Choose Your Own Adventure
It's Jan 23rd, 2018. Donald Trump has been fighting a simmering war with the CIA for a year, pitting the president, an administration composed of some of the world's largest asset holders, and Blackwater against the DNC and the deep state. Body counts have been high on both sides, but have been consistently buried in the media and reported as suicides.
It is late morning. The stock market has just opened for the day. The headline of the WSJ speculates on the prospect of dow 24,000. News breaks that a major ice sheet has broken from Antarctica and fallen into the ocean.
What happens next?
It’s June 2018. Electoral chances for the Democrats are looking exceedingly grim, and Trump is poised to consolidate his grip on Congress with a fresh crop of nationalists who have just won their primaries against the old line Republicans. The California state legislature, under heavy pressure from new money in San Francisco, pushes through a motion to hold a referendum on exiting the US. Do you support secession?
Explain your reasoning.
It's winter of 2019. The Army has seized power in a relatively bloodless coup. Donald Trump and his family, with the exception of Melania and Barron, are under house arrest at Mar a Lago. Gen. Mattis perished during the fighting.
The Army's actions include the roll-back of many post-WW2 social reforms (intended, as the Secretary of the Army put it in a press conference, to "restore the moral integrity of this country and heal the fabric of its social institutions") as well as a nuclear energy crash course program and resource rationing. After the ice shelf collapse in 2017 heavy storms have been pummeling coastal regions of the US, and the Army has organized an effective but no-frills disaster response.
The Army has agreed to hold a 2020 presidential election, and they are running a candidate. Hillary Clinton, who has been released from prison following the coup, is running as an opposition candidate. She is funded by Saudi government and the Koch brothers. Her platform includes restoring the social justice legislation rolled back by the army, stopping the danger of nuclear energy, and privatizing the climate disaster response program.
Do you vote? If so, for whom?
It's late summer of 2017. News breaks that Berkshire Hathaway has been falsifying its books to conceal vast losses on derivatives following the market chaos after the collapse of the Antarctic icesheet. The market crashes. Over the course of a week, stocks lose 30 percent and housing a stunning 45 percent of its value.
Pence has openly turned on the Trump Administration and, allied with the IMF and a consortium of bondholders, is pushing for impeachment. He promises to restore financial calm and asset prices by introducing structural reforms of an unspecified nature. Trump, whose holding companies under the direction of his son, Eric, have been buying up real estate at depressed prices, is attempting to go through with a plan to split Berkshire Hathaway into a good bank and a bad bank- the good bank to be purchased by Goldman Sachs and the bad one to be nationalized.
Do you support impeachment?
It's December 2020. Donald Trump has just won reelection after defeating an attempted Army coup during which Gen. Mattis killed numerous would-be assassins with his bare hands. Attempts to mount an opposition candidate have failed after negotiations to form a coalition between the two successor parties to the now-defunct DNC, the Nasty Woman Party and the People's Revolution, have been stymied by cultural politics and an unexpectedly vociferous debate over a VAT on carbonated drinks. The 2020 presidential election was the lowest turnout in history thanks in large part to the Stop Illegal Voting Act of 2019.
The CIA leaks a heavily redacted report claiming that Putin, Erdogan, and Xi have collaborated to hack the American election. Most damning is the fact that, in one Ohio swing county, five thousand registered voters all named "Clark Kent" have voted for Trump. Similar irregularities are to be found across the country. International election watchdogs have verified the reports. Ezra Klein is calling for civil war.
Do you call for national unity and calm, or do you join the chorus demanding the formation of conscript regiments?
It's late 2017. The inertia of normalcy has reasserted itself. Many federal agencies have been shut down, but life goes on... for most. Medical debt has skyrocketed but credit is available on easy terms. Donald Trump has largely grown bored with the presidency and has been spending most of his time with Lindsay Lohan in Saudi Arabia. The collapsed ice sheet has caused extreme flooding and mass displacement in South Asia, but there's little you can do about it. You send a donation to the Red Cross.
You've somehow finished paying off your college loans and landed a job in middle management at a pharmaceutical company. Boring but the pay is OK. Your boyfriend, who earns rather less than you and has a degree in art history, wants to get married, buy a house, and start a family.
Do you dump him or make a down payment?
It's June 2017. After Donald Trump was discovered passed out naked in the oval office over a large gold-framed mirror, the 25th Amendment has been invoked and Pence installed in the White House. Democrats, led by Elizabeth Warren, are hailing the return to normalcy and falling over themselves to pledge to work with Pence to "put this country back on track."
After the election, you've become more involved in politics. You've attended a couple of protests and joined some organizations. After the ouster of Trump, do you continue your path of political radicalization or try to put it out of your mind and get on with your life?
It's the first week of February 2017. The reality of the catastrophe that is the Trump administration is beginning to set in. Government agencies are being dismantled wholesale, and even the shallow pretense towards fighting looming catastrophes like climate change, water crisis, or public health have been abandoned.
You're a graduate student. Do you continue investing time and energy into long term intellectual projects that can only bear fruit after decades of work, or do you drop everything, stop working on your dissertation, and dedicate yourself - perhaps futilely! - to political activity in the near term? Do you continue to try to save money to pay down your loan debt, or do you squander it on eating out and top shelf liquor in the name of 'self care'?