Late Thanksgiving Night–November 28, 2075
Dear finder of note,
You’re reading the words of the college-age son to the Forthwith Family, which I have no fear saying is our real family name and not a pseudonym. I want you to know about the risk I’m taking clandestinely sending this letter to you through the new time travel devices that were made available in most states ten years ago. You see, you need governmental approval for a person or thing to be sent back or forward in time. The problem is that I’m about to tell you painful truths about Congressional budget cuts that have finally been taken to their extreme recently due to a nationwide bankruptcy and hitting families hard this particular Thanksgiving.
For starters: Social Security has been cut by 80%, the retirement age was moved up to 80 in the summer and most government services to help the needy have run as dry as any ethical values in politics.
Call our family name ironic if you want since many in my own family have been deeply affected by all the budget excisions. Even though the cuts have been done through attrition methods the last 65 years, the national spending never stopped–hence an unprecedented national bankruptcy in January. It wasn’t easy this month hearing from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that they were about to definitively lose all their Medicare benefits, all of their Social Security and destroying any concept of ever retiring.
It’s inevitable then the United States did away with Democrats & Republicans and divided into four different factions last year that could be attributed in a contrived way to a Charles Dickens novel. I was just graduating from high school when it happened and right after Congressional announcement that the most severe governmental cuts were happening in the fall of ’75 due to impending national bankruptcy. Despite being a part of Generation Z that attaches skepticism to every person and concept, most of my fellow graduates never thought America would potentially become the most extreme reflection in Dickensian sociological disparity.
If there was always skepticism about that from my peers, there was equal skepticism about America letting class warfare happen without a solution. Unfortunately, the class warfare was the direct instigator of why this Thanksgiving will be the first in American history with those four new, distinct political parties living in their own districts to avoid conflict.
FYI, these parties are the Upper Echelon Society, the Middle Class Entrepreneurial Association, the Lower Anarchistic People of America and the Shantytown Rebellion Providence of the People.
For your own sake of peace, I won’t say where each district line was drawn. I will say that all of the political parties live up to their very titles. The first consists of the diffuse billionaires and millionaires who had enough money stowed away in elite banks to live comfortably without need of governmental help. They make up the bulk of Congress.
The second comprises those who run their own businesses or work for government and struggle at finding footing when needing governmental help.
The third comprises the people who had no choice but to lean on partial governmental funds, only have half of what they had before and consistently plan protests in Washington, D.C. that never get implemented.
The last political party has those hit the hardest, pushed into living primitively in the worst kind of shantytowns and consistently planning failed takeovers of the government to reestablish some kind of sanity.
It was today, Thanksgiving, when my entire family found out that because of the national bankruptcy, they’ll likely have to join the Lower Anarchistic People or the Shantytown Rebellion party starting in 2076. We’ve all lived in the Middle Class Entrepreneurial Association district since the party lines were drawn. We fear that the CEO’s who run the MCEA won’t keep us here since all the political parties turn away those who don’t fit their economic bracket.
Yet our Thanksgiving dinner went on tonight with the usual family unity.
Granddad and Grandmother Forthwith were always fortunate in dodging the worst possible calamities most of their life, so their psychology in embracing the situation brought the most energy. Both aged 72, they thought they had eight more years of work ahead of them with Granddad as a dietician in the public school system and Grandmother as a school teacher. Both received notices their jobs will be terminated in January due to lack of governmental funds. Yet their gait in preparing dinner had as much dissipation of age and enhancement of gainful enthusiasm as I’ve heard you still see in 2010 and decades long before.
Uncle Ted and Aunt Jessica (who live right on the line between the Middle Class party and the Lower Anarchistic People party) also will be in equal bad financial shape, though arrived at Granddad and Grandmother’s house without acting like anything was wrong.
My parents, James and Sarah, are self-employed writers who relied on government grants to help them find work when costs of capital to operate a business exceeded monthly gross income. Any saving grace situation looked bleak for them in the coming year. But I watched them from certain vantage points while they readied themselves to leave to Granddad and Grandmother’s house earlier this afternoon. There was an odd, insouciant confidence there as if they were leaving to a swanky New Year’s Eve party. It’s a sight few saw in many families through my generation.
Some last-minute arrivals at Granddad and Grandmother’s house were a few cousins and close family friends who lived not far away. I’d heard through other sources that they were all going to be joining us in financial hardship. Yet the traditional witty banter between my Cousin Luke and my dad was echoed through my grandparents’ foyer the minute the doorbell rang. Miranda, a friend of my mom’s, yielded more joyful guffaws between the two and was always incited by the most banal things said. Uncle Ted sat down at my grandparents’ Steinway piano and happily played a few holiday tunes in his hunt and peck style–as well as playing a few new ones he penned.
All of this joyful cacophony eventually made its way to the dinner table without consulting with me about why they were doing it. They didn’t readily notice that I was consistently standing in one place and staring at them with a sadly drawn, pitying look. It was when we were barely fifteen minutes into attacking our economical Thanksgiving dinner when all that joyful noise increased. The sound spiraled around the room and entered my ears like the sound of a vuvuzela (which, incidentally, are still used and disparaged in 2075).
I’d had enough.
“For God’s sake, stop it! Do you have any concept of what’s about to happen to us all in about 60 days?!”
The expected painful silence didn’t last long. I nevertheless had to endure a long minute of clinking silverware and one long sip of wine from my dad.
Mom started in first with an explanation, which relaxed me a little knowing there truly was a reason for their madness. She brought me back to a reminder of the family’s spiritual faith that was shared with everyone else in the room who wasn’t a blood relative. While it was non-denominational, they always held out the belief that when things became impossible to deal with in the world, spiritual salvation would soon be here.
It was a celebration of things not possibly getting any worse and, by logic, likely about to get better.
I was then told that they kept that collective belief from me knowing that I’d turned more into an independent pragmatist while in high school. But their candor was a true gift that allowed an honesty we hadn’t seen at a Thanksgiving table ever before. It allowed me to broach a major announcement that was on my mind since realizing what was about to happen at the first of the year: Finding a way to solve the problem, just in case my family’s hunches were wrong.
My plans are still being built, though I’m planning to run for political office under a newly-formed political party called The Generation Z Restoration Party. All my fellow peers from high school are about to join me in helping it get off the ground. If we all end up in the lower districts, I plan to take it before the Upper Echelon Society to get their financial support. My friends and I crafted a basic financial plan that could potentially get America solvent again.
The support from my family and all others attending was aloofly unanimous tonight. Now that it’s at the end of another Thanksgiving, however, I ask you to keep it quiet that I sent this letter back to you so there won’t be serious legal repercussions for my political ambitions.
Nevertheless, my fullest intention is to let you to know that no matter what happens tomorrow, it’ll be a red letter day for humanity.
And know that the Forthwith Family Thanksgiving of 2075 lived up to its family name.