This and other poetry is inspired by the lockdown panic and hysteria that swept the US in 2020.
In the fateful year of 2030,
the American Empire ended; it died tragically.
It was quite sick, it was rather quite old,
but no one would have guessed how the end would unfold.
What happened to get there, what occurred was insane,
no reasonable person would read without blame.
But I promise it happened; I was there and I watched.
You’ll see what I saw and maybe you can stop it.
As you read this story, you’ll probably cringe—
it’s just so obvious how it’s going to end.
The great country of America has finally passed.
The cause of death: suicide, self-inflicted. How sad.
For the last ten years things weren’t going so great.
The economy was growing, but the people irate.
All sorts of discourse had fizzled and gone,
citizens walked on eggshells, no one wanted to be wrong.
By the year 2020, the situation was bad.
Fear replaced optimism. News omitted facts.
People believed everything they were told —
The media loved it, look how well fear sold!
In March of that year, a virus started to spread.
The media went haywire: ’10% will be dead!’
Before logic and reason, got a chance to weigh in,
Hysteria had woken, and sadly, would win.
Social media mobs added a new twist
that no one understood how to reason with.
An angry mass of people so ill-informed,
we’d never seen this level of ignorance before!
A new force was made — free was anyone to say,
any of the things ‘big tech’ thought was ok.
It built up group thinking, and hurt discourse the most,
Now, the dumbest ideas became the most popular by vote.
The power of the mob was released and let loose,
and before anyone realized, we’d made our own noose.
No leaders took action, how could they dissent,
when the people with pitchforks said they wouldn’t relent.
The groupthink all over, was awful and sad,
we were held prisoner, by popular demand.
And since we lacked leaders, to calm people down,
(after all, who would believe those political clowns?)
The public was nervous, confused and threw things around,
like a tantrum from a child, as the country collapsed to the ground.
A division occurred, in these online places,
and people retreated, to their side’s safe spaces.
The internet, the media and a connected society —
completely forgot how to respectfully disagree.
Society turned, by the actions of all,
From kind and rational, to mean, awful and small.
People used words like ‘shitshow’ as hyperbole,
to describe trivial things shown to them on their screens.
Instead of reasoning to decide what was right,
everyone now just blamed the ‘evil other side’.
While the citizens fought and yelled bitterly,
The media decided, “Let’s put this on TV!”
And so we ended up with a crazy circus;
everyone loved it, even with the tent burning.
The media made money, and the more fear they told,
that simply meant the more papers they sold.
“Come take a look, you won’t believe what you’ll see!
Yes loyal readers, we sell Front Row Seats!”
So politicians, they noticed this,
and decided to try
some daring new ideas:
“We doubt people will mind!”
“You can’t leave your house.
Do not fly here.
Don’t visit your family,
do not go near.”
Instead of a smart, or reasoned response,
the government declared: “This won’t last that long.”
“You common people, you don’t know the facts.
Lock yourselves indoors, in two weeks this shall pass.”
Like little kids, we were grounded, and the government laughed.
“Look how they cower, so nervous and anxious.
Closing businesses and borders, that’s how to fight it!
Saying anything else and you’ll be arrested – be frightened!”
It started out small….even the toughest confessed
We don’t mind being locked up, “It’s all for the best.”
Yet surprising things happened, very unexpected.
The people they just… loved the restrictions!
“Lock us up. Take the key.
We don’t need to be free.
We’ll do what you want,
anything for safety!”
For months and months after, no one dared disagree,
The groupthink was strong, with its own gravity.
Dissent was forbidden, nothing else was discussed,
“Do you want to kill grandma, you jackass!?? Shut Up!!!”
So media pushed hard to sell us this mess.
The profits they made were quite the largess.
The truth doesn’t matter in attracting a crowd,
“Please chain us up” people begged, surprisingly loud.
The people had fear in them;
they failed their test.
The problem was,
far worse things came next…..
written by Howard R, Fall 2020
All rights reserved
View it, and other commentary on the world we live in:
To learn more, read our 10 short stories on What Is Wrong With America.