Well, Part II proved insufficient so today we’ll do Part III, (I promise this will conclude the series). Today I’m back to a solid PG rating but it is no less dystopian and the real problem is that it could come true.
Bubba, who we met in the last installment, is siting down at the kitchen table with his wife after supper one evening in the not that distant future somewhere in Anytown, America. They are nearing the age where they would like to retire soon and it’s planning time.
Bubba’s older brother retired a few years ago with Social Security (thanks FDR) and Medicare (thanks LBJ) forming the basis of hi income and medical “safety net”. But you see Bubba and Mrs. Bubba can’t count on that because the Republican majorities in the Congress passed a law – which the Court upheld – ending those programs except for the grandfather provision left in it so as not to anger their voting base of old white people. And they kept them. Why not? They kept theirs and they really don’t care about anyone else.
Bubba and Mrs. Bubba did a little back of the envelope arithmetic and decided that they simply cannot afford to retire. They will have to work until they die and hope they die together because neither one alone makes enough money to continue on at their current standard of living or even close to it.
Mrs. Bubba especially worries about their daughter who struck out on her own and has chosen to remain unmarried. She recently lost her job (unemployment has reached record highs which made underemployment even more of an issue) so she is without health insurance and Medicaid has long been discontinued. Bubba initially liked that because he didn’t like the high taxes and his money going to pay for the health care of people who in his mind were too lazy to work for their own health care. The funny thing is that with Medicaid and Obamacare eliminated his taxes didn’t go down at all. The wealthy got another tax break while Bubba’s taxes actually went up a bit. The promised trickle down just never seemed to make it to his level. His wages didn’t go up either. His boss told him he was lucky to have a job, shut up and get back to work. Unions had been declared illegal (the Supreme Court gave that opinion in response to a lawsuit overturning another precedent in the process) so even the thought of collective bargaining was a fantasy.
Mrs. Bubba worried about Ms. Bubba on another level. Like almost any young healthy adult she occasionally had sex. Contraception was illegal so she largely had to rely on luck and that she counted correctly. In America abortion was no longer an option since 2022 and Ms. Bubba wasn’t exactly flush with cash so that she could afford a foreign trip and taking some time off to physically recover. She wasn’t working but with unemployment benefits in America only a story to “oldsters” told she devoted every waking hour to finding a new job. Ones that offered health insurance to entering employees were rare. With unemployment so high employers simply didn’t have to offer good compensation packages.
There are some things most young women don’t discuss with mom and Ms. Bubba’s occasional use of recreational soft drugs was one of them. Ms. Bubba’s “ace in the hole” was the Plan B (illegal in America after the Court overturned Griswold) she bought from her drug dealer. The underground economy did well under the new oppressive Republican regime (much like it did under Communism in the former Soviet Union) and contraceptives were simply a product line addition to drug dealers.
Despite the fact that pregnancy related deaths and total abortions (the back-alley versions resurrected) had risen dramatically the legislators wouldn’t think of changing the laws even in the face of the overwhelming public sentiment. It couldn’t be called an outcry because the Court, in typical fascist fashion, had defined free speech as only government conforming speech.
OK, by now if you don’t get the idea, you never will. This doesn’t have to come to pass but the only way we can stop it is at the polls. Will you join me in that effort before The Handmaid’s Tale is moved to the non-fiction section in underground bookstores (it was long ago banned in this dystopian right wing America)?
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