Press On! by Sen. Gordon Gaines. Document in Waves Beyond Limit | World Anvil
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Press On! by Sen. Gordon Gaines.

PRECURSOR

In 2013 Sen. Gordon Samuel Gaines of Illinois was brutally attacked by a group of teenagers after a speech in Arlington Heights. The teens were members of a growing political movement called Anomie United, which was started in Chicago. This youth movement defines itself as being free from illusions because they see the world as it truly is, not as the older generation wishes the world to be. Some believe this sentiment to be nihilistic claptrap.   Sen. Gaines had voiced his concern on occasion in regards to the Chicago youth and Anomie United's animosity towards older generations. This made him a popular target of the youth movement, who tracked his whereabouts and followed him with protests.   However, the protestors in Arlington Heights escalated this conflict of interests to violence, by attempting to set the set the senator ablaze after his speech. The reckless attack resulted in severe injuries to several attendees, including the Senator, who suffered second and third degree burns on his head, right arm, and torso.   During his recovery, the media began to herald the senator as a brave political leader, now a victim of senseless violence. Candlelight vigils were held outside of his hospital room.   The day he was released from medical care, cameras gathered around the burn unit to welcome Sen. Gaines back into the world. While many expected Gaines to express some pleasantries and gratitude for support, few anticipated that he would deliver a fiery speech that would not only define his career, but an entire generation of youth that saw him as the enemy.  

THE SPEECH

     
"I'd like to first send my deepest condolences to the other victims of this heinous attack, and thank all the doctors, nurses and hospital staff for their efforts in healing our wounds. I would not be able to stand here today without their help.   ... You know, I was asked if I wanted to keep the bandages on for this speech. They were afraid I might scare the children with my disfigurement. And I only thought about it for a moment before declining, because I need every man, woman and child of these United States to understand what I see when I look in the mirror.   When I look into the mirror - I don't see a victim. No. Under the scars and scabs I see a man. I see a man who has fought for this country whether it was in the Army or in the halls of Congress. I see a man who has fought for the liberty and freedom for not only my family and loved ones but for the families across this nation - regardless of their race, creed or color. I did it for one and all, not just for myself but for future generations.   The bottom line is when I look into the mirror, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am proud and honored to see the face that is staring back at me.   Can those young men and women that attacked me on that day in Arlington Heights say the same? I think I know the answer. I think we all know the answer.   ... They want to call it a generational divide. That because we don't see the world like they do; then we must be obsolete. Time to step aside and let this generation of nihilists and post-modern cynics take over. And then what? Watch the world fall into chaos because not a one of them has any capacity to do the work that needs to be done. It's all for nothing to them. They don't know how to believe in something constructive. Something that takes effort to build. Anyone can whine and complain and destroy, but making a real difference in this world takes hard work - and these kids - they ain't got what it takes. I guarantee you if they found themselves set on fire they'd still be licking their wounds in the burn unit calling for mom sing them a lullaby.   But that's not me. No way. I'm going to press on! Press on with everything I've got. The stakes are too high to sit back and be a victim. Press on, I say! ... We got to call it like it is folks. These kids don't want to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and rebuild the world with the rest of us. They choose not to participate. Well we can't wait for them to grow up. We can't let this ruined generation spoil it for the rest of us. Press on! Press on!"   -excerpts from Sen. Gordon Gaines speech "Press On!"
   

FALLOUT

  Shortly after his speech, a group identified itself as members of Anomie United firebombed the Chicago Art Institute leading to the destruction of many works of art and historical artifacts. The youth movement only grew after Sen. Gaines' speech, resulting in a nationwide crackdown on juvenile delinquency.   Sen. Gaines received a ground swell of support from his base and a national audience enamored with his story. His support was so much that he confidently announced a year and a half later that he would be running for President in 2016.  

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