This informative piece by bestselling author, Ethan Cross is just the impetus I needed to further develop a villain for my current literary project THE ENVIRONMENTAL WARS: FOSSILS IN THE AIR. I’m toying with the idea of resurrecting a villain I created for my first unpublished Novella TO DO THE RIGHT THING. In that piece the antagonist’s name was Gregory Reed. His name reduced to first name initial and last name works out to G.Reed, this is after all a novel about environmental and social justice.
“The protagonist of the story is the main character, while the antagonist is the main character’s opposite number, the one trying to settle the story’s conflict in his or her favor, instead of our protagonist’s. Notice that I didn’t say hero and villain. While protagonist and antagonist have become deeply rooted in the way we discuss stories, we frequently forget that these words do not reflect the characters’ moral fiber.” http://www.pfspublishing.com/bookclub/2011/02/literary-definitions-protagonist-versus-antagonist.html
In the first book of the series, THE VOYAGES OF ACHMID HUCHMID AND FOLLETTI the antagonist was a shape shifting sea creature called the Chen. In human form his name was Zuozhuan Zhouli. The Chen was a nasty piece of work but he pales in comparison to the shadowy human figures with whom he was allied. It seems only fair and fitting that Mr. Reed resumes his nefarious activities as the head of an organization intent on raping the world for their own benefit without concern for the damage they cause.
Below is Chapter II of that Novella introducing Gregory Reed to the reader. I’d be interested in anyone’s thoughts regarding Mr. Reed as a villain should you care to give it.
“Instead of this we have luxury and avarice; public indigence side by side with private opulence; we glorify wealth and pursue idleness; between the worthy and the unworthy we make no distinction; all the prizes of virtue are awarded to ambition”. Gaius Sallustius Crispus
“By avarice and selfishness, and a groveling habit, from which none of us is free, of regarding the soil as property, or the means of acquiring property chiefly, the landscape is deformed, husbandry is degraded with us, and the farmer leads the meanest of lives. He knows Nature but as a robber”. Henry David Thoreau
Gregory Reed A.K.A. (G. Reed)
Greg Reed is the epitome of avarice, so naturally he is in Politics. Unfortunately he has won election to Congress as the Junior Republican Representative from the Great State of South Carolina. He is a Tea Party member and also a member of A.L.E.C. the American Legislative Exchange Committee. ALEC is a conservative organization dedicated to the development of pro-business legislation that it makes available to its members for the purpose of promoting conservative agendas in local and national government. Infamous among legislation produced by ALEC are Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground firearm laws.
To seduce politicians into sponsoring legislation written by ALEC, copious amounts of money, trips and other questionable inducements are offered to interested legislators. G. Reed is more than interested, he solicits it, and he makes it known, quietly of course, that he is willing and able to promote the ALEC agenda and subsequently sell out his constituents for a price.
Representative Reed is by all accounts a highly successful member of Congress, he is both handsome and charming, he can smoothly tell you go to hell and convince you that you will enjoy the ride. Rich, good looking, powerful and an astute businessman, he has no problem attracting women. What woman doesn’t eventually look for that combination in a potential mate? He is well educated and served his country with distinction in the first Gulf War. He was an expert in explosive devices and as such his services were in great demand during that engagement and again in Iraq. Perhaps it was the time he spent in that Middle Eastern conflict that changed him from the soft spoken southern boy to the insensitive, competitive fortune seeker that he has become. Or was it the time he spent supporting George W. Bush’s bid for the White House years later, along with the hypocrisy and mendacity of the second Gulf War that twisted his psyche into an aberration of his original nature. In that conflict he played a role planning and executing counter insurgency actions; in that role he did things that would make even a seasoned veteran’s’ stomachs weak. It no longer occurs to Congressman Reed that taking care of his fellow man is nobler than lining his own pockets or the coffers of his election campaign fund; on the contrary that would be decidedly liberal thinking and nothing removes a southern Republican from office faster than liberal leanings. So Mr. Reed pays attention to those voices around him that tell him to ignore the suffering of poor blacks, unemployed homeowners, Gays seeking equality and the Right to Marry whomever they love, Immigrants who have worked and fought alongside him, and women seeking protection under the law for the equal pay they deserve for equal work.
Gregory Reed’s sense of entitlement is surpassed only by his arrogance; this combination makes him dangerous, unfortunately, this is all too common within both Parties of today’s US political landscape. Ironically the conservative Supreme Court of the United States of America committed a great injustice on the citizenry when it upheld the Citizen United premise that Corporations, controlled by the wealthy elite, for political contribution purposes, could be considered the same as human beings. This is preposterous and has been a disastrous ruling. This ill-conceived decision has unleashed the financial resources of a few, giving unprecedented power to corporations allowing them far too great an influence in US elections. Candidates for office must now solicit funds for their election campaigns; making them whores, willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder instead of the peoples representatives. Mr. Reed is just fine with this situation.
“The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission helped unleash unprecedented amounts of outside spending in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. The case, along with other legal developments, spawned the creation of super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from corporate and union treasuries, as well as from individuals; these groups spent more than $600 million in the 2012 election cycle. It also triggered a boom in political activity by tax-exempt “dark money” organizations that don’t have to disclose their donors. Learn more here about how the Supreme Court transformed the campaign finance landscape with this decision, and how it is now affecting U.S. politics.”
“A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens read part of his 90 page dissent from the bench. Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the majority opinion. The dissent argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He wrote: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.””
Through a set of eight points Justice Stevens presents the dissenting arguments, the last of these is quoted here:
“Stevens concluded his dissent:
At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”
Somewhere along the course of recent U.S. History the American Political belief changed from the principle that good government was based on the enablement and protection of the people, supported by the people and led by the people; to a country that vilifies the poor, wages class warfare and openly attacks a women’s right to control her own body. America, once the land of opportunity has devolved into a feudal oligarchy where the wealthy accumulate more wealth that it uses to leverage more political power, and the middle class shrinks and access to upper mobility has narrowed.
It began when Ronald Reagan, that great spokesman for the Republican Party, sold a lie to the American public. That lie was the “Trickledown theory of economics” or the “Rape and pillage theory of Economics”. Thanks to the ‘The great communicator’ the wealthy in America had the tools to gather more wealth while making the general public believe that there was something inherently wrong with them for being less than wealthy and that greed was good. Greed is wrong; greed is a sin against your fellow man. Why do we teach children that accumulating money is better than serving mankind? There was a time in America when college graduates looked forward to serving their country as ambassadors of good will in organizations such as the Peace Corps; today recent graduates must find work immediately after graduation, before the ink is dry on their diplomas, to pay off the loans incurred earning the degrees that will no longer allow them access to the American Nightmare. The pendulum of social justice must inevitably swing in the opposite direction because in the end what matters most is:
- How we lived, as opposed to how much wealth we accumulated while we lived.
- How well we treated others, as opposed to how well we served ourselves.
Representative Reed is a significant stock holder in a Biotechnology Company engaged in the development of a GE Blue Fin Tuna. Greg loves sushi and frequents a well know Sushi Bar in Washington DC, called Sushi Taro it is located at 1503 17th Street, N.W.Washington, DC 20036
Sushi has become popular with America’s power elite, all manner of politicos can be seen dinning at this purveyor of raw seafood, and one must have a taste for that sort of thing. One would think that Mr. Reed would be concerned that the voters in his district could interpret his ownership of stock in Blue Sea Food Technologies as a conflict of interest. The gerrymandering, however, of the districts for Mr. Reed’s constituency have made it virtually impossible for him to lose an election, an over whelming majority of these constituents are similar minded individuals who applaud Greg’s practices in business and politics. As long as Representative G. Reed continues to espouse that far right ideology that got him elected to the House originally he can do no wrong. That far Right ideology being: A disdain for our incumbent Black President and his signature achievement the Affordable Care Act; a fanatical belief in smaller government with a weak EPA, FDA, USDA, essentially all laws or governmental agencies that would or could inhibit the actions of corporations from doing as they please without regard for the wellbeing of the population, wildlife or the environment upon which everything depends.
Gerrymandering is the term given to the manipulation of the district boundaries within each State for the purpose of maintaining an incumbent in office; this is why 98 percent of congressional seats are held by incumbents. This less than competitive boarder manipulation is accomplished by finding the concentrations of their most loyal voters and then drawing a line around them. Making it virtually impossible for incumbents to be unseated, because nowhere in the rule book does it say exactly how the districts must be drawn, so long as they are connected this un-American practice has resulted in a map of Congressional districts that resemble some preschooler’s attempt at cartography. As a result Congressman Reed knows that even if he wavers from the straight and narrow morally; his seat in the House of Representatives is safe, unless he strays from the conservative values his constituency supports.
Franken gets very angry when he reads about such goings on as these, but what good does anger do a man, what recourse does it provide? Even Jesus; or the author’s who wrote the Biblical passages attributed to Mathew 5:21, 22 Warned against anger, recommending instead seeking reconciliation. Yeah right, as if that will do any good; Franken will continue to make phone calls, write letters and post online about the abuses he sees to anybody that will listen.