[ Music ]
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Now, let’s get back to the show and our host, Esen Landari!
[ Applause ]
Welcome back. Still here with me is Imperator candidate Titus Costigan. Glad the first part of the interview didn’t scare you off.
TITUS COSTIGAN: Not in the least. I always enjoy our conversations, Esen.
That’s because we’ve only had a few. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I have a handful of good stories and two solid anecdotes, but after I burn through those, I don’t bring much to the table.
TITUS COSTIGAN: [ Laughs ] I know several of your friends, and I’d bet that ‘boring’ would be one of the last words they’d use to describe you.
Only because they’d use words like ‘vapid’ and ‘insufferable’ first.
[ Laughter ]
Now, before the break we were talking about what you’d like to accomplish in your first 100 days as Imperator. You mentioned deregulation to spur economic growth, how you’re gonna increase our reliance on militias, and you promised that you’d not be getting a pet. Did I miss anything?
TITUS COSTIGAN: I could go through all hundred days one day at a time if you want?
Yeah, that’d be great. What’s for lunch on day 53?
TITUS COSTIGAN: Meal bar. Same thing, every day. For dinner I love to get complicated, but in the middle of the workday, I tend to keep it simple.
Fuel for the fire.
TITUS COSTIGAN: Exactly. It’s all about getting as much done with each day as possible. I’m hopeful that my first 100 would go down as some of the most productive in the Empire. Without getting too mired in specifics, my main focus would be reducing waste, financial and bureaucratic, and maximizing returns. The Militia Mobilization Initiative has been a great recent example of that: safer systems for less credits. So expanding the MMI could save the empire a lot over the next decade.
Now, I watched a lot of your interviews in preparation for this and I was frankly surprised that no one asked you the most important question: why?
TITUS COSTIGAN: The projections we have been getting back have been very positive—
No, why do you want to be Imperator?
TITUS COSTIGAN: Yeah, you’re right, no one really asks me that.
I’m always curious because on the surface it seems like a pretty terrible job. Everyone is always criticizing you, you get the blame for everything bad that happens, and when something good does happen, there’s a line of people around the block waiting to say it was definitely not because of you. Why switch from running a successful business to sign up for the most stressful ten years of your life?
TITUS COSTIGAN: I don’t think this question gets asked enough because it’s easy to dodge by simply saying that you want to help people.
And that’s not your thing?
TITUS COSTIGAN: Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely is, but I’m already helping people each and every day. My foundation, Better Together, provides everything from free daycare and meals to adult education and on the job training for millions of people. I firmly believe that the private sector and individuals are often better at directly helping people than the government. If that’s your main goal, then becoming Imperator probably isn’t the most effective way to achieve it.
So if helping people isn’t the primary purpose of being Imperator, then what is?
TITUS COSTIGAN: There’s an important distinction here that I don’t want to get lost. The actions of an Imperator can absolutely help or even harm individuals, and those outcomes need to be considered when making any decision, but what I’ve learned is that the true power of the position is its ability to make structural reforms that can strengthen the Empire for generations.
For example, an Imperator could handle a famine in Fora by simply redirecting emergency food supplies, but that approach would be expensive and do nothing to address the root of the problem. On the other hand, an Imperator could bring together concerned members from the public and private sector to coordinate a relief plan that immediately provides aid, lowers fees to incentivize haulers to make deliveries there, builds more food processing factories in-system, increases investments into research focused on drought-resistant crops, and more. Being able to coordinate and affect that level of change is the true power of the position. I believe a good Imperator should not only think about how they can help now, but also how they can help the generations that will come after.
[ Applause ]
You still haven’t answered my question about why you want to be Imperator.
TITUS COSTIGAN: To help people, obviously.
[ Laughter ]
TITUS COSTIGAN: But, honestly, I want to be Imperator because I believe that my experience, focus, and commitment can help transform the Empire into a better institution for all. And if that’s true, then I have an obligation to try and do just that.
Speaking of experience, you’re on the verge of being elected Imperator, yet you’ve never held public office before. Does that ever concern you?
TITUS COSTIGAN: Not at all. One thing I’ve learned from watching my father’s administration is that nothing can truly prepare you for being Imperator. No job in the universe compares to it, so it doesn’t make a difference if one candidate has zero public sector experience and another has exclusively that. On day one of the next administration, whoever’s been elected will essentially be learning to be Imperator on the job.
How is your father by the way? Have you talked to him recently?
TITUS COSTIGAN: We chatted a few days ago. Really wish we could speak more frequently, but with me on the campaign trail and him focused on instituting some important reforms before his term ends, it can be tough coordinating our schedules.
No plans for the two of you to hang out on Imperator’s Day?
TITUS COSTIGAN: We both have events scheduled that day. I’ll be holding a rally in the Ellis system on Kampos, and my dad will be the master of ceremonies for the annual Imperator’s Day celebration on Earth.
Doesn’t seem fair to make him work on a day that celebrates him. You don’t see me working on Esen Day.
TITUS COSTIGAN: When’s Esen Day?
That’s up to you when you become Imperator, hint hint.
TITUS COSTIGAN: My dad loves telling everyone that Imperator Day isn’t about him or any other specific Imperator. That it’s meant to celebrate the moment Humanity came together under one government to aid our expansion into the stars and create a better future for us all.
It used to be called Council Day, right?
TITUS COSTIGAN: That’s right. I’m impressed you remembered that.
See, I know important stuff too, besides all the hot unaired gossip about the cast of Love Liner.
TITUS COSTIGAN: Wait… do you know what really went down between Dominico and Safa?
I’ll fill you in after the show, but first I have to ask, why hasn’t your father endorsed you for Imperator?
TITUS COSTIGAN: I can’t speak for him, but I fully support his decision to remain neutral and not endorse any candidate in this election. When I decided to run, I knew it would put him in a very unusual spot, so I made it clear to him that I would not ask for or expect his endorsement. And left it in his hands to determine what course would be best.
Still, it must be strange to not have your father’s support during this critical time in your life.
TITUS COSTIGAN: Both of us are quite good at compartmentalizing, and neither of us have allowed what’s happening in our professional life to affect our personal relationship. At the end of the day, he’s my dad first and foremost and I know that nothing about this election will change that.
Speaking of endorsements, you’re running as a Universalist, yet the party has officially endorsed the other Universalist still in the race, High-Secretary Illyana Sharrad. Why have you stuck with a party that won’t back you?
TITUS COSTIGAN: I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they don’t back me. The party has a long-standing tradition of endorsing one candidate in the hopes their voters consolidate around that choice. For this election, they decided to back High-Secretary Sharrad, who’s an incredible and impressive candidate. I would’ve loved their endorsement, but she’s been an active party member far longer than I, so I completely understand why they picked her over me.
Their endorsement of Sharrad happened months ago, giving you and your campaign plenty of time to redefine yourself as an independent candidate instead. Why didn’t you do that?
TITUS COSTIGAN: It felt disingenuous. I’m a registered member of the Universalist Party, and my core beliefs mainly fall in line with theirs, so why hide it? Maybe it would’ve been politically advantageous, but I am who I am and I believe what I believe, and I felt it would be best to be honest with the electorate about exactly where I stand.
It’s been a pleasure having you on. Would love to have you back on the show whether you win or not.
TITUS COSTIGAN: Hopefully when I win, and only if you tell me what’s really going on behind the scenes on Love Liner.
Deal. Imperator candidate Titus Costigan.
[ Applause ]
We need to take a quick commercial break, but then Starburst Collective will join us to play a song of their new album. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it. There’s more SET coming your way, right after this.