Looking back now, the economic collapse that hit the United States on June 22, 2015 shouldn’t have been a surprise…every party has to end one day, and our spending party lasted a lot longer than expected. Folks down south still call it the “Black Crash,” because it had rained nonstop for two solid weeks across the entire southern belt. The sun finally came out on June 21, and what a beautiful day it was, the older folks like to reminisce. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and a cold front had blown in, leaving temperatures about 15 degrees lower than average. It was supposed to be a beautiful week. People were planning trips to the beach, camping, lake excursions. And then the next day, before most people had even enjoyed their first cup of coffee, the bottom fell right out from under us. In the end, I guess Hollywood was at least partially right. It had made it clear that it would happen one day and we’d feel the shock…when chaos comes a-knocking. Well…chaos came a-knocking that day, but chaos didn’t just knock; it kicked in the door.
Needless to say, the popular vision of doomsday was very distant from how fate actually sacked us, but the dark days that followed were eerily similar to the movies. You see, disaster has a way of speeding things up, especially if it’s self-imposed. There is always that line, and if ever crossed, there is no going back…at least not for a very long time. And it still sounds odd to hear seemingly smart people say how the ominous signs they felt were so near and seemed so real, and yet they still managed to keep all of it far away from their busy lives. People started paying attention after it was too late.
I can only imagine what it felt like to have liberal sociologists on one side arguing how a manmade disaster would one day play out in real life, while conservative economists were putting out all the warning signs of one headed our way. Most people never listened to either side, I assume, until it was too late. And those who did listen probably didn’t really understand what any of it meant. But we know now because it all began on June 22. And it wasn’t pretty. Less than three weeks following the Black Crash, July 10th, to be exact, day-to-day societal structures and rule of law began to break down. By early August, when the country realized that money was gone and not coming back, the whole fabric of civilization began to rot. It took a few more months, but not much longer, for societal hope to run its course, for prayers to go unanswered. Chaos took over city streets on the first day of September, and the irony could have knocked you down; that is, if you were still standing. People in the cities blew it all off…because they thought big government would somehow come in and protect them. Then it spread to the suburbs, and by the end of September, reports of hunger were frequent. By mid-October, when it seemed like the entire nation had become violent overnight, the military took over to bring civil order back to the streets. It worked…to some degree.
During those crazy days, from day one to the day when it appeared that the military had finally brought civil order back to our cities, a growing number of people still squabbled over who was going to pay for this turmoil. Imagine that…after everything that was happening, politicians still squabbled over placing the blame.
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