***Author’s note: This is an unedited sneak peek into 2050: Psycho Island. Please excuse the block formatting and errors.
Chapter 4: Naomi Sets the Stage
The afternoon sun glowed orange in the background. Naomi Sutton’s rented and autonomous limousine drove adjacent to The Manhattan Sea Wall. The massive concrete dike was constructed to stop the flooding that plagued the city in the 2030s.
“It’s a mistake to announce now,” Vernon said.
“I would think this would be a perfect opportunity,” Alan replied.
“We discussed it, but ultimately we decided that there’s too much noise to drown us out. Naomi?”
Naomi turned from the tinted window to her chief of staff. “I agree, but we can’t wait too long. Money’s an issue.”
“How much money do you need to run a competitive presidential campaign?” Alan asked.
“Competitive? Shit, we’re running to win,” Vernon said.
Naomi glanced at Vernon; he winked back at her. Vernon wore a tailored black suit. He was always well appointed. Manicured beard. Fresh fade. Built. Beautiful caramel skin.
“Of course,” Alan replied.
Naomi turned her gaze from Vernon to her husband. “We need a lot more than we have.”
“If anyone can do it, it’s you.” Alan grasped her hand and squeezed. “I’m so proud of you,” Alan said, referring to her reelection to the House of Representatives.
“We still have a long way to go to reach the promised land.”
“It’s good to stop and smell the roses.”
“I’d rather keep my eye on the prize.”
“Then I’ll keep my eye on you.” Alan squeezed her hand again then looked at Vernon. “When do you think Corrinne will announce?”
“Within the next week or so would be my guess,” Vernon replied.
“She’s the woman to beat, right?”
“My money’s on Naomi.”
Alan smiled. “Mine too, but my dad’s not the CEO of Next Generation Robotics.”
Vernon chuckled. “She does have that robot money. But she doesn’t have the right ideas. Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
Vernon nodded to Alan. “Damn straight.”
They often bantered like friendly rivals. People who didn’t know them thought Vernon was Naomi’s husband and Alan was the chief of staff. Even in 2050, with racism relegated to the dark corners of society, people were still surprised she married a white man.
“It all depends on whether or not the party’s ready for socialism,” Naomi said.
“Democratic socialism,” Alan said with a grin.
“Sixteen new democratic socialists were elected in the mid-terms,” Vernon said. “We’re definitely gaining ground.”
Two hours later, Naomi stood on stage at the convention center. A banner hung behind her that read, Naomi Sutton Congress New York 12th District. The audience was packed with voters and supporters enjoying the collective victory. Naomi waited for the cheering to dissipate.
“Thank you so much for coming tonight. And thank you for trusting me to represent your interests. When I first started in congress, I thought if I worked hard and proposed good policies, I could make a difference. Now that I’m on my fourth term, my outlook has changed. I know the ins and outs of the D.C. swamp. I’ve seen the corruption of congresspeople, senators, and even presidents. I’ve seen corporate lobbyists buying and selling politicians, the same politicians that claim to represent the people.
“We no longer have democracy in this country. We have a fascist system that benefits the wealthy and the powerful.” Naomi paused for effect. “I have to say capitalism has been quite successful.”
The audience went quiet, followed by hushed whispering.
“You heard me right,” Naomi said. “Capitalism has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.”
Hissing and a few boos erupted from the audience.
Naomi waited for the crowd to quiet. “You’re probably thinking, that’s not true Naomi. It is true. The goal of capitalism is to take from the many and give to the few, to concentrate money and power to the top of the pyramid. The goal of capitalism is for powerful companies and individuals to take as much of the pie as possible. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. By my estimation, that’s exactly what’s happened. The largest companies grow larger. The wealthiest men grow wealthier. And they do this at the expense of everyone else. I, for one, am tired of watching the middle class being destroyed, jobs being outsourced to robots, and our environment being polluted. We live here too.”
The crowd cheered. Naomi smiled at her constituents, but motioned with her hands to quiet the crowd again. “I will continue to fight for you, but I can’t do it alone. I need you to fight for what’s fair and just and equitable. I need you to support, not just my campaign, but other democratic socialists as well. Together, we can take back our country.”