Part I: It’s now called Global Gratitude Day (GGD2).

Note: This column was submitted to FakeReality.com on Weds, November 23rd at 2:40 PM, one day before the Omicron variant was reported to the WHO and three days before the WHO declared it a Variant of Concern. Is this life imitating art, or is the Pandemic Playbook becoming all too predictable?

It’s 6:00 AM on Thursday, December 25th, 2031, and just like clockwork, the birds begin to chirp through the speakers built into the walls. Quietly at first, and then louder.

“Alexa, I’m awake”.

It’s nice to wake up and not be afraid. The sheets are clean, and there’s black coffee waiting in the common area. Usually. Well, sometimes.

“Alexa, what’s my Social Credit Score (SCS)?”

Shit! Down five points, just like that, and only last night I had a 91. I was kind of expecting it, but I check the Metaverse anyway… At least the notification is private: Reminiscing pre-WGW.

Stop being so stupid, Quinn.

They allowed us two-holiday drinks, and I got wishy-washy. I wasn’t criticizing. I know we need to sacrifice. Sometimes, I just miss the old days, like when we could travel.

It’s my 2nd warning; a 3rd will shade my Meta profile red for two months.

I’ve been so good; they must appreciate that. Whatever they use to track my carbon has to be almost perfect; I haven’t left the Pod in 68 days. My consumption and productivity levels are good, and I don’t like, share, or create misinformation. I’ve never even fallen for any of their Meta-Traps.

Don’t worry. I’ve still got all three Citizenship Badges: Climate, Justice, and Compliance. Mom and dad are proud, I just know it.

Sometimes though, I just want to talk about the past.

The days of yore

It feels like yesterday, back when we called them Thanksgiving and Christmas. Driving three hours from blistery UMass in dad’s old Civic back to Tarrytown, NY the anticipation was electric.

After months at school, there was nothing better than Christmas Day. The smell of Mom’s famous dinner, twin turkey and hams roasting in the oven as she quizzed me on classes, friendships, dating, and parties, mixing gravy with that big smile, her favorite Christmas carols setting the mood to perfection.

Dad mashed away at the potatoes, reminding us how they always taste better a little chunky, and with the skin on. He never liked helping in the kitchen, except when it was time to mix the drinks.

Laughter roared in from the yard, sisters and cousins taking turns on all the new toys Santa brought – sleds, scooters, bikes, and trikes – six cars front-to-end in the driveway. A fire crackled on in the fireplace under five stockings from the mantle as the Giants game played for no one in particular in the den.

It was as good as it gets, the holidays we shared before the Twin Emergencies. Before the global COVID and Climate Pandemics changed everything.

It’s so different now, sometimes it feels like that was all a dream. Or is this the dream?

It’s hard to reconcile the emotions. All that love, it quickly gives way to shame, and anxiety that’s hard to bear, thinking back to the carbon footprint we made, even on a single day in December.

We were so stupid, all of us.

We didn’t realize, but we should have. It was us. It was all of us, Americans especially… we were killing the planet. We were the cause of the Climate cancer that strangled Mother Earth.

Thank goodness for COVID-19.

It united the world, or much of it, to save the climate. Leaders from the USA, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia mobilized our collective strength. They created a World Government for the West (WGW), to curtail twin COVID and Climate Crises. They partnered with big corporations – big tech, big banks, and big box stores – to introduce an inventory management of people, products, and information.

They told us what to do to save the planet, to protect each other, and to save ourselves.

The road to serfdom

It started slowly. After the vaccines and booster campaigns, we had to come together as one to beat COVID, “the War-on-COVID”, we began to call it.

It was the only way back to normal, they said. I remember the day I was finally able to get my fourth Moderna booster. I cried when I finally got to see Mom and Dad again.

Some didn’t want the vaccines. They believed the misinformation; it was everywhere.

Meta worked hard to take it down, the misinformation. We had armies of Fact Checkers, but at first, it just kept popping up. Lies about vaccine deaths or injuries were everywhere.

They even tried to blame the effects of climate change – like heart disease in children – on the vaccines.

Misinformation had become weaponized – it was now called “Cyber Terror” – they told us, maybe from Russia or domestic terrorist, white supremacist groups. The media would do their best to protect us.

If you stayed in your lane, wore your mask, and followed CDC, you could be safe.

We were allowed to go places and do things if we stayed current on boosters, while it became hard for the unvaccinated. If you can’t protect your community, you can’t participate.

Sorry, not sorry.

Leading up to the 2024 election, there was another surge of COVID from a new, Sigma variant. Unlike Delta and Omicron, Variants of Concern, the CDC and WHO called Sigma a Variant of High Consequence. This meant that prevention and medical countermeasures had significantly reduced effectiveness.

It was all over the news…

“The Sigma variant is said to have mutated and transmitted from Patient Zero, an unvaccinated woman in Ocala, FL, a mother of three admitted members of the Proud Boys. The deadly strain of COVID 19 is vaccine-resistant. The CDC reports a disproportionately high number of infections in the vaccinated population, and low vaccine-induced protection against severe illness and hospitalization.”

Most States went back into full lockdown mode – essential businesses only – while Pfizer, Jansen, and Moderna created new boosters, in some cases doubling the dose of active ingredients.

Harris-Warren ran on a campaign of vaccine mandates to end the lockdowns.

They won re-election over Trump-DeSantis by the widest margin ever, receiving 71% of the popular vote. The conspiracy theorists said that was impossible, but so many of us just hated Trump.

Though she stepped into the role after Biden’s stroke and sudden death in 2022, to have a black woman elected President was a huge victory, with another woman serving as VP.

On January 6th, President Harris issued Executive Order (EO) 14575 mandating that every American over three be fully vaccinated against COVID 19, including boosters every six months.

There were more riots at the Capital, another insurrection.

Protests erupted and became riots on both sides. The unvaccinated were the problem. They were the reason we couldn’t go back to normal. They wanted ‘individual liberty’, ‘state’s rights’, and chanted ‘my body, my choice’, but COVID doesn’t give any of us a choice. It’s about protecting our community.

We had to protect our community.

Some – even the same people turning up at opposing rallies – seemed to want only rage and destruction. They wanted to blow everything up to pay for America’s sins.

Pallets of brick somehow arrived on street corners ahead of scheduled rallies.

The destruction was allowed to go on, described as peaceful, even justified. Any country that allowed nearly 100 years of legalized slavery, that justifies the destruction of property.

I was so naïve, with my white privilege.

To me, slavery had been the stuff of history books, but that was foolish thinking – white privilege – thinking that way, not knowing any better. So much guilt and shame, as I look back at who I was.

Shame about slavery, shame about racism, shame about climate.

Dozens of cities burned, and local police departments were overwhelmed. Governors pleaded for help, and the Harris Administration stepped in to bring order, issuing 35 new Executive Orders for Martial Law with curfews, restrictions on hate speech, and temporarily suspending the 2nd Amendment.

People were asked to turn in their guns and received reimbursement. Neighbors, friends and family members who identified others harboring guns were rewarded with $15,000 each.

Anyone opposing the new rules was labeled a white supremacist, anti-vaxxer, or domestic terrorist. Military vehicles paraded through the streets, rounding them up for reeducation in quarantine camps.

We were happy to see them go, to see the fighting stop.

The Digital Dollar

The rioting ended, but America was anxious. We wondered if we would ever get to go back to normal. If everyone just follows the rules, we can be safe again, I kept reminding myself.

The President had a plan, they announced. Five women would lead us out of the crisis, a first in history, America’s finest hour. We watched as Harris delivered a virtual State of the Union.

“My administration is making history. I am happy to report an end to suffering in America. No longer will single mothers have to work two jobs to put food on the table. No more will seniors need to skip meals to buy a modest birthday present for a grandchild. Together with Vice President Warren, Secretary Yellen, Chairwoman Brainard, and Comptroller Omarova, we will continue to Build Back Better, assuring every hardworking American gets a Universal Basic Income, above the poverty line.”

Roaring applause was chimed into the broadcast, and just like that, they ended poverty.

They rolled it out with an all-Digital Dollar, giving us all our own accounts with the Central Bank. I got $1,850 per month, and married couples got $2,775.

People stopped getting married after that.

The money came through an App on our phones, FedNow, but businesses got greedy, raising prices. We had more money, so they thought they could get away with charging more.

Capitalism is so gross.

Nobody was poor, but many of us still didn’t have things. It cost a lot just to get by.

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