( – promoted by buhdydharma )
When they tried to name the place, some wanted to call it Dawn City or New America or New Phoenix (like mythical bird rising from the ashes.) But the more folks thought about it and realized our circumstances and understood the reason we were huddled here in this remote area protecting ourselves from the elements and marauding bands of sadistic skinheads, was because the world had gone to shit, well, the name might not be what some Madison Avenue type would have called it, but the naming was easy.
The question wasn’t if, but when. Collapse. Not would there be one, but what we’d do with it when it came. A blood and bone dystopian landscape of Mad Max at Thunderdome or the more civilized barbarism of The Postman. Or Waterworld with the specter of water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.
If people were assholes before the collapse, then how much more so afterward. Well you can imagine during and immediately following the Chaos, it wasn’t pretty. Not by a long shot. Chaos gives folks permission to abandon the rules of humanity. Cruelty on Holiday. A spasm of rage; a surging tidal wave washes over the world and recedes into nightmare. And in its wake, survivors make a new go if it. Again.
Many still take solace in their God. Humanity was struck down for its pride. As foretold. Signs and omens were legion if one had eyes to see and ears to hear. Reality TV and Remote Control Wars. Celebrity Rehab and Bobble-headed, blow-dried dictators.
Hell had froze over and a black man was elected President in White America. When you reverse engineer the situation with 20/20 hindsight you can see what they were up to. They wanted to start a race war to take people’s minds of the class war. And when I say ‘they’ I mean ‘them.’ The ones who ran things. Businessmen. Life isn’t a business. They could never understand that. When everything is for sale, everything has a price. They sold water, air and the ground beneath our feet. They sucked every last drop of oil out of the ground then dropped the Oil Age like an empty potato chip bag and left the world in suspended animation: A frozen refrigerator factory in the arctic circle. Then the “die-off” happened. From the African horn to the asphalt jungle. From sweat shop cities to debtors’ prisons. From industrialized, centralized command and control; urban sprawl, suburban oasis, battlefield earth. All possible because of cheap oil. And when the oil was gone, it was a Randy Newman song about a bomb. Boom goes L.A. Boom goes D.C.
After Obama was elected, you could hear the poor-poor-pitiful oppressed white man rise up against his oppressor. Never mind he’d been oppressed for generations and never did anything about it. Nope, only when Mr. Black Yuppie with the sincere, elitist grin, got himself elected, did the white man rise up. He was a victim of circumstance. Forced-fed fast-food and sound-bites. Made to work in quagmires and cubicles. For peanuts and poontang. The Power of the People was taken away by the Power of Big Government in cahoots with Big Business. Obama was a socialist and everyone a worker. Big Brother watched our every move. They tracked us with GPS. Cash was done away and we all had a chit. Some opted for the chip. The Land of the Free was a police state. And the Home of the Brave turned couch potato yellow.
But there rose an army of tea-party fascists and religious fanatics; patriot militias and old fashioned racists.
Talking-head heroes were encouraged to rant and rave about the loss of America. Bigots were given the soapbox to rail against invading hordes of racial impurity. Ignorant ideologues gave pep rallies, Bible lessons and sales pitches to “take back the country” from immigrants, terrorists and the Black Panther government of Barack Obama.
For a generation of warriors tablespoon fed on TV Wrestling and video game massacres, it didn’t take much to prod all the young soldiers of a Nationalist Christ out of the woodwork with their pitchforks and semi-automatics against death ray microwaves and depleted uranium. It was a bloodbath. But, who would have predicted it; the more the resistance was put down and the more brutally it was put down – to make an example for others – the resistance grew. After a while the radicals on the right were joined by radicals on the left and others in between. The cry went out: Forgive the Debt! Forgive the Debt!
From the smallest man to the greatest government, all were in debt and beholding to the banks. As more and more citizens came to appreciate the idea that all The People were in hock to a few fat cats, it didn’t take long for the fat-cat PR and media machine to implode. Some truths just can’t be hidden. CEOs were thrown our of sky-scraped boardroom windows. Banksters were hung from lampposts. Politicians tarred and feathered and run out of town on the proverbial rail. Then after the obvious enemies were dispatched, folks started turning on each other. Another bloodbath. An orgy of blood-lust swept the globe. Race wars, class wars and wars of revenge and vengeance. Groups of like-minded fodder organized for survival as war lords, bullies, sadists and sickos filled the vacuum of an extinct ‘polite society.’ Trust was a prized commodity and everyone had to fill their social coffers with trust; keeping your word; carrying one’s weight in the rebuilding; doing more than talking.
It wasn’t an easy time. So much wasted humanity. So much squandered opportunity to heal. So much self-indulgence to blame and punish. Some called it The Great Catharsis. Perhaps. Others called it The Necessary Evil. A few did their best to insulate themselves from the chaos and chose to build anew. While many blamed humanity and clung to God’s cruel justice and righteous indignation, some blamed religion and put their faith in their fellow human beings. Settlements sprung up like out of the Old West. Towns emerged. Coalition and cooperation began to win. And while there was still much residual cruelty at play with the ignorant, humans once again proved their resilience and fortitude.
One such oasis of hope and progress is where I call home: Shit Town. It’s not much to look at; ramshackle and humble. Like a town in a plain brown paper bag. But the 100 or so people are united with purpose – to rebuild and remember.
So I sit on a watchtower my whistle at the ready and wait for the inevitable attack from the desperate and deluded. We have stuff and they want it. But we don’t roll over. We don’t give in. We fight back and defend ourselves from the cruel intentions of the ignorant and mean. From those who refuse to look in the mirror of their dead society and see their own face. From those who hate from habit and kill for fun.
So I sit with my field glasses and whistle and wait. I revel in the sunlight and crisp air. I thank my stars for my survival. Life isn’t easy but it’s good. It isn’t perfect by a long shot, but now we know the true meaning of hope. And change. And love and loyalty. And, yes, in spite of it all: happiness.
The world went to shit but not all of us went with it. And so we named our town to remember how close we all came to destruction. And we don’t forget. We build with an aim to learn from our mistakes and allow human potential to emerge. We are not evil. We are not born with a mark of Cain or original sin. We are born as intended. Free. A blank slate to write our own destiny. And we will. We have.
In a place we call home: Shit Town.