Madame President Chapter One

Madame President Chapter One
Election Night
GBNC Newsroom
New York City, New York

On any other election night, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass who won the presidency. As a news anchor, presidential election nights always feel like a combination of the Super Bowl and the Oscars, mixed with a healthy serving of a reality television competition. I’ve seen too many elections, interviewed too many candidates, and witnessed enough meltdowns and breakups to last a dozen lifetimes. The truth is, when it’s all said and done, nothing really changes.

Those running for office will never admit as much, though, at least not anywhere they might be overheard. Oh no, because they want you to believe they’re going to fight for you. But let’s not kid ourselves, we all know what the candidates are really fighting for - more money to line their pockets.

One might expect my pessimism is a result of years spent searching for the next big story and the determination needed to bring it to the public’s attention, only to be asked, “What's next?” But I know better. My outlook comes from realizing that even though I’ve spent over ten years working my way up the news broadcasting ladder, from a print journalist to one of the country’s most recognized news anchors, it’s not enough. There is no contentment to be found anywhere. When you place everything on one thing, be that a politician, your job, anything, the only certainty is the crushing disappointment sure to follow. Because everything looks better in your mind than it will in your reality.

“Navin,” Gabe Day, my good friend and co-anchor at Global Broadcast News Corporation, calls from the desk we’ll be sharing for the night. “What the hell? How long does it take to get coffee?”

I make my way toward the spot we’ll be broadcasting from for the next few hours, noting in one of the room’s many monitors that a junior anchor is currently on air talking to one of our reporters on-site in Florida. Their polls closed almost an hour and a half ago, and we’re still waiting for results to come in.

I place Gabe’s mug in front of him. “Some asshole didn’t make a new pot after drinking all of the old one.”
He mutters something under his breath while taking a sip, but I can’t make out what. I take my seat beside him, ready, at least in appearance, for the night to come. I can’t stop from taking a long look at the image of the presidential candidates we have up alongside the number of electoral votes each has secured.

"I think she’s going to pull it off,” Gabe says.

I don't have to ask who he’s talking about or what she’s going to pull off. I try to keep my voice as neutral as possible with my reply. “More than likely.”

“If you’d told me eighteen months ago we’d be here tonight discussing a three person presidential race, I’d have laughed my ass off.”

Everyone would have. Eighteen months ago, I remember stating our options for President were so bad I was going to write in my pizza delivery boy because he could at least make change, a math skill I wasn’t sure either party’s frontrunner had mastered.

Our choices at the time were dreadful. The Republican candidate was the current Vice President, a man so old, the joke was he served under Washington. Not that the Democrats did any better. Their choice was a former Grammy winning singer and songwriter who promised all the right things, but had no idea how to pay for any of them. Either way, we were screwed.

But then, in steps Anna Elizabeth Fitzpatrick. A candidate for everyone, and a candidate everyone can stand behind. She’s independent and answers to no one except those who elect her. Or at least that’s what her campaign wants you to believe.

During her speech declaring her bid for the presidency, she spoke of the reasons why she decided to run. “It’s time to end labels. To end us versus them. It’s time to put a stop to the old way. It’s time to get serious and to say we’ve had enough parties. It’s time to get to work.”

From then on, It’s Time was the battlecry of the Fitzpatrick campaign.

While I admire her determination and want to believe that she can do it, I don’t see how she’s going to make real change when people with more experience have tried the same and failed.

The rest of the country is caught up in how either party could have overlooked the absolute perfection that is Anna Fitzpatrick and her rise from obscurity to the frontrunner for the highest office in the nation. Not me. I sit back and wonder why, out of all the people in the world, she had to be the one who decided to do something to save it?

Because Anna Fitzpatrick is the one thing I know of that is better in reality than fantasy. Unfortunately, my actions years ago killed any chance of my reality including her.