The Path We’re On: A Short Story
Nobody could say they didn’t see it coming. Signs pointed toward the showdown back in 2000, when the GOP stole the election from the Democrats in an election that taught us about hanging chads. At the time, everyone thought the showdown would take the form of a hotly contested election. Nobody really thought things could go this far.
For years pollsters had been commenting on the increasing polarization of the country. Red and blue states divided up into red and blue towns. Reds patronized red businesses and blues stuck to blue businesses. Reds opposed immigration, tax increases, abortions, gay rights, birth control and regulation of any kind. Blues were a more diverse group, which often interfered with attempts for a united front.
On issue after issue, the public divided fifty-fifty. Leaders on both sides of the divide foamed at the mouth, hurling invectives and accusations in an all out attempt to garner a majority. Lies, misinformation, and distortions fed a divide kept alive by fear and cynical politicians who profited at the nation’s expense as problems grew worse from neglect and inattention.
The politicians, religious leaders, and corporations got in bed together, robbing the public blind to feather their own nests and to add to offshore hoards of money plundered from the people. They talked about abortions, gay marriage, creationism, gun control, trickle down economics, job-killing regulations, and back-breaking taxes to keep the people from noticing what they were doing. United we stand, they agreed, and keeping the people divided was what made that possible.
Re-election for incumbents was guaranteed, thanks to voter-repression laws that eliminated nonexistent fraud and the gerrymandering conducted by politicians financed by major corporations. No need to worry about Supreme Court challenges either, with an overwhelmingly conservative court appointed by the president and approved by major corporations.
The final showdown started, oddly enough, at a Georgia fast food restaurant that funneled profits to rightwing hate groups. The rhetoric on both sides heated up to the point where conflict was inevitable. When a flock of gay men in chicken suits showed up to counter the Day of Support, things got out of hand.
Most of the participants on both sides were packing heat, legally of course. Georgia being a red state where the only requirement to own assault weapons and other guns was marking an “x” on a gun permit. Nobody knows for sure who fired the first shot. Nearly four hundred people died in a fifteen-minute explosion of gunfire.
That night, eighteen Atlanta gay bars were burned to the ground, patrons trapped inside by a Bible-toting mob. Churches were set ablaze in retaliation. Civil War II had begun…