Waiting on the End of America
We are a hair’s breadth away from losing the country to authoritarian fascism. That is a fact. It’s not a fact I like. It’s a fact I’m grappling with, as are most of my friends. We talk about it sometimes — about what it’s going to be like. I am not so fatalistic in my thinking that it will last forever, but it is a distinct possibility of happening. If we’ve lost too many Americans to harmful propaganda and conspiracy theories, and those are the people who come out to vote, we’re all going to have to live with those mistakes until people have finally had enough. Because right now, there doesn’t seem to be much urgency to keep the nutballs like DeSantis, Cruz, Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene out of office.
Who knows. We could be heading into a decade of terrible conservative policies, not unlike the Ronald Reagan years, and Joe Biden is Jimmy Carter all over again.
We survived the Reagan years, I tell myself. At the time I was young and carefree, didn’t pay that much attention to politics, so I didn’t really understand how batshit insane those years were, and how many Americans were hurt, and continue to be hurt even today, by Reagan’s economic policies.
Will the 2020s shape up like the 1920s? Just like the 1920s, we’re coming out of a global flu pandemic and income inequality is nearly the same. The empires of Carnegie and Vanderbilt and Guggenheim have given way to Musk and Bezos and Zuckerberg. The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s is now the prohibition of cannabis. We’re already seeing the massive tent cities of the Great Depression.
How poor will the poor have to get before there’s nothing left for the ultra-rich to squeeze out of them? How poor will the rest of us have to get before there’s nothing left for the ultra-rich to squeeze out of us? Are we going to end up jumping into another World War to “fix” our consumer-driven economy? Will China call in our debt? Will Americans be fighting each other in the streets? Or, more likely, will we just segregate ourselves by state? I’m pretty sure the survival preppers are prepping for naught, just like the people who built bomb shelters in their backyards in the 1960s. America won’t end with a bang. It’ll be a long, slow, protracted period of decline. If we can’t stop the slide into blind hatred and greed, I’m pretty sure it’ll be our kids and grandkids who pay for it.
Amber Fraley is the author of the new adult genre novel The Bug Diary, a hilarious college coming-of-age tale, as well as the author of the viral essay Gen X Will Not Go Quietly. Become a Medium member for only $5/month to access TONS of great writing and information!