Wednesday, September 3, 2036
The Boy Goes to Washington (and Beyond)
Anybody who watched the President’s special address last night probably saw The Boy in the gallery. It’s up on the video sites, the tag is [media.video.gov.DCSpecAddr20360902] if you’re like us and have to get media overnight.
I wish Mrs. Fetched would have been here with me to see it… “two musicians not only defused a potential riot Sunday night, but they may have uncovered a plot to divide the American people — and the word that often follows ‘divide’ is ‘conquer.’” The Boy nodded and waved at the camera as Congress began applauding; Cal just grinned. They were both wearing dress shirts (what I used to call polo shirts) and jeans… dressed up pretty well by today’s standards, especially for musicians. I’m sure Mrs. Fetched tuned in from heaven, just as proud as possible up there, but like I said I wish she could have been here physically.
A couple of things stand out… one was how the President vowed to have this “incident” investigated and follow the trail all the way to the end. That’s something I remember just wasn’t done back before the blackouts or even during the Restoration, no matter how many of us wanted it to happen. At least they found Palmer “Swamp Thing” Lanois in a house outside Baton Rouge, along with a handful of co-conspirators, so I suppose that’s a start. It might have been a different world now if we had really gone after the junta’s ultimate backers… or not. We may not have had the junta, but historians are saying that was just a detour. Things now might have been pretty much the same had the putsch never happened.
But I think this was the central part of the speech: “About 250 years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.’ It has always been true, but perhaps we have only this week learned just how true it is. 22 years ago, we allowed a coalition of extremist militias and Dominionists to seize the levers of power in this country. As Fate would have it, they were not capable of governance, but the people were not vigilant and the junta clung to power for nine long years — years that we will never recover as a nation. The phrase coup d’etat literally means ‘a blow against the state,’ and America suffered a tremendous blow, one whose echoes still reverberate around us, because we were not vigilant.
“The junta was eventually pushed out, first from Washington and then from Dallas, but many people thought the job was done with the success of the Reunification. The opposition was largely transformed to a loyal opposition, something required for a healthy democracy. We followed the trail from the militias to religious extremists, to at least some of the shadowy figures behind it all… but then we declared the work to be finished, the breach sealed, the Great American Experiment back on track.
“We were wrong. The work half-done was nearly undone again. The breach half-sealed began to open anew. Those who desire power, but can never find it in the ballot box, made their plans and waited for an opportunity. While we slumbered, they prepared. Late last summer, the opportunity they awaited finally came. A new division — refugees and those living near the camps — started perhaps with a small tear, but they meant to rip it open as wide as they possibly could. And only by chance, or what an earlier generation called Providence, were they thwarted at the very beginning. If our friends here tonight had not been in the right place at the right time, their plans may well have succeeded.”
She went on to a series of initiatives that should get refugees out of camps and settled into new homes — setting a really ambitious goal of closing the last camp on the East Coast by March of next year. But I was kind of surprised at even the hint of a mention of faith in her speech. I know the Association of Penitent Churches has been trying to ramp up a program to get people re-settled; I don’t know if we’ll get help or be absorbed into a more official effort, but as long as the work gets done I really don’t care.
But The Boy and Cal are now on the westbound train. Given the usual delays with waiting for a train to fill up, it might be a while before he gets to California — which is fine with him; he’s already planning to fill layover time playing at whatever venues seem convenient. He told me he drew a pretty decent crowd just sitting on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial and playing some tunes, and wound up with a hat full of cash. He says he plans to just find a likely place and start playing, maybe it will buy him better accommodations and chow as he works his way cross-country. In a post-powerout, left-handed kind of way, he’s finally going on tour. Cal is coming with him to provide percussion, and they’ll watch each other’s backs when necessary. Their temporary celebrity and National Hero status should help with drawing crowds.
He might be back around New Year’s. What happens after that… I guess we’ll find out.