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Tag Archives: satire

The United and Ununited States of America 2030

Way back in 2016, when Donald Trump won his first election, I had sworn never to return to the USA while he was at the helm. I was 61 then, now I’m 74. The age when we attend more funerals than weddings, birthdays and christenings combined. So, it recently came to pass that I wanted very much to attend a dear friend’s funeral. In Mississippi.

Now, in 2030, we don’t know much about the USA. You see, by the time the 2020 election happened, many people were no longer allowed to vote. If a person was unemployed (and there were a LOT of unemployed by 2020), they could not vote. If a person was female, they could not vote. If a person had not been born in the USA, they could not vote. If they were a known LGBTIQ person, they could not vote. Trump was elected again. That was the last election in the USA. Trump, now 83, continued to tweet every morning but everyone except his fans ignored him.

By 2018 California was no longer part of the USA. Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Illinois, Connecticut, Rhode, Island, Vermont and New Jersey had all left the federation by 2021. They were now, if you like, the Ununited States of America. Yet to form a new nation formally, negotiations were ongoing. It was a bit like the Europe of old. Most of the military had aligned with the Ununited States, something that had apparently infuriated Trump because he could no longer threaten to invade other nations. Canada and several of the other Ununited States had built walls. Mexico had built a wall along the Texas/Mexico border, but California and Mexico enjoyed a mutually profitable and politically stable relationship.

I landed in Los Angeles as I always had in the past, to then be interrogated at the USA/California border before continuing my journey into the unknown. Although as an Australian, I could still get a visa waiver for California, the USA demanded to interview every non-citizen at the border. As there were no longer embassies around the world (except in Russia) it was impossible to be interviewed in Sydney or Melbourne prior to travel. Travellers were advised to allow a minimum of five hours for the interrogation.

The alternative of flying into Dallas Fort Worth, Texas was risky. If I got refused a visitor visa in California, I could just go back to my hotel. If I was refused a visitor visa on arrival in Dallas Forth Worth, I’d be incarcerated overnight then put on a return flight. While the chances of my being incarcerated were slim, I hoped, I did have a vocal anti-Trump history – if they found it. My phone was a disposable and I had a little old lady Facebook profile for just this sort of thing. Better not to take the risk.

California didn’t look much different than it had done when I had last visited in September 2016. The airport was just as busy as ever, although security was a little tighter. This, I was told, was to manage the never-ending stream of refugees from the USA. Trump, it seemed, had no problem with people leaving – if they weren’t with the program, they could go. The problem, of course, was California and the other Ununited States just didn’t have the capacity. What had started as a trickle had become a deluge in recent years.

I stayed overnight in LA. The hotel was luxurious without being ostentatious, the service was good, the staff were happy.

The next day I had a contact drive me around. I saw little evidence of homelessness or unemployment. California was a hive of activity. There was not a gun in sight except for the police. I read the local papers and watched the news channels. The crime rate was significantly lower than the peak in 2018, just prior to California leaving the federation.

Then came the time to go to the airport to fly into Trump territory. The queues were short – no-one was going in unless they had to. The five hours involved questioning and the immigration agents delving through the travellers’ phones, iPads, cameras, social media, emails and extended family connections. A lengthy questionnaire was required to be responded to in person. I almost expected to be blood tested. Finally, travellers were fingerprinted and x-rayed. I mean really x-rayed. On a table. At least this obviated the need for an internal examination. At 74 I wasn’t too keen on that idea.

There were plenty of empty seats on the plane. I popped up the armrests after take-off and slept much of the way. The plane wasn’t clean, the toilets smelt, there were not enough cabin attendants. The arrival lounge was grim. The one thing I noticed was no-one was smiling. I mean no-one. There was almost a suspicion of anyone getting off the plane, a “Why would you come here?” expression on peoples’ faces. It was very disconcerting.

In my taxi to the hotel I noticed an odd gender imbalance. There were old white men by the score, many fewer young men of any ethnicity and very few young women. I asked the taxi driver, “Where are all the women?” He scowled. In a deep southern drawl, he told me the women leave. They marry out, mostly to Chinese and Indian men (two countries with a historical shortage of women), he spat. His language was not quite as polite as I have relayed.

The people and the place looked poor, like a third world country. I’ve been to third world countries, I recognised the look, the smell, the facial expressions. The buildings were neglected, the roads badly needed repair, many of the traffic lights no longer worked. Businesses were boarded up.

What children there were (given the shortage of women) didn’t seem to be in school, but roaming the streets aimlessly. Homelessness seemed to be rife – and I was in the better part of town.

The hotel was reasonably clean, but everything was old. It was as if nothing had been replaced or refurbished for fifteen years. The food was passable, the service was sullen.
If I had to sum up the atmosphere in one word, it would be despair. No-one seemed to be happy. Everyone seemed to be living hand to mouth.

The television was obviously tightly controlled. As was the internet and print media (yes, it still existed). The news was strictly local and all wonderfully good. Trump’s policies were working, people were happy, wasn’t it terrific. Trump was the best President the world had ever seen. There might have been 1% happy, the faces I was looking at were certainly not.

I had been going to stay a few days, spend time with people I knew. I couldn’t, the place was too depressing. As soon as I had paid my respects at the funeral, I left. I spent those days in California.

I have never been so glad to reach Australian soil as I was today.

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Believe Me, I Know The Difference Between Satire And Reality!

A number of people commented on yesterday’s This is How Tony Got Elected expressing the idea that the pictures were from a satiric site “Why I’m Voting Liberal” and that I’d mistaken a satiric post for real actual Liberal voters.

Now I am aware that people have sometimes taken made-up quotes from my writing as genuine, even when they’ve clearly been satiric. Even when I’ve used clearly fictional names and characters like “Hoe Jockey”, “Tiny Habit”, “Arnie (I’m not sexist) Corperson”, “The Speaker: Dolores Umbridge” or “Christopher Pyne”. Even when their behaviour has been so outrageous, so unbelievable that surely, surely nobody could confuse them with the actual Liberal Party. (Although there have been a couple of times that the Libs have adopted my satire as their actual policy a few days later – makes me wonder whether all those jobs Abbott created for monitoring social media are actually just searching for new policy ideas.)

Anyway, I always try to be careful not confuse what Liberals are actually doing and saying with attempts to make them look ridiculous through exaggeration. Admittedly, Abbott, Brandis, Pyne and others make this an almost impossible task sometimes. But, in this case, the photos weren’t taken from the site that wasn’t serious. I went back and checked the site’s description. It asked for people under 30 to post reasons that they were voting Liberal. I copied its description to show to someone who assured me that the site wasn’t serious:

“Under 30?
Voting Liberal on September 7th?
Tell the country why!

We’re young people who care about our future and opportunities. We care about the economy. We care about what jobs there will be for us in the future. We care about good, sustainable and forward-thinking government. We want real change.

I’m Voting Liberal is a campaign for young Australians.

Get involved! Get together with your friends and send photos to:
imvotingliberal@gmail.com or message them to this page.”

And I found the other site – the satiric one. Yes, it is hard to tell what’s satire and what’s not these days. I mean, how do you caricature Andrew Bolt or Alan Jones? And yes, if that description hadn’t been written before the election, one might easily think that it, too, was purely a send-up of the Liberal’s Real Solutions document.

So yesterday I added the following P.S. to the article.

P.S. Just to clear up some confustion, this is a genuine site and not the parody site.

Update at 8pm. The site seems to have disappeared in the last couple of hours and that link no longer works.

 

If you’ve just clicked on the link. Yep, that’s right. It no longer exists.

Given that there seems to have been no updates to the pictures since the election, it does seem a strange coincidence that the day “This Is How Tony Got Elected” appears that within a few hours, the site disappears, leaving no evidence that these people once cared about “good, sustainable and forward-thinking government”.

Well, this is hardly shades of 1984. I mean, I don’t even know that there was a direct connection to the Liberal Party it may have just been created by a group of concerned young citizens determined to create a stronger economy led by someone who wears speedos and can do a pull-up.

Whatever, it’s gone, and if that’s because of what I wrote yesterday then I’ll need to be careful what I write in future.

I mean, imagine if I wrote about Tony Abbott, and he was gone the next day.

Labor supporters would never forgive me.

 

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