Title: Utopia

Rating: PG
Summary: to preserve the dream of "no where"

Note: I got most of the info from my Social Studies Teacher Mr. Chittick, who's my guru in Politics and international info. All the statistics are true and the quote from the President from Tanzania. Please read and review.

Utopia

It was five thirty in the morning but at the White House time was irrelevant. Hours and minutes merged together and if home was measured by how much time you spent there, most would say it was their office or the executive hallway.

Sam Seaborn certainly knew what that meant; the Deputy Communications Director was walking into his office, after spending only three hours at his apartment sleeping. He was going to need a very strong cup of coffee if the day was shaping up as badly as he thought it would.

"Hey Sam," Bonnie greeted him from her desk as the disheveled Seaborn walked in.

"Morning," Sam grunted and opened his office door while juggling the mounds of papers and his briefcase. "Get my schedule for me, would ya?"

"Sure," Bonnie nodded. Sam sat down at his desk with a sigh and Bonnie followed inside a second later, holding an agenda book in front of her.

"Well, you're pretty free today."

"Really? There's a phenomenon. Remind me to rub it in Josh's face later."

"Right," Bonnie said without flinching. "There's a delegation from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania coming today to meet with the president and the FDA."

"About the AIDS thing?" Sam asked.

"Yup," Bonnie nodded.

"Well I guess I should do some reading then," Sam sighed.

"You want me to get you some more infromation on the meeting?" Bonnie asked.

"The African thing? Yeah."

"Okay, be right back," Bonnie nodded and left.

Sam rubbed his eyes and shuffled some of the papers on his desk. Bonnie then came back in with what looked like five hundred pages of files.

"That's all the African thing?" Sam's mouth dropped.

"It's a big thing," Bonnie shrugged.

Meanwhile, not too far away, Joshua Lyman was getting things sorted in his own office. However, unlike his best friend Sam, he had a lot to do that day. He—being the Deputy Chief of Staff—was asked to sit in at the meeting with the delegation from the countries in Africa. He had a foot on his desk chair and was tying his shoe.

"Josh," Donna—Josh's assistant—poked her head in the office.

"No, Donna," Josh groaned as if he already knew what she was going to say.

"Forgive and forget, Josh," Donna pointed out.

"No Donna," Josh said, louder now and finished tying his shoe, he stood up.

"Why not?' Donna asked, frowning. "Those countries we gave aide to in Africa are so far in debt there's no hope of them paying us back in this millennium! So why not just forget the debts?"

"Yeah, Donna, it's that simple to toss billions of dollars down the drain," Josh groaned. "We can't."

"So why not give them more money?" Donna asked and leaned against the doorway.

"Not that easy," Josh explained. "When we give money it comes with a lot of strings attached. Some leaders don't agree or don't like our...subtext that come with loans."

"Like that they have to vote with us when we pass an important proposition in the UN?" Donna asked.

"Yeah."

"Ridiculous."

"Oh god," Josh sighed and sat down. "This is going to take forever isn't it?"

"Answer this Josh, how come we are supposed to be the model country for diplomacy, yet we take away other countries freedoms to vote?" Donna continued, ignoring Josh's statement.

"Because then we're just going to be giving away millions of your tax dollars without getting in exchange," Josh said. "Oh and by the way, you weren't nearly this concerned when Mexico collapsed."

"That...that was different!" Donna shouted.

"Oh how? All I see are countries in need," Josh sighed.

"You just created your own paradox, Joshua Lyman," Donna said haughtily. "I leave you to lye in it."

"Leave good, go," Josh said and shut the door quickly after Donna left, then he thought about what she had said. He had shot down the Africa idea but raised Mexico. "Damn," he muttered realizing just what paradox Donna was talking about. "Damn."

"One in Three Toby!"

"Sam..."

"One in Three! Do you have any idea how crippling that is statistically!"

Toby Ziegler looked up from his work at Sam, who was gesturing wildly.

"Sam, how long has it taken you to find all this out?" Toby asked dryly.

"I was reading this morning...a lot in fact," Sam said slowly. "But hey, that's just Botswana, it's one in five in Kenya. One in five adults, by the way, not children."

"Sam, how many people have you been loading up with this information?' Toby asked.

"Anyone I found, why?"

"Just wondering," Toby mumbled. "How long did it take them to throw you out?"

"I can see you're not interested."

"Yeah."

"I'll go."

"Okay."

Sam turned and left the office and found the one person he could definitely share this information with, Donna Moss.

"Hey Donna, did you know what one in three adults in Botswana are infected with AIDS?" Sam asked.

"No," Donna said slowly. "I knew it was a lot though...but didn't I just here some organizations were donating the AIDS cocktails?"

"Yeah, but see in Africa they have a radically different view of time then here in the States," Sam explained as they walked. "They don't live by the clock like we do, dividing everything evenly. If you talk to a Kenyan they speak for hours. Oh, and if you interrupt them they get offended."

"So the medication has to do with this because...?"

"For the AIDS cocktail to work it needs to be taken at precise hours of the day," Sam went on. "Otherwise it does pretty much nothing."

"Ah, I see."

"I think I'm going to go pitch it to Leo," Sam said.

"What?' Donna asked.

"That we should get more actively involved in the AIDS thing," Sam gestured.

"While you're in there, mention the lending money thing," Donna pointed.

"You're right," Sam nodded.

As the two were talking Josh approached and walked between them.

"Okay, you conspirators, come with me," Josh said and continued walking.

"Where are we going?" Sam asked.

"You guys who were so interested in getting involved in the African thing, we're going to see Leo."

"About what?' Donna asked.

"So you guys can ask to sit in the meeting."

"I don't want to sit in the meeting, I have other work to do," Sam protested.

"Solitaire doesn't count."

"I have a very high score, thank you very much."

The three walked into Leo's office and found the chief of staff reading at his desk. He glanced up at them skeptically.

"Yes?" he asked slowly.

"Donna and Sam are interested in Africa and want to know if they can sit in at the conference," Josh said, grinning. This was—partly—his pay back.

"Yeah, I heard from quiet a few staffers already who have talked to guys and gotten their fair share of information," Leo sighed and rubbed his eyes. "Sam, you want to help people when we are already doing almost all we can. Can we do more? Probably, but I won't debate that with you right now. We're debating that in the Roosevelt room right now with African leaders. Donna, you want to lend out money when we're already stretched. Right now the United States gives out less than 1% of aide to African countries. 1% of our budget. That's low right?"

"Really low," Donna nodded.

"The truth is, they don't want it," Leo explained. "Because of our terms of lending money, they don't want it. The former President of Tanzania put it perfectly when he said, "We are poor because we are poor. So what are we to do?" African countries are running out of options, we can help guide but I don't think you guys are going to get the drastic changes you want."

"I figured as much," Sam admitted. 'I guess I just went into my activist mode."

"I don't blame you," Leo nodded. "I found out and I was angry too. As if it should be made illegal for people to have to suffer like this. But you have to realize what I realized. You know what Utopia means, the word, Utopia, translated?"

"No," Donna whispered.

"No where," Leo said slowly. "Utopia means no where. Paradise is no where. We don't live in a perfect world where no one suffers and we can fix things in a snap."

"Thanks Leo, for that Depression note," Josh muttered.

"Like it or not that's how we live," Leo shrugged. "And how Africa will live until things change. We'll try though; we'll try to fix it because that's our nature. We're the world's police, the ones who protect the small kids from the bullies."

"To protect the dream of a Utopia," Sam, ever the poetic writer, said. "The dream of that perfect "no where."

 

 

 

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