Feathered hat man
The Debates
Chapter information

Political Animals



Written by

Omashu Rocks

Release date

30 October 2012

Last chapter

Politics is a Contact Sport

Next chapter

Brawls and Betrayal

Author's Note

The song featured before the Patriot's Party debate is based on and to the tune of Courtesy of the Red White and Blue by Toby Keith.

Previously on Political Animals

General How hired Kumbo, former aid to the Water Chief, as his campaign manager and main political adviser. Fed up with Lao's refusal to run a positive primary campaign, Joo Dee left his team to continue her anti-establishment movement on her own. On a personal note, tensions between How and Huma sharply increased, and it seemed as though Long Feng was having a fairly easy time campaigning, mustering more and more support by the second. Meanwhile, Earth King Kuei developed a cynical plot centering around the new rule that Provincial Governors would cast a vote to represent their constituents.

"As you can see, Governor, these... traitors have not the slightest idea of what they are talking about. Somehow, they are convinced that tearing this Kingdom apart is the best way to heal the wounds it received during the war."

The young governor of the Zhongcheng Province rubbed his chin, pondering what his King was saying. "You are absolutely correct, Your Majesty. The suggestion that rebelling against your rule to fix our problems is absurd. What our Kingdom needs now is strong leadership to hold all of us together, not force us to divide. We have incredible political tensions outside the border as it is. The last thing we need is for those problems to find their way into our towns and cities."

Kuei smiled. "I couldn't have said it better myself. It's great to have your support."

"Of course," the man nodded, "everyone here is completely loyal to you, my King. You'll be happy to know that there are no confederates in my province."

"That's very comforting, indeed. You have done a wonder job governing Zhongcheng. I'm sure that skill will get you very far in life."

Not far outside the mansion where the two leaders met, local authorities were forced to open fire on particularly violent protestors, demonstrators calling for the end of the Earth King's reign. "Down with Kuei!" they beckoned. Most fled as tiny rock pellets sped out them, but others pressed forward, attack the police and destroying as much as possible. They were fueled by anger, infuriated with their monarch and his failure. They tore down statues, smashed through windows, killing a few people in the process. Some were detained and forced off the streets, but the mob was too large to contain.

"Patriots! Welcome to the primary election debate between General Sung-"

Cheers ran across a large seated crowd at the mention of Sung's name.

"And General Fong."

A new, more powerful wave of applause erupted. Fong was clearly the favorite among the debate audience of 300, which was predominantly made up of soldiers, ranking from privates to generals. There were also a handful of admirals, military engineers, and female nurses who served in medical bases across the country. Everyone wore their Earth Kingdom military uniform, and they were gathered around a decorated outdoor auditorium in the Middle Ring of Ba Sing Se.

At the end of a rock stage, sat the announcer. The position of his desk implied that he would have his back to the audience for the debate, but for now, he faced them. He was well-known among the military, for had followed many platoons in their campaigns to write for his Ba Sing Se columns. It was a perilous tasks, venturing out into the battlefield armed only with a quill and parchment, which is why he was so respected. It was hardly a tough decision to select him as moderator for the debate. He smiled at the crowd and his voice echoed. "Before we begin this discussion, I think we can all agree that the we in the Patriot's Party understand what our nation really needs, so-"

He was cut off by thunderous cheers and hoots, some attendees even getting to their feet and clapping.

"So I think we should start off by celebrating our love for this country and the great sacrifices that many of us made to preserve it. Without further ado, please welcome Captain Jang!"

A man with some sort of stringed instrument took the stage in between to podiums meant for Sung and Fong. He waved and was received with wild praise, and he gestured for the fired-up throng to settle down. Everyone watched with great anticipation as he played a few notes on his instrument and began to sing.

"Earth Nation girls and Earth Nation guys,
will always stand up and salute. We'll always recognize,
when we see that green flag flyin' there's a lotta men dead,

so we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our heads."

A couple of claps shot across the auditorium.

"My father served in the army, took fire to the eye.
But he flew that flag out in our yard, till the day that he died.
He wanted my mother, my brother, my sister and me
To grow up and live happy in the land of the free.

A few more people clapped as the song's tempo picked up.

Now this nation that he loved, had fallen under attack
when a hundred years ago we took a hit from somewhere in the back.
They tried to light up our land like a Shuten Shogai,

but we crushed their heads between our badgermole thighs!"

After this line, the whole crowd went nuts. The men and women of the military sprang up with tremendous roars and chest-beating. They soon began clapping in rhythm for the refrain.

"Hey the gen'ral wrote your name at the top of his list,

and the statue of Kyoshi started shakin' her fist.

So we kicked them all out and we'd do again,
to any kinda threat who tried to take our land ohhh yeahhhh.

One clapping nurse paused to wipe a tear from her eye as the tempo slowed dramatically, and the Captain Jang played and sang more softly.

You'll be sorry that you messed with our nation todayyyy
Cuz we'll kick a rock up your ass, that's the Earth Nation way!"

It took a good couple of minutes for the audience to finally calm down and take their seats. The patriotic, and almost jingoistic, tune had adrenaline pumping through their veins, just as Generals Fong and Sung had planned. The more enthusiastic their party is, the better chance the nominee has in the general election. The two men were, at that moment, standing just off stage and preparing to walk out in front of their potential supporters. General Sung had butterflies in his stomach as the moderator introduced the two candidates.

"Fellow patriots, please welcome two men who both serve on the Council of Five, General Fong and General Sung!"

The debate goers once again gave a standing ovation as the two respected candidates entered from opposite sides, Fong from the left and Sung from the right, to shake hands in the center. They both smiled at each other before walking back behind their respective podiums. The moderator finally turned away from the spectators, first facing his right.

"General Sung, the first question is for you. I believe this is something everyone here- everyone in this nation, thinks about every day. What further reparations would you impose on the Fire Nation?" The question, of course, was probably not as prominent in the minds of Earth Kingdom subjects as much as their concerns for feeding their children, but the audience seemed interested nonetheless.

"Well," sniffled the awkward general, his back hunched over. "All Fire Nation citizens should be expelled from our land completely and-" he was briefly interrupted by mild applause "-and it's an indisputable fact that everyone from that country is at least directly or indirectly responsible for our economic woes, so I propose that they each pay a tax to us. A few people in the stands nodded as they pondered the candidate's idea. It appeared as though the plan was received positively.

"General Fong, the same question for you, but could you please offer more specifics. What, as President, would you do to make sure the Fire Nation pays for what they have done to us?"

Fong gave a short chuckle, and although it have seemed insignificant, it was a move that he practiced repeatedly in debate prep. "Well this question is relatively simple, probably the easiest decision the new President will face. We take back everything that is ours, and more." He waited for the subsequent applause to die down before continuing. "They looted our mining villages, so we'll demand every ounce of coal they have. Then we'll redistribute it evenly to the families of the communities they've robbed, with hopes that they'll stay warm over the winter. We'll then demand coal from their mines, and send it to families who lost their patriarch in the war. They are then going to hand over every document, any piece of information at all, containing the blueprints of their recent technology, specifically their tanks, jet skies, drills, and ships. We will then force them to destroy at least three-quarters of their metal weaponry, and we'll use the material back here to build our own machines. They destroyed our farms- I will demand from the Fire Lord boatloads of produce and grain, that will be sent first to those whose farms were burnt to the ground. Of course, then there's the matter of our cities which have been demolished. That's why I propose that we take former Fire Nation soldiers, and use them as labor to rebuild our destroyed homes. After all, they're the ones who caused all the pain and suffering to begin with."

The audience reacted to the slavery proposal just as Fong hoped they would, with enormous acclimation and cheering. The rest of the debate followed similarly, with Sung calling for harsh penalties on the Fire Nation that ended up looking weak compared to those of Fong. It was clear that the latter came more prepared, and he was able to skewer any point made by his opponent.

"General Sung," began the moderator. "There is now only one Airbender known to live in the world. If the Air Nomads do not revive their culture properly, many spiritual experts fear that the balance of the world will be forever loss. Do you plan on overseeing or assisting in this process?"

To Fong's surprise, the General shook his head. "I don't see why we'd go around nation-building in the Air Temples when our own country is at its knees. We are experiencing the worst economic crisis in our history, and there are millions of sons without fathers. We have neither the time nor the means to put a huge effort into rebuilding the Air Nomads.

The auditorium was quiet, lacking any applause whatsoever. General Fong looked shell-shocked, appearing to be astonished by what Sung had just suggested. "How can we restore our title as world leaders if we aren't even willing to extend a helping hand to a culture that's almost extinct? Giving a cold shoulder to people who need our help? That is not the Earth Nation way. The Earth Nation way is eliminating our enemies and standing up for our allies!"

"Yeah!" If it wasn't already clear that the crowd heavily favored Fong, it became so after the resounding cheers following his rebuttal. Most of the audience jumped to its feet and applauded wildly, some people waiving small Earth Kingdom flags in the air. There were a few attendees who looked more uncomfortable than anything else, perhaps realizing that their preferred candidate was in trouble.

Kumbo, armed with binders of records and documents in both hands, used his knee to knock on General How's door. It was Huma who answered, someone who the campaign manager hadn't really gotten to know. She looked like she just woke up a few hours ago, snuggled up in a green robe with dark circles under her eyes.

"Hello Kumbo, how are you?" she asked without much emotion, trying to offer a smile.

"I'm doing fine, yourself? Are you feeling okay?"

The exhausted woman nodded and yawned. "They're in the kitchen." With that she stepped out of the way and gestured into her home. Kumbo entered, happy to hear the word "they're." For him, it meant that he would finally be able to meet one of his political idols. When he walked into How's kitchen, he saw the general sitting across from a large, older man. The former stopped mid-sentence and turned.

"Ah, Kumbo," he said with delight as he rose. "Come meet my father Bozilamore."

"Call me Bo," said the man with his deep, molasses voice. He stood up and extended his hand to the young aide. His grip was strong, and his hands were enormous.

"This is excellent!" Kumbo declared. "You're one of the- no, the most popular politician in the nation!"

"Well I wouldn't go that far," replied Bo with deep chuckle. "Now I would agree that I am the most popular man in the southern parts of our great land-"

"Oh you're famous up here too," insisted Kumbo. "A few weeks ago I even heard some people talking about you running for President."

"Really? I'll be damned." The man inhaled deeply and beamed at his son. "Well now I'm gonna do everything I can to help my boy win that position. If there's anyone in this darn country who can take on the huge challenge ahead of us, it's him."

"Agreed," said Kumbo with a nod. "General How, did you tell your father our plan?"

"Actually no," conceded the candidate. "He just arrived a few minutes before you."

"Very well then," the young strategist turned to his new ally. "Would you mind preparing a few remarks for tomorrow morning to -"

Bo, a master politician, had read Kumbo's mind and finished his thought. "A speech tomorrow to not only combat anything Lao might say tonight but to also destroy his momentum and flip truckloads of Liberals to our side."

"Yeah, pretty much," uttered the stunned campaign manager.

How rose from his chair and clapped. "Excellent. I'll appear on stage with you and then we'll depart for Omashu together. This is going to be one chaotic week."

Unbeknownst to the three men, Huma had just entered the room to put some fancy dishes back in a drawer. Her head jerked up at her husband. "You're leaving? To Omashu? Tomorrow? When were you planning on telling me?" Bo and Kumbo looked down, afraid of what was coming.

How's stomach twisted. "Well we really just scheduled that trip recently. I was going to-"

"And you'll be gone until?"

"Until next week. We're going to visit some other-"

"So it didn't cross your mind that your wife may be interested in knowing that you would be gone an entire week? I like to make plans to, you know."

"Huma, you can come to of course."

"Oh how wonderful! I'm allowed to join you on your little politics adventure! What a kind offer! Maybe I'm just feeling a bit down because I didn't want to be campaigning in some other city during our anniversary!" Tears filled her eyes, and How shut his eyes in anguish upon hearing this. He and Huma's anniversary had completely skipped his mind.

"We're going to be together-"

"Right. And we'll also be around hundreds of strangers the whole time. What about Taru? Is he going to take care of the house while we're gone? Do you ever think of anything?!" With that, she threw a ceramic dish on the ground, where it shattered, and stomped out of the room- out of the house, actually. How collapsed into his chair when he heard the door slam."

Bo, who had been standing by awkwardly to witness the entire fight, offered his son some advice. "Alright How, I know how much stress politics can put on people. Yeah, this is pretty rough, but don't you worry none. Huma ain't gonna leave you over something like this."

How stared hopelessly into the man's eyes. "Is that what you said about Mom?"

The charismatic leader shook his head. "You've got bigger things to worry about, Son. Let's do some practicing for the debate. I think we agreed that your aide here would be Lao and I would ask some likely questions."

"You're right. I have to focus on this election for now."

Night had fallen over Ba Sing Se. After hours of debate practice, in which his father asked him all sorts of questions ranging from trade policy with the Water Tribes to domestic farming regulations, How felt prepared for his Liberal Party primary debate against the esteemed Lao Beifong, a man who the general did not feel was anywhere near competent enough to restore the Earth Nation.

"How do I look," inquired How of his campaign manager.

"Like someone who's ready to lead our country," replied Kumbo without hesitation.

The candidate chuckled. "Good answer. On a serious note, did you happen to see if my wife was in the audience?"

The man paused before answering. "I'm afraid not, Sir. I have no idea where Huma is, or Taru for that matter. They're probably out to dinner or something. That's much less stressful than watching your husband debate. Do you remember the seven points?"

How stared off in deep thought. "I'm supposed to focus on Lao Beifong when there's the possibility that my wife just walked out on me, taking my son with her."

Kumo understood his boss's situation, but he had to do his job. "Sir, I know how difficult this is, but think about the country..."

"I know. You're right. The seven points are: never look down, watch Lao with a half-smile when he gives answers, talk directly to the moderator when answering, entertain Lao's jokes even when they're attacks, bring some issues close to home and get passionate with emotion, offer quick fact-checks when Lao says something that isn't true, and never get flustered."

"Excellent. Remember, no matter how elegantly Beifong states something, voters have to know the ugly truth behind what he's saying. Call him on his B.S."

"Understood. The Beifong Farming Union was a complete failure and drove farm owners to bankruptcy, half of his investments went to failed business, and he never once donated to the military."


"His company bought out others and some people were fired." General How couldn't sound any less enthusiastic when he said this.

"Is something wrong?"

"Is that last one even true? And if it is, should we be attacking entrepreneurship? It seems to be as though people being fired is a natural part of business..."

Kumbo's eyes widened, and he shook his head desperately. "No, no, no, no. Everything checks out. We've already ordered a few copies of a poster with that attack. No turning back now. Besides, this is hardly the time to doubt our own campaign."

"Very well then," said a reluctant How.

Not too far away, Lao Beifong stood in his fancy emerald and gold campaign tent, flanked by his wife Poppy and a few of his business colleagues.

"Poppy, dear. Are you willing to cry if How swings at me hard?"

"-Lao," cut in the man's chief attack dog. "I just dug up some new info on How. His wife's completely left him, chased away by his aggressiveness and demeanor. I'd say the people of this city prefer a principled man with family values, wouldn't you?"

"If the topic comes up in the debate, then yes. It seems risky to bring that up out of the blue."

"I couldn't agree more."

A teenaged girl with a clipboard rushed into the tent. "Mr. Beifong, twenty seconds."

-"General How, 15 seconds."

Lao offered the girl a warm smile, and something else caught his attention: the voice of the moderator. "A wonderfully familiar voice that is! What a gift for me!"

-The former Council of Five leader suddenly looked distraught. "I hear the moderator, it can't be!" He glanced at Kumbo, who nodded sadly and said. "You have to look confident when you walk out there." How would've responded but he was rushed to a grandiose stage decorated with flags, banners, a painting of both himself and Lao Beifong, and two podiums facing the desk of his arch-nemesis in the media. It was her, the woman who was the source of her family problems. The General detested her with his entire sole, but he had to look past his hatred for the duration of the debate.

Lao smiled and laughed, waving and pointing at the his audience as he calmly made his way up a few small steps to the stage, where he saw General How approaching him, quite predictably wearing his military uniform. Lao could tell that his opponent had a certain presence to him. He seemed self-assured and prepared, far from what Lao heard about his entrance speech. It was obvious that the General had found himself a good coach.

The two men clashed in the center with a firm handshake and the most insincere smile that either of them had ever given, sharing salutations such as "Great to see you," when the exact opposite was true. How then glimpsed at Tanowa, who was starting them both down with her own version of a forced smile. He caught her eye, then immediately looked away and took his spot behind the podium to the right. He looked beyond the moderator to the enormous crowd. Stands were erected all around the stage, and they were filled by what could have easily been 500 Middle Ring citizens. How was told that outside of the set up, there were thousands more, waiting to for Ba Sing Se Times interns to relay what was being said by the candidates. Seizing up the attendees made it clear to How why Lao was dressed in the apparel he was. He looked like a more successful version of them, perhaps sending the message that he can help them be successful.

Tanowa turned to the stands behind her. "Good evening and welcome to the Liberal Party primary debate, hosted and sponsored by the Ba Sing Se Times. Clear. Fair. The Full Story." How was able to withhold his laugh after hearing the newspaper's slogan. "Because of the size of our wonderful audience, I ask that the candidates amplify their voices as best they can without shouting. I also ask that, since the stakes are so high with our nation's first election, that both Mr. Beifong and General How avoid pandering and going off topic, and instead offer specific, detailed solutions and answers to my questions."

Lao nodded and said, "Of course," while How didn't react. This prompted Tanowa to ask "Are you fine with that, General How?"

An attack disguised as a question, How thought. "For you, Tanowa? Anything." A few laughs were heard throughout the stands. Kumbo would be proud.

"Gentlemen, I want to start tonight, of course, with the Fire Nation. Mr. Beifong, you'll go first, what would your policy be when it comes to dealing with the Fire Nation in the aftermath of The War?"

Lao cleared his voice. "Thank you Tanowa and thank you General How for being here tonight. I'd also like to thank our terrific audience... the most effective way to handle our former enemy is to impose tough economic reparations that would not only cripple their economy but boost ours. We have to add a new tariff on goods coming from the Fire Nation, because to me it makes sense that we should be more open to trade with the Water Tribes, who stood with us for 100 years, then with the country that tried to end us. I would also demand payment to cover the damages caused to Ba Sing Se during the liberation and for all of our tanks as well. One of my first moves as President would be to sit down with the Fire Lord and demand as much financial aid as they can offer before they collapse entirely."

A few audience members clapped as interns scribbled down what they heard to go tell the people outside. Tanowa turned to How. "General How, your turn."

The General looked directly at Lao. "So you're saying that the best way to help our economy is to discourage the Fire Nation from trading with us?"

Tanowa cut in. "General, the candidates are not permitted to ask-"

"Is the best way to boost our economy to discourage the Fire Nation from trading with us?" This time, he raised his eyebrows, waiting for a response.

Lao laughed and rolled his head back. "General, you should know that the Fire Nation must be punished."

"But what's the point of punishing a nations whose government has sworn the utmost loyalty and support to us, especially when that punishment will also harm our own economy. There is no benefit to this proposed tariff of yours."

"General, I asked for your specific plans..." Tanowa seemed almost angry.

"Well of course. The truth maybe something Mr. Beifong among Generals Fong and Sung deny, is that Firelord Zuko has acknowledged that it is his duty to help rebuild the world, and he's already promised to offer assistance. I'm not going to impose some kind of economic reparation that would end up hurting both of our nations. I'm going to work with Firelord Zuko, as well as Chiefs Arnook and Hakoda and Avatar Aang. We'll receive the aid that our struggling country requires, but I'm not going to go as far as Mr. Beifong and our friends at the Patriots' Party would. That being said, I'm not going to be as weak as King Kuei currently is. We can get the Fire Nation to agree to reasonable action. For instance, I believe that their soldiers should be right in the middle of the effort to reconstruct our cities and re-plant our crops, but I'm not going to 'cripple' their nation as Mr. Beifong has proposed. That would only end up hurting us in the event that we should need their help, which happens to be right now."

How could sense from the crowd's reaction that they agreed with him in that squabble, as the applause was louder and longer lasting. Most of the evening followed a similar pattern. One candidate would answer the question, then the other would criticize it during their speaking time, and then the two would bicker for a while without much intervening from Tanowa- except for times she allowed Lao to speak when it was technically How's turn. That bothered the General, but he was cautious not to get flustered or complain, and he felt comfortable that he had been winning.

"General How, the economy is arguably weaker than it has ever been. We all know that Mr. Beifong is considered the candidate with the most business experience and financial credentials. Could you get our country's fiscal house in order better than your Liberal primary opponent could?"

How paused for a moment, amazed at the lengths the moderator would go to in order to help Lao. This question didn't even sound fair, and surely the audience noticed the blatant bias. Perhaps he could play off that. "You know, Tanowa, I took it seriously when you asked us to refrain from nonsensical answers, so I wish you would quit it with the ridiculous questions."

The crowd lit up with cheers and wild praise after How's retort. Tanowa glared at him as she waited for them to calm down. "Sir, with all do respect, that is a very valid question-"

"It was a valid question if the purpose of this debate was for you to attack me. That seems to be your goal: to go get How. Well, here you tried to get me. That was a... a- a gotcha question!" The audience went nuts with even more wild applause at this term. It appeared as though they had the same sentiments of the media as he did. It was Lao who replied, which How felt only further proved his unspoken alliance with the journalist.

"That's very cute of you General, but it's completely unnecessary and irrelevant to this campaign. You can't fix an unstable economy with well-practiced debate lines." The debate goers who had now applauded How then jumped to their feet, thrilled at Lao's comeback. The man simply continued to look at How, and he opened his mouth to continue.

"Tanowa raised a very serious question that I assure everyone here has pondered. You simply do not have a business record. I do. Your service in the military is much appreciated-"

"If you appreciate our soldiers so much Lao, then why did you never once donate to our armed services? Are you to tell me that you could not afford to?" The audience gasped at this zinger.

"That's not true General How."

"Really? The records suggest otherwise."

"Then everyone here will just have to do their own research." The wealthy businessman paused, expecting How to reply.

"Please proceed, Mr. Beifong."

"The point is, I'm the one who has a plan to get the economy back on track. We aren't in a war; we don't need a war expert. We need an economy expert." How became nervous when he heard decent applause after Lao's point, but he remembered his seven debate tips and kept his eyes locked on his opponent, with his face bearing a confident smirk.

"I have a clear plan," Lao went on. "I'm going to cut taxes for everyone in this ring, the middle class. My next step is to slightly raise the amount that our nation's wealthiest pay. People like me can afford to pay a little extra."

"-But not to our soldiers who are fighting for us, right? This raise the taxes on the wealth stuff, is that what you talked about at the donor reception you spoke at in the Upper Ring just yesterday?"

"Of course it is. We need a man who can tell people to their face that they have to pay their fair share." How wanted to claim that this wasn't true, but he had no evidence, so he let Lao carry on. Meanwhile, the audience seemed very satisfied with what they were hearing from the businessman. "Now General How, you have not outlined a specific plan for our economy."

"I have. That isn't true."

"Then go ahead, what is it? Name three points."

General How stammered a bit. "Uh eh, Tanowa-"

The moderator suddenly remembered she had a job to do. "General, could you outline three points?"

"Well sure," How was nervous; economics was not anywhere near his strong suit. "Finally trading with the Southern Water Tribe will be back in business so we have to invest in new ships, and ask- no, demand- to see the blueprints for the Fire Nation's advanced ships. The second thing is that, on top of the Fire Nation robbing our coal mines, our own government has been imposing crushing regulations on them that have hurt jobs, regulations that Mr. Beifong supports-" Lao shook his head but said nothing. "-And so what I plan to do is eliminate these regulations so that coal miners, like the brave Commander Tyro who fought fearlessly to save his village, can get on with their lives and live above the poverty rate for the first time. Thirdly, we spend huge chunks of gold funding the, um..." How's eyes grew a mile wide. His father, Bo, had alerted of some wasteful program that needed to end, but he was completely blanking on its name. "The umm, we have to stop spending so much money on programs we don't need."

Tanowa pressed him. "You seemed like you had a specific program in mind..."

"Yes, the ummm... ... ... I forgot." How tried to shake off his humiliating mistake with a laugh. "Oops."

Lao saw his opportunity and seized it. "So you don't even know what your own plan is."

How knew that if he couldn't come up with a perfect response, his chances of winning the election would be over then and there. The audience responded best whenever he appeared angry, so that was his best shot. "Listen Lao," he said with emotion, "Do you honestly believe that when a mother got word of her husband's death in the war and had to keep her three kids alive with her job in the coal mine, without enough food, when their house was burnt to the ground, that she said 'Thank Spirits, there are rich businesspeople like Lao Beifong?' Hell no they didn't! She said 'Thank Spirits I have our men in uniform dying to protect my family' and 'Thank Spirits I live in a community where we work together to get things done!"

This was unquestionably the greatest line of the night, and everyone in the stands was brought to their feet, cheering and hollering for the solid truth that How just explained. "That's the way we're going to fix our economy! Together! We aren't going to do it by giving all the power to a few people at the top! We're going to do it by helping out our struggling farmers! Our coal miners! Our soldiers! That's How we're going to heal this broken country!"

Lao tried to ignore the massive praise erupting all around him. Instead, he jotted down a few things on the notepad both candidates were provided and waited for the cheering to subside. "Like I said, clever lines are not going to help the Earth Kingdom."

How grimaced. "I think you mean Earth Nation, Mr. Beifong." With that, How was sure that he had not only made a comeback from his embarrassing gaffe but possibly even won the debate.

Before Tanowa could move on to the next question, a frail man in his sixties scampered to her desk and whispered in her ear. Her face turned white, and her mouth hung open after she gasped. "That can't be," she said back at the man, apparently after hearing something completely incredulous. "Not murder, it couldn't have been murder! Bumi's beloved. This can't be true!"


  • ZhongCheng is the Chinese word for "loyal."
  • The Patriot's Party primary debate was attended by 300 to reference the 300 men who supposedly fought and died to defend Sparta.
  • The song before the Patriot's Party rally is based on and to the tune of "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue" by Toby Keith.
  • "Shuten Shogai" is a reference to Avatar: Energy Saga
  • Lines during the debate between Lao and How were inspired by Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry.

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