It Could Happen

By Nory Fussell (As published in The Union)

The day after Election Day, results were announced. The largest voter turnout in history had led to an unparalleled landslide. An Oglala Sioux tribal leader was elected President of the United States of America. She selected a man from the House of Representatives to be her Vice President – he was a second generation American of Muslim descent.

Both had endured the injuries of bigotry and hatred in their lives, yet their campaign had radiated a sincere and unwavering spirit of “liberty and justice for all.” No one was to be left out. Dignity, respect and inclusion highlighted their debates, keeping their focus on policy, not petty party differences or responses to personal attacks. This appealed to a population long-weary of divisiveness.

Against the few remaining pockets of resistance and obstructionism, recent administrations had made major gains with critical issues – the country was on track to reject destructive patterns of militarism, fossil fuel abuse, and the economic fantasy of perpetual industrial growth.

Education had become the nation’s top priority, replacing military hardware as its chief export. Collaborative efforts around the world had given rise to environmental projects focused on reversing the perils of climate instability. Desalinization plants lined the coasts while an ethos of replenishment and reciprocity with Earth had transformed the fields of agriculture, forestry and energy sourcing.

A free college-level education was now the right of every citizen, as were a sanitary home, complete health care, and a guaranteed basic income. These social programs were funded by a draw-down on military spending and by a simplified tax on wealth. Freed from the plight of poverty, each person’s sense of self-worth and creativity were lifted. The rise in contribution and volunteerism were remarkable.

A two-year citizen-service internship was established to cultivate unity and cooperation among young adults. Options for that service included work and education in the spheres of infrastructure maintenance, health care, agriculture, habitat restoration, as well as in providing compassionate care for the senior population.

With these positive social programs, We The People were no longer pitted against each other. The culture’s world-view had expanded and there were now four viable parties, raising the tenor of the political arena. Voters began to converse freely, face to face. In getting to know each other, we saw that we weren’t that different, that our basic needs for sustenance, security, and belonging were not at odds, and were within reach. Fences and barriers were coming down.

Another awareness set in – we had been divided, nearly conquered in spirit, by a corporate oligarchy that used racism, classism, and exaggerated forms of patriotism and patriarchy as wedges, as tools of separation. We had been a combative nation, ever-at-war in the world and with each other, even within ourselves. This had cut deep, nearly fatal, wounds into the national psyche.

During their campaign, the President-and-Vice-President-elect spoke clearly about the need to question, and to heal, those psychic wounds. They were intent upon a reckoning with the nation’s warring, genocidal past. This vision of transformation focused on the “united” part of the country’s name by fostering a national identity of strength through kindness and purpose. They were committed to a governance, and language, true to the promise of “liberty and justice for all.”

This was the ticket, the team, the dream, that we swept into office.

Nory Fussell lives in Nevada City.

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