The following is a work of fiction but the events discussed are 100% fact.
Setting: August 10, 2020 a hospital room in America.
“Why praised by the Lord you’re awake” said the middle aged lady looking down at him.
John Q. Public had just opened his eyes and was taking in his surroundings.
“Where am I and who are you?”
“You are in the hospital and have been for four years to this very day. You have been in a coma. Now don’t try to move or do anything taxing, just lay back and relax. You are safe. My name is Rose and I’ll answer any of your questions, just let me alert the staff while we chat.” She tapped something into her phone.
Rose continued, “You were in a bad car accident and have been in a coma, all the physical injuries have healed but you’ll need some physical therapy to get some skills back. I’m a Nurse’s Aide and have been keeping an eye on you. We all felt you would snap out of it someday but the way you did it so suddenly is just a miracle.”
“I’ve been out of it for four years. Wow! I bet a lot happened in that time. Did the Tampa Bay Rays win a World Series? I’d hate to have missed that!”
“You’re a baseball fan, me too. Sorry no they didn’t. They haven’t been back to the Series since ’08.”
“I remember that. They lost to the Phillies in five, but Obama won in November. How is Hillary doing as president? She looked like a shoe in when I checked out.”
“That’s right, you missed the election. That was a wild night and next morning. Donald Trump is president.”
“What! How did that happen?” He restrained himself from using a colorful adjective.
“He won the Electoral vote – rather narrowly but he proclaimed a landslide. Hillary actually won the popular vote by about 3 million but she lost a couple of normally blue states by very narrow margins.”
“Hey, by the way, why are you wearing that mask Rose?”
“That’s right, you wouldn’t know. We are in the midst of a global flu pandemic.”
“Well I guess we are lucky to be in America then.”
“Not really. There are about 20 million cases worldwide and over 5 million of them are here and so far over 160,000 Americans have died. You probably wouldn’t know but we lose about 60,000 in a very bad flu season and this thing is far from being over, actually it is getting worse.”
“Five out of 20 million cases and we are only about 5% of the world’s population. It must have started here and we didn’t have any advance warning.”
“You’re very close on the numbers; but actually we are closer to 4%. It started in China around the end of 2019 and didn’t really hit here for a few months. Trump just chose not to take it seriously, some question if he has yet. He keeps touting a disproven drug as a cure and at one press conference actually suggested using bleach internally to kill the virus.”
John shook his head and suppressed his desire to use the Lord’s name in vain in front of what he figured was a church going lady. “How is the economy holding up?”
“Not very well; as you might expect. Unemployment is over 10%. For the last twenty weeks in a row over 1 million people have filed new unemployment claims. About 30 million people are currently out of work and annualized GDP is down about one-third. All that is after we dumped about $4.5 trillion dollars into it with a big tax cut mostly for the already rich and a huge stimulus package.”
“So we’re in a depression.”
“Well the economists haven’t declared it one yet but I’d say we are and I have a lot of company in that assessment.”
“Sounds like Trump proved to be an [pause] well I’ll clean my language up and say rectum. At least he not running for reelection I assume.”
“Actually he is and he has a decent shot at it considering that he is an incumbent and there is already foreign interference and ongoing voter suppression both favoring him.”
“You have to be kidding me! I’m surprised he wasn’t impeached”
“I don’t kid about stuff like that. Actually he was impeached by the House but the Senate found him not guilty. The vote was along Party lines with only one Republican voting guilty on one of the charges.”
“You mean to tell me that we have a pandemic and a depression and this guy is still a viable candidate.”
“Who are the Democrats running against him; the Devil?”
“No Joe Biden.”
“He might not have been my first choice but he is a solid, proven, known commodity and clearly light years better than Trump.”
“We are that badly polarized and much of what passes for news plays fast and loose with the facts. So does Trump for that matter. The Washington Post already had him at over 20,000 lies during his presidency a while back. It has gotten much worse while you were in the coma.”
“What are the people doing about it?”
“Actually there have been some protests but Trump has used paramilitary forces against peaceful demonstrators on several occasions; once just to clear a path for him to walk to a photo-op.”
“Well, we’ve got work to do. I have to vote in this election. It sounds like every vote is needed.”
“They sure are!”
Then the doctors entered and the conversation but not the reality changed.
The moral of the story come from a Republican president who asked voters are you better off today than you were four years ago. Ask yourself that question before you vote this fall and then take appropriate action.
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