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Red, White, Blue
In a room with four white walls lives a man known as The Editor. He likes to call himself Gabriel after the archangel; he finds similarities in their lifestyles and professions. In a world where everything can change in a heartbeat, having the solidity of a name is comforting.
The date is August 21st, 2027. There is exactly one hour left before the first evening broadcast. Ever since he took this job decades ago, Gabriel has judged his time by when the next television program airs or when the next newspaper edition is published. Right now the world outside is preparing for the presidential elections; the effort he took in concentrating all his news stations and newspapers to promote the candidates since the beginning of the summer has paid off. Although it was a tight race this year, Gabriel knows that the Democrats will pull off another win. The current president sent him a memo to ensure that all news projected will be in the blue candidate’s favor, and Gabriel has no choice but to obey.
Scribbling instructions to be sent down to The Board of Directors and The Journalist Team about the day’s broadcasts, Gabriel drops the note down a chute before focusing on the pile of letters on his cluttered desk. The people are complaining again. With a sigh Gabriel reads the first letter.
“To The Editor:
I noticed that last week’s broadcast devoted a large amount of time to Mr. Kellan, the Democrat candidate. That’s incredibly unfair to the Republicans, who have worked just as hard this year to pass policies for the people! I cannot believe that the media would have the nerve to-”
Gabriel stops reading, knowing that it will follow the same pattern as all the other red letters. The Republicans are getting increasingly unhappy with media activity. Looking for a letter that has more of a blue tinge, he rips it open and a packet of papers falls out.
“Dear Mr. Editor:
Don’t you think you should be giving more airtime to Candidate Kellan, who has been suffering from lack of exposure to the public? The Republicans already have the advantage with majority seats in Congress, so I think it would be to Candidate Kellan’s benefit if more interviews were scheduled-”
He spares a glance at the slowly creeping blue color that is flooding his white walls and wonders if there isn’t enough blue material being spread out there. No, he decides, there might be a little too much for his taste. It’s upsetting the balance of color.
“Alexander? I need you to do me a favor; don’t let the President know. Release a little more red stories this week, alright? My walls are too blue,” Gabriel says into the speaker. When he gets confirmation from his Head Director, Gabriel wonders whether it would be a lot easier if he could just experience the outside world himself, getting to see with his own eyes where there is a lack of understanding in the public about an issue. As The Editor, he might control the flow of information, but he is not God. He can not totally discern if his news is effective in providing information. Nowadays all he has going for him was his instinct, letters from the public, instructions from the government, and the color of his walls.
“I must be crazy to keep this job,” Gabriel mutters, grabbing a stack of articles that need to be edited. As he concentrates on his work, the five o’clock news suddenly pops up on his monitor. He glances at the clock to see that it only reads 4:45.
“Alexander, the news is early today.” Gabriel comments into his speaker. It doesn’t make a difference to him, but the President likes to target the middle class, and most of the middle class tune in to the five o’clock broadcast after they return home from work. His pollsters have acquired substantial evidence that this is true.
“An interesting video clip was sent in about twenty minutes ago. It’s been passed by the rest of the board, but I need your final approval to air it in tonight’s broadcast.” Alexander’s crackly voice replies through the intercom.
“The Pledge of Allegiance, sir.”
“Play it. I don’t know if there will be enough time to add another segment. The President will not be pleased.” Gabriel says.
As the United States national anthem resonates through the white and blue room and a picture of protesters in the streets fills his monitor, Gabriel sighs. The President will definitely not like it if something as silly as a protest about the banning of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools interrupts his key targeting time for middle class voters.
“Alexander? Scrap it. It’s not important.” Gabriel says, returning to his attention to the articles. His mind wanders to the well-known phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance: “under God, with liberty and justice for all”. As his pen moves to cross off an offending sentence, Gabriel thinks that the human race is foolish for wanting liberty.
“After all, it’s just some concept made by loony old men in the end.” he says to himself.