In all honesty, I don’t think we saw it ending this way. I mean, it was subtle. Imperceptible, if you didn’t know what you were looking for.
Most folks didn’t know.
Their loss. I don’t know which I would’ve preferred, if I’d been given the choice between seeing it, and not. And it wasn’t like any of us had a lot of time to prepare our exit strategy, as with the Flood of Noah, or Y2K.
It started with the yard signs.
And before you scratch your head, or set this historical record aside, yeah, I know that yard signs weren’t new. Not in 2015, yard signs weren’t new. But it wasn’t even what the yard signs said. It was what they implied. So now, years after the yard signs implied that maybe we, as a long-incorporated landmass, were thoroughly and eternally fucked, this is what we’re left with. Writing from our basements. On typewriters that should be in museums, if museums still existed.
A little backstory, or maybe just a long story, short.
I had a friend, who I used to take walks with in their neighborhood. A nice neighborhood with all kinds of nice people. But in the yard of one of those people, was a sign. One of those signs. Now, at that point in human history, the world knew who those signs were about, but not everyone knew what those signs would turn us into. My friend only knew that the sign made them afraid of that neighbor, which was very unlike my friend. One day shortly after, my friend and I talked about the sign, and about why the sign made their nice neighbor now seem scary. Then, we talked about the message of the sign. My friend said that the candidate the sign represented, didn’t scare them, it was the neighbor with the nice lawn, displaying the yard sign, who truly scared them.
And while the two of us didn’t seem to see eye-to-eye on what exactly was the scariest of the scary, the neighbor or the sign, I came away with a thought that has stayed with me all the way from then, till now.
“You’re not voting for a candidate, you’re voting against their followers”.
The next year, those followers got their wish, and their candidate won. Then a few years later, as was the way of things when there were so many lawn signs, on so many lawns, came the push-back, from the people about whom those scary lawn signs referred. And like a pendulum, another push, and before another generation could push one more time, lawn signs were no more, and people didn’t care what the lawn signs would have said anyway, because after the tanks rolled over their lawns, they were busy with more important things, like food and shelter, and just not dying.
It’s been years since the last of the yard signs, but they say there’s a new election on the horizon, and with it, new yard signs have started popping up in the old neighborhood. Just a few so far, on the lawns of the nicest houses. And if you ask the neighbors whose houses don’t have lawn signs why they don’t, well, none of them cares. That’s because nobody is even sure what the new signs even say. Now they’re printed in Cyrillic. Because English isn’t allowed these days, only Russian. And still, nobody knows if it was bots on social media, or President Musk, or a hundred different maybe answers why. They say I’ll be moved to a reeducation center in a few days, I assume so that, soon, like the old days, I’ll be able to read all the yard signs again.