Clarion Call -Chapter 7-Leadership In a Power-Less World…or Not.
“Clarion Call” is an American business dedicated to nothing more than making money. Through marvelous use of technology, mass communication and an interconnected society , “CC”, as it became known, unwittingly stepped up to podium when the government of the United States totally collapsed, all under its own bureaucratic weight.
Solidly set and running smoothly with an economic and intellectual infrastructure that included millions of American citizens, talents ready, workers inside of the government institutions, an ant hill existed below the fruited plains that arose to save the most powerful country in the world.
All this without a single bureaucrat lifting a finger, without a solitary politician casting a vote.
Chapter 7-Leadership In a Power-Less World…or Not.
It’s difficult to look presidential when the country you lead is dark and forlorn and with no effective method to hear a leader’s words of wisdom. The nationwide blackout began on the day of the anticipated annual State of the Union Speech. The country had- as much as the country cared for the same old words from a politician- been tuned to the notion of a presidential address. Much of the country tuned in to Home and Garden TV or other cable outlets during what had then become President Obama’s same old rambling speech attacking so-called “rich” people. But deference was paid to such annual speeches by the President in charge by the large media outlets and as such we’d shrugged at missing an American Idol final and either prepared to listen to the man or do something else.
Across the fruited plains Americans were expecting to hear from their President. Once the power went out, those same Americans fully expected to hear their President calm them and tell them everything is all right.
Oh it wasn’t as simple or naïve as that. The blackout had only been in effect for five hours before the hour that had been designated for the presidential speech. By that time the country had heard the rant of Mickey Major as it endlessly repeated itself so many, including myself, thought that soon we would hear Obama’s voice to both explain that strange rant and proceed to tell us what is going on, what to do.
Most of the country by that time assumed the country’s power grid had been attacked-by the Chinese as was the popular street scuttlebutt-and we, of course, figured the President would come on and tell us that he’s got this.
Instead the country was treated to more endless rants by Mickey Major and never heard a word from President Obama.
CB radios were resurrected from the dust bins and with batteries and generators there grew, over the 24 hours following Obama’s no-show, a network of communication that was rough, true, but hardy Americans that we were, we figured out how to bring voices and updates all across the fruited plains.
Here in Georgetown Delaware we managed to set up some sort of “pass it down” sort of communication system. Via CB’s and a couple of local radio stations with still-working generators, citizens of this town erected tents along the few major highways we have. These tents would have electronic equipment that included CB’s and car batteries, I don’t know why.
It got to be that the major highways of my area became places for citizens to visit these “tent media” outlets and catch up on the latest. We also got to meet and greet many of our fellow Americans-in the case of here in Georgetown Delaware many were our fellow illegal Hispanic Americans but more on this later. In my own personal case I only needed to walk a few blocks to my closest tent media and boom, within five minutes I got the latest scoop, either via CB radio wave or the input of fellow citizens. Mickey Major’s stupid rant still played over and over the country’s many public broadcast systems but in due course Americans figured out where the sound was coming from in their area and managed to muffle it or outright destroy the equipment carrying his disgraceful words.
Nobody knew where President Obama was.
That’s the summary of America’s leadership during that time.
Nobody knew where congress was for that matter, neither Senators or Representatives in America’s House.
Nobody, in most cases save one exceptional one, even knew where most of their state and local elected representatives were for that matter.
It was if the entire Ruling Class had disappeared completely. Across the fruited plains, in media tents or darkened public libraries or in individual living rooms and parlors, we simply could not believe that not a single elected leader could be found. We pondered, with a large dose of fear I admit, how on earth we could get this country together again without our beloved Ruling Class.
After a while we got to laughing about it. After a longer while we downright enjoyed it. In media tents across the country talk began to rumble that was time to restore the power and bring the country back alive.
There were, of course, many members of the political establishment out and about. Since it was the night of the SOTU address, most of the Ruling Class were in DC and details after the fact were that all of the elected people, members of the Cabinet, Chiefs of Staff and such, were moved to secret locations. It was assumed that the massive power outage was a sudden attack by a foreign enemy and goodness knows first we must save the Ruling Class.
Yes, we understood, us Rubes living across the fruited plains, wondering what happened to the power and what to do about it, that there’s something to be said for preserving your congress, your legislators, those most able to restore a lost orderliness. Only after almost 24 hours of this national disaster, they still were not to be seen or heard from.
Oh there were stories about locked automatic doors, about confusion and chaos in the secret locations where the Ruling Class was “stored” during the attack of the national blackout. The truth, proving the theory of Occam’s Razor once again, was that most of the Ruling Class got out of their safe locations and somehow got the hell home to be with their family. A very large percentage did remain in the shelters but do not, yon reader, believe that the Ruling Class that remained behind were the noble ones, that they intended to fix the power and lead the country afterward. Truth was that they were the ones without enough authority to demand gasoline or precious airplanes or whatever it took to get them the hell out of town.
And there were, as we now know, quite a few local and state Ruling Class members who managed to wend their way to a tent media or a local radio station. Some of them went on to ascend to major leadership positions in the restructure of this country and they are good people.
Alas even the majority of the local and state Ruling Class found a way to get out of Dodge and be with their family and loved ones, far from any position of leadership that they never possessed in the first place.
Over the first few days of the blackout there were, as would be expected, wild and wooly rumors about what was going on. At 5pm the day AFTER the scheduled SOTU speech and then almost 24 hours into the blackout, the media tents and local citizen gathering spots were abuzz. President Obama was due to speak, so the story spread. The rumor seemed so real, repeated so very often that it had to be true, all of us waiting for news across the fruited plains were sure that it was time for the President to step up, as we sort of expect our Presidents to do.
If one had the advantage of aerial views of the country no doubt there would be pictures of long lines of Americans standing around media tents or gathered by throngs outside of broadcast spots. At 5pm the Emergency Broadcast Stations across the country were unmuffled or fixed to run, as the rumor was that the country managed to get the EBS running again and it would be used, as was the original plan, to provide information to worried and confused Americans across the country.
Once again we got to hear Mickey Major’s rant. Not one syllable from President Obama did the nation hear.
That was when the nation, collectively knew it was on it’s own.
We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
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