[I am thinking of using this as the prologue to a dystopian novel set in the near future. Any comments?]
Ask anyone who was alive then, and most of them will tell you that America ended on a brisk Monday in January, 2025. The problem is, what happened on January 20, 2025 was just the end of a series of events that had been ongoing for decades. America didn’t end when 78 pounds of highly enriched uranium came slamming together in the back of a small cargo plane a thousand feet over the Capital Building. It didn’t end when the tens of thousands of people who’d assembled to see the president be sworn in for his second term were vaporized, along with the president and much of Congress.
No, it ended long, long before that.
The disgruntled employee who smuggled the uranium that fueled the ‘nuclear device’ out of a federal lab didn’t kill it. Nor did the handful of angry people who helped him cast the small chunks of uranium into usable parts for a ‘gun’ bomb. It wasn’t killed by the people who drove the parts across country to a small municipal airfield in Maryland. Neither the people who assembled the ‘device’, nor the deranged man who flew the bulky turboprop to the bomb’s point of detonation killed America.
All of them were just the end result of a process that had started before some of them had even been born.
America had been killed by attitudes.
America had been destroyed by factionalism.
America died the day it’s people broke into tribes called political parties.
It died when those tribes had hardened into camps that saw their opposite numbers as ‘other’.
It died when people saw no other point of view but their own group’s as valid.
America died because all of this was organized by a few, who saw the idea of a nation split into warring camps as a way for them to gain and maintain power.
The blinding flash, the energy that raised the temperature of the air to something near that of the surface of the Sun, and the over-pressure wave that swept aside buildings for miles, all of that was nothing but the final act of a play stretching over years. The chaos, death and destruction that followed were little more than the final convulsions of a corpse long dead.