying to make a difference. Now I spend most of my time arguing my point with the opposite side. Then we end up compromising on something neither of really wants."
Bill laughed and shook his head and agreed with what the Senator said.
The Senator and Bill shared a bottle of Crown Royals over two glasses of ice and cigars. The Senator gave Bill his personal number and invited him over to his house. Bill graciously accepted as he warned him he voted for the other guy. As the Senator walked away Bill watched him and looked down at his hand that held the Senators phone number. The thought of everything that happened recently raced in his head. He wondered what he was doing smooshing with the Senator. He was one of those guy's would throw him under the bus in a heartbeat. It was very easy to be on the wrong side of the line. Good cigars, good whiskey and knowing the right people in life; was that such a terrible thing he wondered. Maybe thats where it all starts, telling yourself why shouldn't I. I can't help everyone I might as well help myself. It doesn't take long before it becomes second nature to turn your back on the voices of people who need your help. But the business of helping people isn't profitable one.
All these thoughts raced over and over in his head. What was happening to him he wondered. Was it the possibility of going down for doing business on the wrong side of the line or was it that he didn't want to turn away from from facing the whole truth. Bill knew he had only been dealing with a lot of half truths for a long time. He sat in his car listening to the motor run "What are you doing Bill?" He asked himself as he starred in the rearview mirror. He took a deep breath and put the car in gear and drove home.
Monday morning was a little different than most. Bill didn't make his coffee or greet anyone as he walked to his office. He closed his door and locked it. He sat in his chair and logged on his computer. Bill made a number of bank transactions till his account balance was $0. He took a deep breath through his nose and leaned back in his chair. He turned to look out his window and saw a beautiful sunrise. Bill smiled and enjoyed the view for a few moments before he grabbed a stack of packages addressed and ready to mail. As Bill walked past his sectary she said good morning and asked where he was headed. Bill replied he was making a trip to the post office. Sharon told him she would be glad to take care of it for him, but he said it ok. He wanted to make a special stop while he was out and told her to take care of herself. She looked at him a little odd, but didn't say anything she just watched him smile at her and walk out.
He didn't return to work that day or answer his phone even though it rang continuously. Later as the sun was setting he made a special stop at his new friends house Senator Banks. The Senator was happy to see him and invited him in for a moment before he left to meet a group of politicians at the golf course. Bill made some small talk about his golf game and listened to the Senator talk about his slice. Bill drank a glass of whiskey the Senator had poured for him in one gulp. The Senator smiled and said.
"One of those days huh? Lol."
Bill asked for another if he didn't mind. The Senator hesitated for a moment, but didn't want to be rude so he poured another for Bill. Once again he finished the glass off in one drink. Now the Senator was looking oddly asking if everything was ok. Bill said he was just fine. It was him he was concerned about. The Senator looked around searching for a reason to leave the room, but Bill had already started talking to him. He heard Bill talking, but wasn't listening. Bill was talking about a wide range of subjects from the war to the economy. The Senator thought he was soundinga little bit crazy.Bill was talking specifically about young men and women killed in the war. Then he switched from the war to talking about insurance companies denying people coverage who were dying.
"It seems so very hopeless sometimes doesn't it? I mean how can we get people to change? How can we get people to listen, so that they know it's within our power to help each other? How can we get people to do the right thing Senator? Do you know the golden rule?"
As he was asking the Senator these questions Bill pulled out a .357 from his jacket and watched the Senator frantically search for a way out.
"Oh don't get to excited Senator. Neither of use is going anywhere."Bill said
"Why, why are you doing this?" Senator Banks asked
"Why? Because I want people to listen that's why. I want them to stop being under the systems control. I want them to stop working against each other and start helping one another. But as it stands right now Mr. Senator they lack the interest to listen. So I will just have to make listening interesting." Bill said
"So you're going to kill me to get people to listen? They won't listen. They will think you're crazy. Stop and think about what you are doing. If you want people to listen you should talk to m. I man that can make things happen. I work for the people." Senator Banks said
"Oh you're a man that's going to make things happen alright! People will listen, Senator because I'm not the radical idiot that's doing this because mommy and daddy didn't treat me right or because some kids bullied me in school. I'm doing this to wake people up and to lift the veil of deceit you and everyone else in the system has conditioned this nation to accept. Their daily lives are to serve you and the rich. Once there were kings that ruled, but there was a problem with that. There was only one king. Youand your friendsfigured out a better system. Instead of one king now we have hundreds of kings. Anyone who has enough influence or money to make the system work for them.You keep us fighting each other with petty issues, the right to work, smoking bans, abortion, gun control and all the other issues you and your constituents make up to keep our attention of the real issues in life. Reality! The land of the free and home of the brave Senator, but who is really free and who is really brave, am I free? I don't think I am, but I am brave. Brave enough to kill you on national television and before I do that I'm going to have a talk with my fellow American about the predicament we're in and who's fault it really is."
The Senator started to cry as Bill made his way to the camera recording. Bill explained he was broadcasting online so people would know why he was doing this.
"Please don't cry Senator I'm not a fan of crocodile tears. It's about time to get this show on the road senator. Let's start with our interview. Are you comfortable? I can loosen those a little bit if they are too tight? No your ok good lets get started. Senator I am going to ask you some questions and everyone is going to be listening to your answers so if I were you I would do your best. Ok let get started. Senator Banks, does every American have the right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness?"
The Senator sat in his chair crying ignoring the question. Bill repeated the question and reminded him his family and friend and most importantly the voters would be watching. He stopped crying and raised his head sniffling he answered the question.
"Yes of course they do." Senator Banks said
"Good I'm glad we agree about that. Do you think part of happiness and liberty in every man and woman's life is reality? Do you think we kid ourselves about reality as a nation? Do you think some of the laws we make don't consider the reality of our situation? Has any republican or democrat ever proposed a reality bill. A bill that would insure laws do not hurt the people of this great nation needlessly? Bill said
The Senator listened he composed himself and attempt to answer the question.
"No, no such bill has ever been proposed to my knowledge, but I would know how such a bill could be proposed. There are so many variables in peoples life that some times people get hurt by the laws we make to protect them. Its just an inevitable fact.'
Bill listened respectfully and turned to the camera.
"To those watching every judge, lawyer and politician has their own set of rules and they are much different than the one they have for us and that is the reality of the situation. Their rules have a dollar sign attached to them. Politicians make laws so that it is easier to get in your pocket books. They distract you from the truth by championing issues of abortion and gun control. Because every good Christian believes in life and that is enough to get someone's voted in office. I don't have anything against Christians, but remember you're basically putting a roman in office and once they are there they don't care about your quality of life. Do you really think abortion is a big enough issue to spend million and millions of dollars on? When all we really need to do is learn how to get along. If we would stop being divided by democrats and republicans we could begin to be a community and take care of ourselves, help each other. Maybe if you helped your next door neighbor that little girl wouldn't go get an abortion. Maybe if you helped a total stranger get a job or find a babysitter for her kids we would be a better community.
That's the only thing that will ever make this country better. The problem with everyone watching and myself included, is that the system has made us all individuals. Individuals who don't help anyone who are different than them because we don't like people who are different than us. That is reality. I propose the people of this country take it back from the politicians. You need to get on the same page and stop arguing about smoking in public places, stop arguing about unions and non unions. We all belong to a union it's called the United States of America."
The Senator interrupted boldly.
"The truth is Bill we don't know how? And yes the laws are abused to make money. Yes there are corrupt politicians who do the work of big business, but that is the nature of people. We aren't all good, but we aren't all bad either and sometimes we are a little of both. That probably is the systems fault. How do we fix it? Where do we start Bill? Do you know?"
"Yeah I do. Stop the authorities in this country form working for businesses and money. I watch the news every day and see abuse of authority. The government can't govern themselves. They fight each other for power. I watch the states legalize pot and business start up selling medical marijuana shops. You know what happens to them? The DEA raids their business. Breaking their windows, stealing their inventory while the local police sit by and watch. Those people are the ones who dont care aboutAmerica. They enjoy having power to cause discontent. They are mad the people voted tolegalize it, they are mad the people took some of their power away. "
Bill turned and looked at the camera and said
"Those men who come into your home and businesses thatcause currouptiondeserve the worst. They are not patriots they are demestic terrorists and you know what this country does to terrorists. If you don;t make them stop they will never quit. People stand up to them and if they want to challenge you hurt them till they stop. They are corrupt."
"Those are ridiculous acts by the authorities. It's an abuse of their power, but how can we stop such isolated act. There are major issues in this country that need to be dealt with Bill." Senator Banks said
Bill smiled and nodded his head as he looked at the camera.
"Yes they are Senator you are right I agree with you. We start by facing reality. The law cannot fix every problem. The government needs to govern on the big issue's and keep this country running, but the problem is the government is we the people senator. But we the people don't have a voice. We have the internet now and everyone in this country can voice their opinion on face book, but we cant change a damn thing. How about you devise a plan that every American be able to securely and safely log on to a government site and cast a one third percentage vote on each issues debated in congress and the senate. The congress could still have final say, but in close vote the peoples vote would be the deciding factor. How about that Mr. Senator? Can you promise me if you would that happen if I let you live today? Bill asked
"No Bill I can't. I will say that is one of the finest ideas I have ever heard though. If I were to be alive tomorrow I would begin on a proposal, and to be honest I would like your help."
"Sorry Senator I don't plan on going to jail. I wanted this message to have a major impact on people so that they understood where things are headed in society if they don't make change now"
The Senator bravely looked at the camera knowing these were his last moment.
"I understand Bill. Before you kill me let me look into the camera and say to my fellow representatives I understand what Bill is saying. I believe he is right no matter how misguide his action are today they maybe what saves this country. I wont be apart of after today, but I cast my vote now to approve Bills law. Let the people have a voice."
Then Bill loosened his grip on the .357 in his hand. He stared at the Senator as the senator stared at him. He turned to the camera and said.
"I will pray that this day changes the course of the country's future and I would like to see it. Mr. Senator you have inspired me. I will help you in anyway I can even from jail."
Bill cut the Senators ties and opened the gun allowing the two bullets to slide out falling into his hand. He reached out his hand to the Senator giving him the bullets and the Senator took them and shook his hand. The door burst open and the swat team who was watching the live feed subdued Bill on the floor in hand cuffs.
Bill went to prison for 5 years. He cut a deal with the government if he helped Senator Banks with the Peoples Voice bill he would be held in minimum security and be given a reduced sentence. Senator Banks proposed and passed the Peoples Voice bill, so that every person of voting age would be able to cast a vote on all issues online through a secure government website that required a video feed of the person voting. Senator Banks later went on to become President of the United States for two terms and he often called Bill for advice.