Well, folks, it is finally here, the day we had all hoped would give us our lives back, Wednesday, 20 January 2021. Inauguration Day. Or what would have been inauguration day. Instead, it’s just another day of life in a nearly four million square mile prison.
Remember how excited we were a year ago? Or even a few short months ago? It was an election year, Trump’s base had dwindled to a scant 30% or so, and all the polls were predicting a huge win for the democratic team of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. For the first time since Barack Obama left office the majority of us were once again hopeful. Hopeful that the United States would re-join the Paris Climate Agreement, would re-implement regulations on the coal, oil, gas, auto and other industries to cut way back on carbon emissions. We would Tear Down That Wall that was built without our consent or advice last year. We had hope that our voices would once again be heard and count for something.
Then came that fateful Friday, November 1st 2020 … just four short days before the election. I remember waking to see the blue light flashing on my phone, reaching for glasses and phone, nearly knocking the lamp off the night table in the process. I immediately knew something terrible had happened, for there were “Breaking News!” updates … no less than five of them … from WaPo, NYT, Reuters, The Guardian, and my local news station.
“Breaking News! Donald Trump has declared a State of National Emergency, claiming that North Korea is planning to launch nuclear missiles aimed at the United States.”
My heart stopped, but not because I was afraid of North Korea lobbing nukes at us. Heck, they couldn’t hit their target if they tried, and although tensions had been on the rise between our two countries, there had been nothing to indicate this level of conflict. In fact, my best guess is that the tensions were manufactured by Trump and Kim Jong-un. No, I was afraid for another reason. I knew. I just knew that the next move, or the one after that, would be to ‘postpone’ or cancel next week’s elections. Trump, after all, studied under the best … Putin and Erdoğan.
And then, sure enough, like clockwork on Monday morning, the day before what would have been election day, more breaking news …
“Breaking News! Donald Trump has announced that tomorrow’s elections will be postponed indefinitely due to the ongoing threat of war by North Korea. Stay tuned …”
And a few hours later, this …
“Breaking News! There has been an unsubsta …
Then nothing. I well remember trying to log onto The Washington Post … nothing but a little circle twirling round and round, and finally … “This site cannot be reached at this time – please try again later.” The New York Times … same thing. I tried BBC, Reuters and about ten other news sites … nothing. I stepped outside … the world looked normal … no tanks in the street, no sound of military jets overhead, no big mushroom clouds on the horizon. But the world was not normal and never would be again.I paced. I texted my daughter … no reply. I tried to call her … no answer. I simply had to know what was happening! I tried Facebook … I was able to log on, and everything appeared normal, but there were no recent posts by any of my friends, and when I tried to use Messenger to get a message to one of my friends in the UK, a message popped up saying “This service is temporarily unavailable.”
In the two-and-a-half months since that fateful day, we have been largely isolated from any credible news. I am occasionally able to receive worried emails from friends in the UK, Australia and Canada telling me what little they know, but those messages are few and far between, and they bring no hope – only more despair. Life goes on. I clean house, cook, and most of all I’ve kept writing. The grocery stores and shopping malls are still open, and one could almost believe that this is all a figment of my imagination. People seem to go on about their daily business without even noticing. Perhaps I appear that way too.
I have written every day, although WordPress was shut down in early November, so my words are silent cries. Today would have seen the inauguration of President Joe Biden had our republic been allowed to survive the reign of Donald Trump. I can no longer live in this nation, a nation where we are no longer free people. I am leaving my writings from the past months in the hands of my daughter, in hopes that someday she can find a way to send them to a friend across the pond who will know what to do with them. Rest in Peace, United States of America.
United States of America, July 4, 1776 – November 5, 2020
Note to readers: The above is, I hope, a work of fiction, a figment of my over-active mind. Let’s all do whatever we can to keep it a work of fiction and never let this become our reality.