Several years ago, the scenes depicted in the opening book seemed far-off. But now, they are all around us.
You live in a semi-rural area. The closest big town is the county seat and is a ghost of what what it was once. The population is 82% white, 10% black, the rest a mix of stranded Latinos and wanders from other countries who have little restaurants and businesses.and in comments
The area was hard hit by the first wave of the economic meltdown but life, on the surface, is still good. You know people who are hurting, you can see the empty storefronts from when money flowed, but you think it will all come back. Then the second wave of the meltdown hits. Perhaps triggered by gas prices. Perhaps by the bankruptcy of European states. Perhaps both.
Your area, which was struggling, cuts services to the bone, perhaps deeper. Money gets tight and the number of people who actually have little or nothing to eat, forget about cable, increase.
Your state elections place a right wing group who wrap themselves in the flag and the cross into power. The economic situation continues to worsen.
Two years later.
You start getting denied service at certain businesses. Your wife has a friend who calls and asks if it is true you sometimes let homeless people camp down by your creek. The same people who may be involved in _________. The local pastor of the church that has grown tremendously in the last five years comes by and invites you to join. You refuse.
Two months later you and your wife are found dead. The Sheriff raids the creek camp. Four months later your parcel, because you have no heirs or a valid will goes to auction. Who gets it for next to nothing?
Dat Le, the owner of the one profitable restaurant in town is approached for a campaign contribution. He does not pay. His 17 year old daughter is abducted and raped. The investigation goes nowhere. Dat joins the church and tithes. His daughter commits suicide two years later.
The woman who owned the one art gallery in town and is know as a liberal has a fatal car wreck.
You are a Christian and a member, one of ten, of the local Catholic church. You and the other nine are getting pressured to join the super church. What do you do?
The local Latinos have been confined to a small area. A ghetto. They are illegal and are kept there until the feds show up. The feds are never notified. They work in the fields. What do you do?
I am a Christian. My version of one. That is perfectly legal still in the USA. The USA has a separation of church and state. What happens when the state becomes the church? Or the state no longer can enforce the separation?
I am on cordial terms with someone. She is a placid, funny older woman who has since retired. I mentioned one day that XXXX would not make a good President. She got extremely angry. In the blink of an eye I became the enemy. That kind of angry is restrained only by tenuous, invisible bonds that are far more fragile, because they are artificial, than you ever want to know.
The hate, the anger, the desire to profit at your expense, the blind need to destroy is out there. Surviving a major change only starts with canned goods. That only gets you to the first step on a very long road.
I am really beginning to believe that it isn't about guns and beans. That will get you the first snowfall. It's the winter afterwards that is going to be interesting.(please read and comment there)
Better start thinking about that first winter, and then- what comes after.