The Week America Died: A Fantasy

national anthem law

Blame it on climate change.

June, 2023 begin with even more record heat events throughout the country. The power grids in the south and west were straining to handle the load. Donald J. Trump, already hot under the collar, was not happy when rolling power outages cut the air conditioning to Mar-a-Lago. Diet Coke lost its appeal for him when served at room temperature. Always a fitful sleeper,  bedroom temperatures approaching 83° were similarly annoying to him. Fox and Newsmax were showing up only intermittently on his TV. But what he did see was alarming. In the same way that he was enraged when Fox called Arizona for Biden back in 2020, they were now reporting the prosecution‘s case against him for obstruction of justice pointed toward a likely conviction.

Amidst all of this, he did allow himself some satisfaction. In the past several weeks he had busied himself with messages and encouragement from his lifelong MAGA (Make America Gasp Again) troops.  They included the Loud Noise. The Oath Bleepers. And the ThreePointTwo Percenters. He knew they were with him to the bitter end. He didn’t even have to concoct the upcoming conspiracy on his own. It was they who proposed the idea and surreptitiously communicated their plans to him. Trump could just sit back and welcome the lawbreaking they outlined. He would be blameless. The Patriots would rise up one more time. Yes, sometimes in order to save the village you do first have to burn it down. Murder and mayhem resonated with him. You Tread on Me? You’re Dead to Me.

The strategy was diabolically simple. Starting on June 8, his troops would be ready to mobilize in all 50 states. Slowly and inconspicuously at first. Then building day by day.

Thursday, June 8

An ideal beginning salvo. The activists were already calling it “Let’s Go Brandon”. Designed to counteract the $958 million project established at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. Years of effort designed to keep the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes ecosystem 50 miles away. The Brandon Militia would physically transport thousands of carp northeast and release them into Lake Michigan under cover of darkness. Nothing to draw attention to themselves. Just a bunch of good old boys taking their boats out for an insidious “catch and release “. Of course it would take a few years to wreak total havoc on the fishing industry but this was a sinister approach and had the added benefit of sticking it to scientists. Electric barrier to keep out an invasive species? The money would’ve been better spent at the border to keep out the drugs, crime, and rapists Trump warned about years ago.

Friday, June 9

With rolling blackouts already occurring, it was less noticeable when hackers infiltrated Midwest power grids and began their operation. Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit were the first affected. The attacks were timed to coincide with the evening rush-hour. Residents became uneasy when 15 minutes elapsed and the air conditioning remained off. Thousands trapped in elevators. Traffic lights out. Hospitals running on generators. An hour passed. Then two. Then three. Officials did get the grid up and running by late evening so most Americans were aggravated, but no widespread panic. Shit happens, most reasoned. It was hot after all.

Saturday, June 10.

This plan went further up the command chain. It required seasoned saboteurs. Those with expertise in pulsed electromagnetic energy. Fortunately, 60 Minutes provided the roadmap in their episode explaining that Havana Syndrome first observed in 2016 now totaled over a thousand cases. Turns out it was feasible to focus microwave energy from a considerable distance on unsuspecting Americans, like those in government offices. Both inside the beltway and out in the heartland. By the end of the day, calls to 911 multiplied coast to coast. Excruciating head pain, convulsions, vertigo, etc. Many doctors recognized the signs of Havana Syndrome and most suspected foreign actors, particularly Russia for obvious reasons. Thus, the domestic terrorists responsible who had amassed the equipment ahead of time were left off Homeland Security’s growing threat level for the weekend. But a sense of dread was now building in Washington.

Sunday, June 11

Nothing says America like baseball and apple pie. Especially baseball. Loud Noise was ready to step up to the plate, both literally and figuratively. Security guards at all the major ballparks were still checking backpacks and purses, but it was often haphazard. The Loud Noise troops smuggled the fire crackers inside their pockets. The goal was not to directly harm the fans, just to exploit how everyone was on edge in public settings. Firecrackers going off unexpectedly were now routinely thought to be gunshots. In packed ballparks, a few dozen of them in the left field and right field concourses and in the bleachers resulted in the devastating stampedes. Again capitalizing on America’s divide, only stadiums in blue states were selected. Generally both coasts and Washington DC. Since “Crooked Hillary” was born in Chicago, Wrigley Field was added as a special target. The crush killed over 150 Cub fans, including many kids. Perhaps the “pro-life” former president watching on television regarded it as unfortunate collateral damage. But easily justified.

Monday, June 12

Some version of DEFCON TWO had taken hold at the White House and Congress as Monday dawned. It was evident to everyone that Trump was orchestrating all of this, despite not a single email, call or post to social media by him. Yet again, the US government was caught flat footed. Biden summoned his Cabinet and generals to the Situation Room. Within an hour, however, saboteurs had launched drones over the ten largest airports. All air traffic was now grounded. Other than military jets, just as on 9/11, no commercial flights were permitted. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were stranded, not able to reunite with their families, at a time when everyone desired to be with their loved ones.  It was like the scene from On the Beach when Gregory Peck left Australia to return to America. The haunting melody of Waltzing Matilda began to echo in the heads of older Americans.

Tuesday, June 13

Not content with closing down US air spaces, thousands more good old boys set out in their RVs and campers. Conveniently experiencing “mechanical breakdowns” at major bridges and tunnels, traffic became gridlocked up and down the east and west coast. Not enough wreckers and tow trucks existed to even come close to clearing the congestion. Deaths mounted in the sweltering cars when fuel ran out. Fistfights and sporadic gun shots accounted for more. Families were seen desperately kneeling in prayer.

Wednesday, June 14

“Happy Birthday Donald” uttered each arsonist as they traveled some of the more remote roads in the national parks. Passersby thought at first the burning of the American flags on Flag Day was meant to demonstrate the correct way to retire American flags, as authorized by the US flag code. That was until they noticed two frightening aspects. Once the flag had ignited, the owner tossed it onto the dry brush at the shoulder of the road. Moreover, everyone seemed to be live streaming the activity. Even with real time broadcasting of the crime, park and forest officials and firefighters were too short staffed to intervene. The drought stricken western half of America would be ablaze by the weekend.

The fires burned brightly. Savagely. Intensely. A sickening orange hue blanketed America in a shade reminiscent of a lengthy tie, hair and complexion.

The nightmare of this week in June, 2023 evoked another one 8 years earlier. Specifically, June 16, 2015. The hotel. The escalator. The spectacle. The ungodly gaudiness of it all.

But suddenly, Melania’s stiletto heel catches in the escalator tread. She falls to her side, panicking. Donald “Ever the Gallant” Trump senses she’s in danger and stoops to assist her. The escalator gods then intervened a second time. Somehow, his tie gets wedged in the opening between the moving step and balustrade. The mechanism ensnares the tie inward with greater pressure. There you have it. Donald J. Trump, en route to declare his candidacy for president, is strangled moments before. Paramedics called to the lobby were unable to resuscitate. Hang Donald Trump is nothing anyone expected to see that day.

Within hours, the other eleven Republican candidates at the time expressed their heartfelt condolences to the family along with their thoughts and prayers. On June 17, 2015 they all returned to the campaign trail with renewed optimism that they would be the one to accept the GOP nomination at the convention in 2016.

Granting them the forum to assure everyone that America could once again be that Shining City on the Hill.

A fantasy then. And a fantasy now.