Bernie Morgan, Contributor, Part 1 of a Fictional Series
In 2008, after the Presidential election was over and liberals were victorious, conservatives in all 50 states filed petitions to secede from the Union. Their efforts were the result of frustration and unrest because their party lost the Presidency, and many Congressional and Senate seats, and they knew their radical right-wing agendas would not be going forward. However, their petitions to secede were futile. There was to be no rolling back of the clock until the election of 2016 when rabid conservatives came back into power by electing Fronald Chump and they kept their hold until 2032 when our two-party system radically changed. During Chumps’ Presidency, which only lasted 9 months before he was impeached, we became the laughing stock of the world because of his brash, arrogant persona and his empty unlikable message. We lost all our longheld allies around the world and we came close to a serious war with Mexico over Chumps’ attempt to bully their President, Enrique Peña Nieto, into building a 20-foot-high wall along the 600-plus miles of border that separates our two countries. Nieto laughed at him and called him out for the buffoon he was. Chumps’ ridiculous obviously fake combover/toupee didn’t earn him any points with sane Americans or other humans living in the rest of the world either. After he was impeached, he was replaced with his Vice President – the far right religious Hike Fence.
In 2017, Wall Street was allowed to run free again when the gains made to rein them in were repealed by the conservatives in power, and personal savings accounts, including 401ks, began to dry up. Social Security was privatized in 2018, and, by 2030, the fund was dry due to bad investments and the fact that the younger workforce had been decimated in the Pakistan/Iran/Syria/Yemen/Iraq/Afghanistan (PISYIA) wars and were, therefore, not paying into the fund. The upper 1 percent, however, continued to see their vast resources grow larger and larger. CEO salaries and bonuses continued to climb, as they had been since the late 1990s. The government-run programs of Fedicare, Fedicaid and Fricare also disappeared in 2017 because they were deemed socialist and the Affordable Care For All Act, which was fully implemented in 2014 and, thus, provided health insurance to millions who had not been covered under any plan previously, was also totally dissolved in 2017. No new government health care system replaced those insurance programs, and many citizens of all ages died due to being unable to afford expensive private healthcare. Insurance companies became more and more powerful; they continued raising premiums while lowering benefits, and they dropped millions of citizens from their rolls. Many Americans relied on dwindling public assistance because their health was bad and good jobs were scarce; they simply couldn’t afford basic necessities, and the money they had set aside over the years was all gone.
In addition, an intense battle was waged by the Republican party beginning in 2012 to outlaw all forms of contraception and all abortions – their tactics included forcing women to undergo medically unnecessary invasive vaginal probes and ultrasounds and they mandated that each woman must listen to a 5-minute Christian-based religious speech before allowing an abortion. In addition, they repeatedly voted down laws, proposed by female members of Congress, to force male members to undergo invasive penile probes before being allowed vasectomies. As a result of this relentless attack on women’s rights, contraception (including vasectomies) and abortions were banned nationwide in 2018 so hundreds of thousands of homeless, hungry children began wandering the streets in the years that followed and many starved because the parents simply could not care for them. In that same year, a law was passed that mandated only males could run for Congress. A new government program then emerged to rid the streets and alleys of these bad public relation symbols so the little ones were rounded up periodically by truckloads and supposedly carted off to a remote camp somewhere. No one seemed to care all that much; and when parents voiced their complaints, their comments fell on deaf ears. To add insult to injury, girls 12 and older were routinely subjected to mandatory “virgin” tests to determine if they had kept themselves chaste or had “done the dirty.” They were physically examined by “med-techs” who were always male and who needed no qualifications to apply for the positions and no background checks were conducted. Parents who attempted to hide their daughters from that invasive procedure were heavily fined.
Environmental activism to reduce carbon dioxide emissions reached a new intensity in 2014 and beyond. The US Supreme Court was asked to rule on a suit that demanded that the Environmental Protection Agency regulate the release of carbon dioxide as part of its air pollution responsibility, but that effort was fought tooth and nail by those same powerful lobbyists. The conservative judges on the court made sure that law never saw the light of day. In fact, conservatives continued to fight all EPA regulations and the aftermath was a USA that was dirty and nasty and mostly devoid of any wildlife. Plus, many private lands had been seized by the government, in the name of “common good,” and beautiful pastures were destroyed as thousands of miles of pipeline coming down from Canada could be installed. In addition, fracking was at an all time high and thousands of homes simply fell into sinkholes – many had families inside. (Collateral damage – no big deal.) And, to add insult to injury, the “thousands of jobs” that the pipeline was supposed to produce was a no-show. Yes, thousands were hired, but for minimum wage and with no benefits. Plus, the jobs were temporary with no guarantees that workers would have jobs the next week, or the week after that.
Rich people continued to live in gated communities and their attitude toward the poor remained the same, for many of them, as it had always been – poor people were poor because they wanted to be. Meanwhile, congressional budgets were continuously slashed to cut “entitlements” while increasing military spending. By 2025, the US had 1000-plus military bases worldwide, including in numerous countries that didn’t want us inhabiting their homelands. Around the same time, global warming reached a crisis point and extreme climate changes began wreaking serious damage to our environment and to the very air we breathed. Powerful corporate lobbyists in Washington kept efforts at bay to admit there was a problem and did nothing to stem it.
When the PISYIA war finally ended in 2030, the Democratic and Republican parties merged, and they became the Party of One (POO). A new national peacekeeping force was then created. Because the majority of healthy men and women between the ages of 20 and 55 who were not offspring of members of Congress had been either killed or maimed in the afore-mentioned wars and were no longer available for military service, the new wise leaders made the decision to draft all eligible US citizens aged 65 and older. Eligibility included all who were not totally bedridden and they were inducted to serve for a base period of 1 year with unlimited 1-year extensions possible after the first year had been served. According to the government, this decision made a lot of sense because many of the “gray grizzlies” needed a place to live, and could not necessarily count on living with grown children because of the wars’ high casualty rate. Plus, it was a proven fact that older people have lots of pent up anger and the government planned to take full advantage of that fact, even though they (as in the government) were a major reason for that anger. According to the pitch made by the government to quell an expected hostile response, US military bases had excellent barracks and dining facilities, dental and medical care would be provided because government insurance Fricare had been re-activated, and transportation was furnished, so there was little for the inductees to complain about, but complain they did. Hundreds of thousands did not want to be uprooted from their homes, even for 1 year. Also, not everyone thought military barracks were all that great and some of them could afford expensive private insurance and were paying extra dollars in the hopes of not being dropped so Fricare wasn’t a positive enticement for them. They also complained because not all inductees fulfilled their military service requirements at a government facility; many were sent elsewhere and the conditions were not as good as even being sent to live in barracks. Many of them were mad as hell.
Because of the overwhelming financial cost, the heavy toll on human life and the mass destruction of property worldwide during the PISYIA war, NATO issued a mandate in 2031 that all future domestic and/or foreign conflicts would be fought with items found around average homes, such as garden tools, (shovels and rakes, etc.) and pots and pans, can openers, and spatulas, plus broomsticks, among other acceptable items. Also, in an effort to placate the millions of golfers (who had money and influence); golf carts were on the acceptable list as military vehicles. A gun was not an allowable weapon while on military duty and/or on government property, even though home gun ownership in America was at an all-time high. Organized groups and individual gun activists fought this no-gun in battle mandate fiercely, but lost in the end. In addition, it was mandated that no hunting bows, bayonets, hunting knives, etc., were allowed and military artillery and tanks were definitely taboo. It was now a whole different ballgame and there were many unhappy new recruits including PISYIA veterans who didn’t like the new way of fighting and/or were unhappy at being drafted. In fact, a new occupy movement began with thousands of protestors camping out in Washington and across the world to protest the “new” military; specifically, the ban on conventional weapons and the ages of the new recruits. In America and in other countries, protestors shouting “Hell No, We Won’t Go” and like statements were met with fire hoses and billy clubs as they marched in cities and towns. Riots soon followed with some killed and many hurt. Many of the Iraq/Afghanistan veterans and the Vietnam vets still in relatively good health also joined the fray in their hometowns and some made the trek to Washington and the Capitol steps. However, the mandate remained and, after being drafted, inductees were placed in one of three divisions: US Border Patrol, US Cargo Inspection or US Home Guard. Females served side-by-side with males and their job duties were the same.