Friday, December 12, 2008


Chapter 6: Terror by Decree
Jimmy Christopher escapes death, although he is wounded by the assassin's bullet.
But he arrives too late to be of any help. Governor Ursus Young wins the presidential election. It's not said who he beats, but the president he runs against sounds a lot like FDR: a gentleman, serving out his first term, etc.
Remember: when this story was written there was a very real possibility that the populist Gov. Huey Long of Louisiana would run for the White House.
Keeping in line with the over-the-top track of this book is the innaguration of the new president. After The chief justice of the Supreme Court tells Ursus Young he is turning over to him "the destiny of a great government", Young refuses to take the oath of office! Next he makes a speech which is so out of control, it's believable!
Here are some highlights:

“Citizens of this country, the time has come for action. We are done with politics. We are done with bureaucracy. You have demanded a government of power, a government fearless in the face of your problems, and you are going to get it. From this moment on, I will drastically control this country for the good of the common man, for the good of his job and his pocketbook. That is the creed of President Young, and you will see it carried out now!”
“As President of the United States, I declare this nation in a state of war! Our enemy is poverty! As President, I will leave this platform to go straight to my desk in the White House and issue a series of proclamations which will empower me with absolute control of the Federal Government. I intend to wield greater power than any President has ever dreamed of possessing but I shall wield it for the good of the common man. My speech is ended. I will not use words to fight our battle, but strength! I will not talk— I will act. I’ll make prosperity— and give it to you. That is my oath of office!”

The Chief Justice reminds Young that he cannot assume the presidency until he takes the oath. Somehow, I think we'll be seeing that Chief Justice again.
The chapter ends with Young and his henchmen going directly to the headquarters of the United States Intellegence Service and firing everyone! Refusing to be replaced by his cronies, Z-7 (Jimmy Christopher's boss) and Operator 5 are arrested by the Black Corps. Of course, they soon escape.
OK, this isn't supposed to happen. The hero is supposed to show up at the last minute and offer damming evidence which brings about the downfall of the politician who seeks to turn the US into a dictatorship. At least this was the solution in Seven Days In May, etc. Which is why I keep reading this book.

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