An essay by our member, William:
August 25, 2019
The country is in the third year of the Jeb Bush presidency. It is in the midst of the hottest summer on record, with temperatures in the 100’s in many states. Climatologists who three years before warned that the “tipping point” on climate change was close to being reached unless drastic measures were taken, now state that it is virtually impossible to stop it. Republicans in Congress have gutted every environmental law and control previously on the books, and coal emissions have skyrocketed. Fracking has extended to both coastlines, and the Alaskan National Preserve. Pollution covers most American cities, in some cases worse than in the 1970’s, before the former EPA air quality standards were in place. The intense heat of course holds the pollutants in the atmosphere longer. Asthma, emphysema, and other lung diseases become epidemic.
The Food and Drug Administration has been essentially eliminated by the Republicans. Outbreaks of poisioning due to contaminated foods are becoming commonplace. Some state governors have warned their citizens that they cannot guarantee the safety of any food or drug on the market, and that extreme care must be taken.
Social Security benefits have substantially diminished, under the cuts decreed by Bush and his Republican dominated Congress. In his Inauguration Speech, Bush vowed to end Social Security, saying that the country could no longer afford it, but he promised to do it over a five year period. There are to be no more new Social Security recipients beginning January 1, 2020.
Medicare benefits have been severely slashed, under the legislation which offset these cuts with a payments of up to $1,000 a year to allow the elderly to buy insurance. However, with insurance rates skyrocketing, most seniors are unable fo afford such plans, and are reportedly using the money to buy dog food to eat. Bush has promised to crack down on this fraud; and the Congressional leaders have indicated that the payments may be terminated altogether.
The stock market, which rose 500 points in the three months after Bush’s election, which conservative pundits hailed as a “Republican Rally,” has now dropped 2500 points since then, as unemployment has risen, and spending is down. Corporate profits have done well in some industries, with many more jobs being outsourced or eliminated than in previous decades. Economists believe that we are already in a recession, the depth of which is not yet known. Republicans have promised to further cut corporate taxes, which they say will stimulate the economy; even though the reduction to a 20% top rate two years before has not done so.
An article in the Washington Post, entitled, “Were We Unfair to Hillary Clinton?” has gotten some coverage, though most of the broadcast media has ignored it. The article wonders whether the media was unfair to Clinton during her campaign, ignoring most of her policy proposals, in favor of covering matters such as her email, her speaking style, and her wardrobe.
Part of the article is as follows: “It turns out that Ms. Clinton was correct when she predicted a downturn in the economy if the Republicans won the White House. She was also right when she warned that the Republicans. if given control of all three branches of government, would quickly move to end Social Security and Medicare; while most of the media scoffed at this, saying that it was just fear tactics from a candidate desperate to win. And unfortunately, her warnings that global warming would drastically increase, seem to be proving out. Perhaps we in the media paid too little attention to these policy issues, in our more pervasive coverage of personal matters.” The article goes on to say, “We may owe Ms. Clinton an apology. But whether we do or not, our hope is that we will work to improve the way the media covers campaigns in the future.”
This article drew scornful reaction from the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd. Writing on the company’s blogsite, which has taken the place of the former print editions, Dowd said that Clinton’s retirement from public life was “akin to Miss Havisham sitting in her room filled with cobwebs and stale wedding cake.” Dowd also likened Clinton to Lady Macbeth, Daisy Buchanan, Medea, the Medusa, Lizzie Borden, and any other character she could remember from her high school and college literature courses.
The broadcast media, now “All Conservative, All the Time,” hailed the raising of the chocolate ration from two grams to three.
This could all be real headlines and news from this date. Or there could be an alternate history where things are much better. Who can tell? In the words of the great Philip K. Dick, from his novel “The Man in the High Castle,” “Believe.” And realize that if it has not already happened, we might still have a chance to keep it from happening.
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