A fiction interlude, from The End of Days.
The revolution began the day they closed the polls.
Oh, we didn’t know it, then. It was only later that it became clear, embarrassingly clear. All the little signs, but then, they say hindsight is twenty-twenty.
If you want to reach back and pick a date, there’s an easy one to see. They say a decade isn’t measured by the zeroes at the end of the Years Of Our Lord, but by the events that shape it. Going back a ways, the Sixties, they had a short run, from one assassination to another, but the Fifties lingered on for almost twenty years. The Seventies looked almost like a decade, right from the King assassination all the way through to the Iranian hostages. I was fifteen on November 9th, 1989, the day the Wall came down. Even then I knew, right in the gut of me, that was the end of the Eighties.
The Nineties ended on September 11th, 2001.
Even so, that wasn’t the first sign. There were the rolling blackouts in California–yeah, artificial, but looking back, it looks like a damned flare: look here, we’ve got serious problems, asshole. And then the East Coast blackout–praise be to Allah for showing the Americans what it’s like, even if only for a few hours. And the thing I remember is thinking how fast it would all go, if it went. That was when I knew. Sign of the end days.
Now I’m supposed to say it got better, but we’re not kidding anybody. With the election getting kick-started with Governor Dean’s grassroots showing, enough to scare the administration. Right about when the Doctor started looking good, the Pentagon started saying we oughta expect another terrorist attack like 9/11 in the next year.
And gosh darned if we didn’t get one.
June 14, 2004. Hasn’t got the same cultural ring to it–9/11, now that means something to an American. That’s the number you dial in an emergency. The irony cuts right to the bone.
It was Los Angeles, that June. They say Governor Schwarzenegger faced down a missile himself, like he really was the last action hero. ‘course, it blew him right to shit and back again. Just like the poem says, the man on the television screen didn’t get up again.
There were no elections in 2004. For the good of the nation. Martial law, to keep us safe.
November second. That’s when America began to see. Sign of the end days.