It seems ridiculous to lock the door and arm the security system, but old habits persist even coated with an unlikely chance of returning. Shutting the door on Dallas, we head toward Arkansas before daybreak, the safest time to travel.
We take only what we can cram into our vehicle–mainly clothes, photos of the kids, and a few family heirlooms that won’t mean much to anyone else. I stuff my purse with a six-month supply of prescription medication, worthless cash to make me feel better, and important documents. Birth certificates are now needed to cross state lines. I check three times to make sure I still have them.
Along the bottom of the floorboard, John stacks quilts, canned food and water bottles. Jewelry is hidden underneath the rear compartment where the spare tire is stored. We may need it later.
Lucy rides in my lap, motionless. She sleeps most of the time, yet is still in good health considering her advanced dog age. Annabelle, warm against my thighs, curls next to her, unaware.
There were signs.
There are always signs.
For years everyone pointed fingers and slung accusations, everyone from Washington’s self-important talking heads to the regular Joe-Facebook complainer. George Bush is to blame. Bill Clinton started the whole mess promising homes to everyone. Obama armed the Syrian rebels seven years ago, leading to the destruction of Israel.
I don’t blame any one person or group. I blame everyone. I blame myself.
As other countries collapsed—Greece, Egypt, Syria, Portugal, Lebanon—the U.S. government continued handing down policy, keeping interest rates at rock bottom. Only the shrinking speculative market cheered. Individual states and cities went bankrupt, yet Congress debated stances with no real bearing on citizens. Natural disasters afflicted the planet, and America sent aid she didn’t have.
Bernanke pumped money into the system, and the stock market soared. With merely a whisper of Wall Street negativity, the market plummeted. Violent swings continued for years as Summers, the new Federal Reserve Chief continued Bernanke’s strategy of printing Monopoly money. When the market plunged twenty-five percent, people panicked, selling low. The next day stocks spiraled another thirty percent. People swarmed the streets, demanding answers, pulling money from banks to stuff beneath mattresses. Not that anyone saved money anymore. It had been decades since people really saved.
President Clinton, nearing the end of her first term, did little to calm the nation. The nation was too far gone. Unemployment soared. No one bought anything. Businesses folded.
When the Federal Reserve collapsed under the weight of its own debt, Clinton addressed the nation reporting that last year ninety-three percent of tax revenues went to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on U. S. debt.
Did we really think we could deficit spend our way to profitability?
Is anyone surprised?
A dark cloud now sits over the nation, thick and stifling like Panhandle dusters during The Great Depression. The world watches as Americans demand answers, steal to survive, loot to release tension. The National Guard attempts to keep order.
My family is thankful to still have the farm, the land. Things may be no better in Arkansas, but we will feel more secure among friends and family.I check my purse again for the birth certificates. Barring no problems on the road, we’ll be home in seven hours.
|Mississippi County, Arkansas
Nothing mattered except states of mind, chiefly our own. –John Maynard Keynes
This was written for the Write Tribe Festival of Words Blogging Event.