“The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful, and to despise or at least neglect persons of poor and mean condition…[is] the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.” – Adam Smith
Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” meets the frightening “Ghost of Christmas Future”as a foretelling of what the world would be like if Scrooge (and those like him) would continue lives of utter disregard for humanity.
So changed he was by this vision, that, upon waking he became known as one of the most generous, caring people in town.
I invite you to use this Dickens technique and peer into the next four years, a.k.a. The Time of Trump.
Recalling Trump’s rally tirades, Twitter-babble, and statements by cabinet nominees, it doesn’t take much imagination to conger up a haunting ghost of what shall be…unless our collective ways are changed…by us.
Join me, as our ghost spirits us to a near-future American landscape, dodging toxic fumes of “clean coal” fired plants, across once-pristine tundras now pocked by oil drilling rigs feeding endless pipelines with that unmistakable petroleum-spill odor.
We soar above cities where infrastructures are falling into further ruin because tax dollars (from the working middle class) are diverted into the multi-theater war efforts which, under the guise of crushing ISIS and other “threats to American freedom,”are actually military actions to protect countries where Trump has his towers and investments.
We see our nation’s streets turned combat zones as peaceful protests escalate into armed conflicts put down, Kent State – style, by police and National Guard units, with live ammo.
Inside arenas, arrogant, militant hate speeches call out “No Lives Matter” unless they are White and Alt-Right!
Then, as if in lock-step, the crowds spill into this future America torching mosques, synagogues and Black churches.
Below, we scarcely hear the faint, bewildered appeals from evangelical pulpits, pleading, “Can’t we just all get along?” “Let’s try to find some common ground.” “Don’t we really all want the same thing?”
As these scenes multiply, city-by-city, we find millions herded into open trucks heading for the border, with desperate children running after them shouting, “No. No. Mama. Papa.”
Our journey pauses at a tenement building. We are told to “look through any window.” We see people counting out their less-than-living wages trying to feed the kids, pay the now unregulated utility bills, with eviction notices posted on their doors.
There is something…a sound…getting louder and louder as we fly over city and town, urban and rural. It is unmistakable wailing.
“Quickly move on,” we beg the ghost. “It is too disturbing! Too frightening. Too deafening.”
“You must hear it,” says the guide. “You must and never forget it. It is the cry of the mother, sister, brother, father who lost another to a shooting.It is the new sound track of America. It is the Second Amendment trumping ‘the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ ”
Though the sky is dark, no moon, no stars to light the way, we see flashing reds and blue beams below. We see bodies put into vans and others rounded up into police wagons heading off to jail.
“It’s called the new ‘stop and frisk,’ ” says the ghost, reading our frightened faces.
By now, we cannot bear any more of this. “Make it stop,” we cry out to the Ghost of Christmas Future. “Make it go away.”
“It shall be as you see it,” the ghost replies.
“But, this is not America! This is not MY America!”
“It is YOUR America…You allowed this to happen.You thought all that election rhetoric was a joke. It is your future. Your nightmare,” the ghost chided.
“Is there is no way to change the course of events?” we ask, choking every word.
“The future is in your hands. These events need NOT unfold if you are determined in your resolve to stand up in solidarity. To be counted, no matter the cost, for this cost shall be dear,” the ghost retorts.
We wake. The ghost is gone. It is morning. Or, isn’t it?
The Unlikely Student.