Secret Draft of Hillary Clinton’s Convention Speech, 2016

[Cue big screen in background: images of standard Americana fare: holding babies in crowds, working rope lines, making speeches, American flag.]

[Hillary in foreground at podium, looking serious but kind, like Mom about to say something really important to the family.]

My Fellow Americans:

To say that we as a people stand at a crossroads is the biggest understatement of 2016, maybe of the last decade or even century. Our choices have never been starker, the stakes never higher. We either get our shit ourselves together now, or our country is about to hurl down a dead-end road with no turning back. We can either contend with the challenges we face and make the hard difficult choices, or pass on the opportunity and allow our basest fears to rule us.

Here I stand, giving the biggest speech of my life out of many thousands I’ve given, in stark contrast to the other candidate for the hardest job in the world. I know you at home are probably busy and I might only have a few minutes to make my case for why I should be leader of the free world President of the United States. You are the hiring manager, and I just walked in to interview for the job, to make my case. You will decide with your vote whether I’m the most qualified.

[Big screen: Hillary as First Lady, at conference tables, greeting world leaders, relaxing with her family. Lots of smiles and warmth. Shots of Bill and Chelsea]

You know me, and I know you best I can while living such a busy life and crisscrossing our great nation as a candidate and candidate’s wife and advocate for causes. So I can’t really tell you anything new about myself that will make me seem exciting and fresh. I’m 68 years young and have been working nonstop for the past half century. I don’t pass for fresh. And the things that truly excite me are as simple as sharing time with my family and as complex as negotiating international treaties. I’m no Kanye West or Katy Perry. Instead, I offer tried and true as my greatest virtue.

But I will give you more of a reason than that to hire me. Just give me a few more minutes.

I have worked in law and government for most of my life, and the bulk of my resume is my career as an attorney, a First Lady, a senator, and a cabinet secretary. I can pronounce Kazakhstan and recite long passages from the Constitution. I site Supreme Court cases that our law and order is built upon today, and trace the history back to the Founding Fathers. I know our government inside and out and have personally met most of the world’s current leaders. And I’ve loved politics and government since I was a schoolgirl. To me, there’s no greater contribution a person can make to benefit society and our fellow humans. It’s what I’m best at.

[Big screen: Hillary as Valedictorian, Hillary reading thick briefing books, Hillary as a Goldwater Girl.]

I have excelled at everything I do, pushing myself harder than anyone else possibly could. You don’t wake up at 4am and work till midnight most days of the year because you want success handed to you like a fat an inheritance. You aren’t top of your class by waiting for things to come to you. I grew up knowing that I had to work harder and smarter than everyone else to achieve my ambitions and fulfill my potential. I knew I had something great to do. I have never shied away from the hardest jobs or most difficult decisions. And I never used my gender as an excuse or reason to avoiding taking on the biggest challenges.

And it all comes down to this moment as I convince you to vote for me.

Politicians will promise you anything to get elected, we all know that. I’m not going to make a bunch of promises. You can look back at my history and see what my priorities are. I care deeply about our children and have a long history of promoting their health and well-being. I care deeply about our police and military and especially our veterans, and have spent countless hours fighting for their causes. I care deeply about giving everyone a chance to succeed and using every means at our disposal to make that possible. These will continue to be my priorities as president. But I have bigger ideas about what to do with the trust you invest in me.

[Big screen: shots of Hillary with Vets and military brass, at hospitals and children’s wards, then transition to shots of Bush Jr. looking like an idiot, of Cheney’s demonic smile, of homes being foreclosed and soldiers coming home wounded.]

Our nation has just passed through eight years of the greatest difficulties. When Barack Obama took office our economy was on the brink of collapse, our military was pushed to its limit, our treasury was strained beyond belief, and even our closest allies were losing faith in us. We have weathered these storms and come out so much better, stronger, and wiser. We’re ready now for more.

We don’t need to make American great again because it already is and always has been! We don’t need to reverse course, we need to go forward more boldly than ever! We are Americans and we don’t just survive, we thrive! We fight for what we believe! We make promises we can keep and lead by example!

We need to be realistic about what we can do and how much power we really have. I’m a realist and know from long experience that you can’t just walk into Washington and change the world. But that won’t stop me from trying. Remember Hillarycare? I foresaw 20 years ago where our healthcare system was headed and tried to fix it before it was corporatized and costs exploded. But I didn’t do enough to convince you of the dangers ahead, so my plan didn’t get accepted and Mr. Obama and the democrats in Congress had to do our best to patch things up when the opportunity came around again years later.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything I didn’t do and every way I didn’t live up to expectation. Working in government is like fighting a war every day where words are bullets and perceptions are every bit as important as reality. I’ve allowed my opponents to paint a picture of me as ruthlessly ambitious and narrowly interested, which is far from the truth. I’m hugely ambitious, yes, and for decades I’ve been interested in helping communities and families in every way I can. I guess that’s threatening to some people and they say every nasty thing about me that they can and try to convince people I’m a raging bitch I work in government for the wrong reasons.

Well, you can’t fix stupid.

[Big screen: Trump being an idiot. Take your pic of footage to show.]

The other person in the running for this job thinks that real estate development qualifies him for the hardest job in the world, that running casinos is like running a country and building golf courses is like building national infrastructure. He thinks that he can just snap his fingers and other nations will bend to his will, and that all the economy needs is more tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations. I wonder sometimes if he thinks that being president is the ultimate reality show where everything follows the script and everyone marches to your tune. He sure has some strange ideas about how government works.

Look, I’ll never be liked by everybody. I have my flaws. What I can really promise you is that as president I will wake up every day – steady and ready – to face our challenges head on. I will try to do the most good for the most people and use every resource do everything my power to help all Americans thrive.

[Big screen: hopeful imagery. Back to theme of Hillary as Mom.]

I will fight. I will put my foot down and bring order to this house. I will look the bullies in the eye and tell them to bring it on. I’ve got the heart of a champion and I don’t take gruff from anyone. I’ve seen every trick in the book and shot holes in every pretender who’s tried to say they’re better than me. I’m really no better than anyone else, and not really that different. I just have a passion that never says die and an ability to endure any trial or hardship. I fall down, and I get back up. And so do you.

I promise I will look myself in the eye every day and do a reality check. I will confront the dark inside myself my flaws and weaknesses so that it doesn’t affect how I do my job. I will be smart and tenacious and wise and use every favor I’ve ever earned, every contact I’ve ever made, and every drop of energy I’ve got left to be the best mother fucking president I can be!

And that’s why I should be your president. God bless America. Thank you.

The Origin of Hanukkah and Why It Matters Right Now

As Hanukkah 2011 approaches and the Festival of Lights begins again, remember why the Jews battled to restore the people to their faith. Remember why it is still commemorated. Oppression and tyranny are big themes going into 2012. People everywhere are rising up for their rights same as the Maccabees did 2,150 or so years ago.


To really “get” the reason for the Hanukkah holiday, picture the scene:

Jerusalem, more than 150 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. You are a Jewish resistance fighter opposed to the rule of the hated King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ruler of the Greek Seleucid kingdom that controls Israel. Against all odds, your ragtag militia of devout Jews has defeated the Greeks and kicked them out of the Temple. For three and a half years it’s been controlled by foreigners, during which time your traditional religion and culture were almost completely wiped out by decree of the King.

You enter the Temple and see devastation: mangled bodies in death poses, rotting animal carcasses, orgy dens, altars covered in pig blood – an act of profanity ordered by Antiochus to mock you and your zealous people by sacrificing an unclean animal on your altar. Instead of a house of God, the Temple has been turned into a gymnasium and whorehouse dominated by an immense statue of Zeus.

You are a Maccabee, the resistance fighters empowered by God to defeat Antiochus, led by the greatest Jewish warrior of all time, Judah Maccabee, youngest son of the original rebel Rabbi who rallied the people against King Antiochus. You’ve witnessed miracles on the battlefield that could only be from God. You’ve attacked the enemy a thousand different ways, usually when least expected, and won almost every time. Judas led the charge into battle and became Samson before your eyes, slaying great swaths of well-armed-and-trained Greek soldiers with immense strength, cunning and courage.

Now it is time to restore your Temple and once again make the daily sacrifices commanded by your God, Jehovah. The bodies are hauled away, pagan statues taken down, messes cleaned up, altars and relics cleansed. But there’s a problem: only one bottle of consecrated oil survived the Greek occupation. Might seem like a small matter to outsiders, but that oil supplies the menorah that burns in the inner sanctuary, a sign of God’s presence. A week is needed to consecrate more oil and you’ve got a one-day supply. You can’t wait; the people need their God now. What do you do?

The Maccabee revolt against the Seleucid Empire

And so the first day of the first Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, begins. God wants the Temple back immediately, not in a week. So the High Priest lights the menorah and you all pray for a miracle.

The next night the few priests allowed in the sanctuary watch the menorah wicks wondering how long the sacred oil will last. The faith of the devout seems unshakable that God will keep it lit as a sign to the people, but after years of subjugation at the hands of foreign rulers and civil war between traditionalists and secularists, some aren’t so sure. Antiochus had turned Jew against Jew, family against family, and deep bitterness remains. Many Jews had renounced their religion and adopted Greek ways under pain of death – “Hellenized” – and now fear the Maccabees will execute them for betrayal. The King’s decree outlawing the traditional Jewish faith is still in effect. Antiochus could return and destroy the city, as he’s done before when the Jews rebelled. People don’t know which to fear more.

But the Maccabees aren’t out for revenge just yet. They’re more concerned with reinforcing their positions, consolidating their gains and seeking a strong ally to protect them from the Greeks. Secret talks have begun with Rome, you hear whispered. As darkness swallows the ancient city, inside the sanctuary the lights burn bright, and continues the next night, and the next.

By then word has spread to the countryside that a miracle is happening in the Temple. Battered Israelis gather outside to pray. Inside, the priests beseech God and sing praises.

As the hours pass and the news spreads, the Jewish Covenant is restored. Spirits lift. Celebrations break out. Wine flows. Faith grows. The fattest calf is slaughtered. Something unheard for several years lifts over top of the clamor: the words of the holy scripture read to the people by the priests. “Remember your God, oh Israel! Remember your history and heritage! Remember Moses and David and Elijah!”

For eight days the flames burn. For eight days a flame burns inside all the Jewish faithful. New oil is consecrated to light the menorah in the sanctuary. And you know without a doubt that what you’ve witnessed was a miracle to be commemorated by all Jews, indeed by everyone everywhere who seeks God and lives rightly.

As Hanukkah 2011 approaches and the Festival of Lights begins again, remember why the Jews battled to restore the people to their faith. Remember why it is still commemorated. Oppression and tyranny are big themes going into 2012. People everywhere are rising up for their rights same as the Maccabees did 2,150 or so years ago. Empires are falling, and other rise in their place. Great institutions like the Catholic Church are in decline, and civil rights fought so hard for are disappearing into a police state. These conditions will be used to build a new world order based on value over growth, peace over conflict, and public good over personal profit. Or else the clamor we’re hearing across the globe is the swansong of the planet. Now more than ever we need the flame of faith to burn inside.

***

The first book of the two-book novel, Something Coming: a New Age Thriller, by J.M. DeBord

I wrote a novel that involves the descendants of the Maccabees opposed to the second coming of King Antiochus in modern day, so I know something about the subject. The origin of the Hanukkah story provided fertile material to weave into the plot. However, I stuck as closely to recorded history as possible. What I learned is that Antiochus ranks just below Hitler on the Jewish hatred meter, but he’s not mentioned a lot even though he has all of the classic traits of a villain and is a fascinating historical figure. My version of Antiochus is more complex than the conventional villain; he has the potential to save the world but has to get over himself first.

Anyway, read my novel about the Second Coming of Antiochus and you’ll learn more about him, the Hanukkah holiday, and how to affect change both personal and collective. Hint: it all begins by being at peace in the world as it is now…. Shalom.

The Death of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Beginning of a Legend

Only Antiochus could concoct and carry out a plan so bold to return from the dead in his own flesh and amaze the world with his second coming. That’s the stuff of legends.

Antiochus the Fourth was a king legends are made about, but was not legendary. He really lived and ruled and conquered, and left opinion divided about his life and reign as king of the Greek Seleucids. Depending on the historical source, he was either a ruthless killer and crazy man who deserves comparison with the Antichrist, or he brilliantly rejuvenated a declining kingdom for one last shot at old world domination and fell short. In part because of a pesky native rebellion in a small province he tried to squash that turned into his undoing: Israel.

antichrist
Rendering of the Antichrist

God’s wrath or simple fate: Something struck down Antiochus, his burial site unknown to the world, and to date, never found. Thus the beginning of a legend.

Antiochus lived the sort of life which makes legends. When he didn’t inherit the throne from his father, Antiochus the Great, he stole it from weaker relatives and killed them off. Before then he lived in Rome as a royal hostage, collateral to insure that his father obeyed a harsh peace treaty. His reign was marked by stunning conquests and equally stunning defeats. The origin of the phrase ‘draw a line in the sand’ hails from an incident when a Roman official thwarted Antiochus in Egypt by drawing a line in the sand and forbidding him from crossing it until acceding to Senate demands. Some say it was a crushing defeat, and he took out his anger on nearby Jerusalem by invading and sacking the city. But with Antiochus nothing is ever so clear.

The so-called defeat in Egypt, seen from another angle, might have been part of a plan to push Egypt into Rome’s arms and take out a potential threat on his southern border. Like a good chess player, Antiochus thought several moves ahead and knew the folly of taking actions that weren’t part of a larger plan. He’d pounded Egyptian forces and pillaged the coastline to that point, so Egypt becoming a vassal to Rome, where he had many contacts and friends, was to his advantage. That way, Egypt couldn’t take revenge while Antiochus campaigned to the east in Persia. He harbored a master ambition to rule an empire like Alexander the Great, and that ambition pushed him to take big, calculated risks.

If successful at making the Israelites follow Greek ways, Antiochus would have changed world history, aborting the births of Judaism’s two major offspring: Christianity and Islam. Starting around 170 BCE, the king thought he could put an end to Jewish rebellions if he wiped out their religion, a common practice of the time. Destroy everything which makes a people think of themselves as distinct and they’re more pliant to assimilation into a larger culture. More than enough Jews were eager to jump on the Hellenization bandwagon. The plan almost succeeded, if not for a Jewish family that became legends of their own.

The Hasmoneans rebelled against Antiochus, led by the youngest son of a zealous rabbi named Mattathias: Judas Maccabeus, the “Hammer of God,” a title given to the freedom fighters – the Maccabees – that defeated several of Antiochus’s armies and restored the Temple in Jerusalem. Their story has become part of written history, celebrated in the Hanukkah holiday. Faced by superior numbers and military equipment, Judas led a rag-tag bunch of Israeli guerrilla warriors to victory over the Syrian Greeks, culminating with the retaking of the Temple. With only enough consecrated oil to burn for one day, the Hasmoneans restored the Temple anyway, and one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days, until more oil could be consecrated. Thus the seven candles of a menorah.

Antiochus coin
The face of Antiochus preserved on a coin

For the previous three and a half years Antiochus stopped the daily sacrifices and forced Jews to worship Greek gods. To say the least, devout Jews were apocalyptic about the desecration of their holiest place – no sabbath, scripture, or circumcision; conversion under pain of death. Two books about the brutal slaughter – 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees – paint a heroic picture for themselves and a damning of picture of sacrilege for Antiochus. He died soon after. Jewish sources say it happened in Judea, but others say in eastern Iran, around 164 or 163 BCE. All sources agree that his tomb has never been found.

In my thriller Something Coming, Antiochus is entombed beneath Mt. Nemrut in Turkey, the plot spinning off speculation that a third king is secretly buried there. Two kings of the Seleucid line are all but certain to lie beneath the pyramid of rocks that crowns the mountaintop sanctuary: Antiochus I (who is actually the second Antiochus I) and Mithradates, his father. They ruled several generations after Antiochus the Fourth, leaving behind an eighth wonder of the world that preserves the founders’ vision of unity between East and West.

Link to this book at Amazon

In the story, Nemrut transforms from a tourist destination to a mecca for spiritual seekers. Antiochus’s spirit is alive beneath Mt. Nemrut in an ancient chamber made for ritual magic, and he wants to return to save the world. He also has his own agenda and has learned from his first encounter with zealous Jews.

To tell this part of the story I created two Jewish sisters, descendants of Judas Maccabeus, that investigate to find out who is really behind the peace movement and miracles at Mt. Nemrut. Only Antiochus could concoct and carry out a plan so bold to return from the dead in his own flesh and amaze the world with his second coming.

That’s the stuff of legends. In Something Coming (available on Kindle), a legend is (re)born.

Read "Something Coming," a novel about a secular Second Coming

Most of us suspect that something is coming, big changes, enlightenment or apocalypse. Something Coming tells the story of a great ruler’s unexpected return from antiquity, who inspires devotion and hatred and has a plan to rule the world.

Something Coming cover art and link to Amazon e-store
Click to buy the novel at the author's Amazon e-store

Announcing the release of Something Coming, by J.M. DeBord. In this two-book novel we are shocked to discover that predictions of a second coming can come true in unexpected ways when an infamous ruler from antiquity engineers his rebirth. The story begins with a flash of light and spiritual awakening at historic Mt. Nemrut, Turkey, spreads around the world with signs and wonders, and climaxes in Jerusalem, where a final battle rages between the forces of enlightenment and the forces of repression. Some people see the miraculous events as the beginning of a new age for humanity, while others suspect the machinations of the Antichrist leading to Armageddon. In between are a few people who witness the events first-hand and know the truth. Or is it deception?

Along the way to finding out, we rediscover a grand mountain monument with a message of peace that unites East and West and with a past as the center of a great kingdom led by visionary rulers. One of those rulers is both beloved and despised: Antiochus Epiphanes. To most of the world, the peace he secretly brings to the Middle East and elsewhere is reason to go along and avoid asking deeper questions about the origins of the New Age movement. However, fundamentalist Christians and Jews remember Antiochus as a brutal dictator who almost destroyed Judaism, if not for the Maccabean rebellion, who committed the Abomination of Desolation written about by the prophet Daniel. Descendants of the dynastic family that led the rebellion suspect that Antiochus is returning in modern day to finish what he started. They uncover the truth, but their voices are marginalized in the fervor for world peace brokered by a charismatic priest, Demetrius.

The priest, one of three reincarnated masters of the old kingdom, makes peace in Turkey with the Kurds, then in Iraq between the Sunnis and Shiites. He wears a symbol that calls old souls to remember themselves and their ancient king, and he is a master of both media and magic. Working as an ambassador of the sacred mountain in Turkey, he gains trust around the world, leading a peace movement backed by an all-seeing mind.
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Some fundamentalists suspect that Demetrius is the fulfillment of Christian prophecies predicting the Antichrist as a New Age peacemaker. They oppose him, some violently, fighting for what they believe in. But they are up against masterminds in Demetrius and Antiochus, and in standing against them, fundamentalists also stand against the majority of the world. They make their final stand in Jerusalem, a city claimed as home by three religions. None would exist today if not for the same family that stopped Antiochus last time more than two thousand years ago led by Judas Maccabee. Are they repeating history by denying their Messiah, or are they correct to interpret a family tragedy as a revenge attack by an ancient enemy?

The author welcomes you to read the first six chapters before buying the novel, available as a PDF file. Just click the link.

You can also read an interview with J.M. DeBord about the creation of his novel.

More fiction is available. Full Circle, a short story about the connection between life and the afterlife, and a graphic short story about a shrinking penis called 4 Inches and Counting. If you enjoy a certain twisted sense of humor, be prepared to laugh. Otherwise, click on the categories to the right for more writing.