“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 8-Reality Settles In; The World Reacts
I must suppose that if one were writing a fictional account of the United States suddenly being plunged into darkness with all known leadership completely gone, the writer would most likely lean towards a plot that would involve chaos, panic, crime and despair across the fruited plains.
I must also suppose that the country’s former climb to dependence on government for everything might well have prevented that very same scenario from happening. It could be argued that a country prepared for its President’s annual state-of-the-union speech was even more expectant of government intervention to come save the day. Just throwing it out there, even that preposterous tape of Mickey Major playing over and over again surely had the country sitting on its collective thumbs awaiting for the Calvary to arrive.
The presence of so many generators in the era of a new, more energy independent millennia kept communication going for many days, there were places to go for light and warmth but mostly, for almost three full days, the country just shuffled along. There was no nationwide panic the day after the SOTU when no President was there to finally set us straight. It was mostly neighborhoods, frankly, that found the solutions, took care of the infirm, watched the young, provided the warmth and fed all.
Truth was, as I offer my People’s Scribe self , it is but my opinion- the biggest fear the citizenry felt after three days as the generators began to fade and gasoline ran scarce, was what on earth was going on with the rest of the world? Was our army working? Were foreign enemies encroaching on our shores, inching past the boundary to capture and enslave a helpless American public?
This fear was discussed at the many tent medias along the highways and byways. For the first two days of the blackout we not only did not hear from any of the political elite, we did not hear or know where the country’s military was, were they on alert, were they helpless like the rest of the country?
The concern about a possible foreign enemy amongst us, ready to rob and pillage as we were at our most vulnerable led, on around the third day, to formations of volunteer citizen groups. Guns, goodness we had plenty of guns, even the urban gangs were offering their guns, asking if they couldn’t be city soldiers in the manner of guerilla warriors.
We had no idea whether the rest of the planet had power or not and thus had no idea what they knew about the American blackout and what they planned to do about it.
It would turn out that the rest of the world did, indeed, know about the nationwide blackout, but of course. We found out so much after the fact and the American military did take over the protection of the country even if most of us were not aware of it.
Well of course, it’s the U.S. military and it has plenty of gasoline and generators are almost the norm at many military posts. Just as soon as the first light failed military stations across the planet went onto generator backup. All of the armed forces were aware of the blackout as soon as it happened. The Coast Guard immediately sent out ships to patrol the country’s borders. The army went on high alert and quickly got to pre-determined destinations just for this exact scenario. The navy patrolled the waters beyond the coastline and ships steamed quickly to pre-determined water locales to best guard the American mainland. Submarines function as a completely independent vehicle so it was small matter for the entire coast line to be surrounded by quiet nuclear submarines, all waiting for any action against our weakened country. The air force sent several planes out to strategic locations in foreign countries, mostly to conduct flyovers to ensure no country gets it into their head to suddenly send out battalions of air craft to harm or destroy us from the air.
This exact scenario had been presumed in the parlors and tent media across the country.
“The military’s been ready for this action by foreign enemies since Christ was a Kid,” is how my rather irreverent neighbor explained it to that evening’s parlor gathering in our development.
“You gotta figure that one of the first ways a foreign enemy would attack us is by cutting down our power supply,” my niece’s boyfriend offered.
Since no onslaught of foreign soldiers jack-booted their way through our neighborhoods after two powerless days we figured that the country wasn’t under attack. There was fairly regularly news service those first couple of days and consensus was that the blackout was nationwide, that it was not the result of a foreign attack, that it will all be fixed soon.
It was a mélange of emotions, none of us will ever forget it. There was the inconvenience of not having power. It was in the winter, heat was needed. It was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs on a nationwide basis.
First we satisfied our most immediate needs of life: warmth, food, shelter. My family had a kerosene heater that we’d purchased just for a power outage and it held out for the entire blackout. Of course we all had to sleep in one room and wear piles of clothes. Our neighborhood real quick created a sort of “food exchange” set-up after 24 hours. By that time freezers and refrigerators were thawing and spoiling good food stored within. We picked a vacant house in our community and we took all the food we thought would spoil soon. Since it was winter we set up a system to keep the stuff outside with an assigned monitor taking turns to guard it from the animals and elements.
We had lots of milk and meat and in due course, like in the famous story “Stone Soup”, we had hamburger rolls for the ground beef and cereal for the milk. One neighbor would make a wish and another would shout out that he or she had some in their home-“hold on while I get it”.
Our neighborhood had a watch crew set up almost immediately, bunch of bored guys got their guns and divvied up patrol hours. It started out somewhat in jest but as the darkness went on and on we were very comforted knowing they were watching the neighborhood.
It was like my neighborhood across the fruited plains, in the inner cities, on family farms, in suburbia. We did what had to be done. We weren’t happy about it but you do what you have to do. I wouldn’t put the halo of this sort of collective action solely on American citizens. I truly believe that this sort of communal survival that sprung up during the country’s nationwide blackout is a human trait and the same would happen in France, Africa, even in Egypt.
As for the political impact across the planet, the general consensus was that the entire planet earth was just plain flummoxed that the mighty United States of America was without power from sea to shining sea. Russia did not hurry to send nukes our way, China didn’t even mobilize its army. The Muslim countries continued business as usual. Al Queda was, and still is, a major problem but it’s like a dog that might finally catch a passing car; once it’s caught, what to do with it? For no matter how vulnerable America was (and, again, the country was not vulnerable at all thank to military action) or may have been perceived to be, a bunch of pathetic losers really didn’t have the mega-power to attack the country, they didn’t have power to build their bombs for one thing.
We didn’t know it at the time but a cadre of military superiors had taken over the country, at least in terms of self-defense and communicating with the rest of the planet. This sort of thing too, as we learned later, had been part of a previous plan.
It was dinner time the Wednesday following the nationwide electric blackout that the country got restless and decided to take action.
We’d listened to Mickey Major’s rant for many hours before most of the country managed to stop the endless and silly verbiage. We’d waited for the President to give us a State of the Union Address over that same national emergency broadcasting system. We’d rigged up a sort of national media system and so far as most of us knew, there were no riots or massive deaths due to the lack of electricity.
I remember that Wednesday quite well as it was my sick husband who began the day with a rant of his own that quite shocked me.
He was a gentle man, my husband, not the sort to go getting involved in any sort of mass political protest or argument. Which is not to say that he wasn’t knee-deep in politics in terms of keeping up with the political debates and expressing his own rancor should the discussions not agree with him.
“Pat, something’s got to be done about this blackout. Let’s get some breakfast and go down to the media tent by the Exxon and see what’s up.”
Will’s sentiment surprised me because the LAST person on the planet to ever get involved with “something to be done” would be William G. Frey Jr.
Sure, he’d rant and rave over whatever politician was on Meet the Press on any given Sunday. I only watched Meet the Press because Will watched it. Up until the big blackout I paid little attention to politics. I always was more interested in spending time with my only granddaughter and/or my only daughter. I voted in all national elections but I was not registered with any political party.
Will was a registered Republican and last time he voted Democrat was for Bill Clinton. I’d voted for Obama the first time though Will yelled at me constantly that a President Obama would bring the country down.
In a manner of speaking, President Obama DID bring the country down in that he failed to provide any leadership when the chips were down and the power was out.
Oh no, the nationwide loss of power was not Obama’s doing. The eleven plus millions of illegal immigrants was not Obama’s doing. The collapse of the health care system, such as it was, was not Obama’s doing.
To be sure, President Obama didn’t do anything to make any of these bad situations any better. He got so involved with the “improving the infrastructure” money laundering scheme and a demand for government controlled health care that the economy also went to hell during his presidency.
History has shown, “history” being a very gentle use of the word as the term in this missive refers to events less than five years prior in most cases…but recent history has shown that the great blackout of 2014 came about due to, well hell’s bells, there’s that perfect storm again.
The blame falls mostly on the stupid Environmental Protection Agency, which no longer exists by the way, nor should it ever have existed. It began as a “punishment” of some sort against a power plant in Texas-rumored to have been run by political enemies of Obama and thus open to mistreatment as was the rule in his day- and the punished power plant, shut down by some federal bureaucrat, was a huge hub of electrical energy for the entire west up through Washington state.
The punishment was implemented on a day when many of the nuclear power plants were going to be shut down for some regular inspection. Several coal-powered electrical plants had already been shut down for other EPA “punishments” and add it all together and the perfect storm of government intervention and already crippled and hampered electrical providers and boom, you’ve got …well a nationwide blackout.
I’m not at all sure I understand why power was not turned back on, at least in some pockets of the country. As was discovered by Clarion Call employees at a later date, there was really no reason for the power grid not to be re-activated, even if over small geographic areas, perhaps a little bit at a time. The best reason I can ascertain as to why the power grid was not restored, ANYWHERE across the fruited plains, was because there was no one in charge telling the power plant operators to throw the switch back on.
There’s thousands of documents online explaining the cause of the power outage and why it remained off for so long. But one does not have to be a civil engineer to figure out what went wrong with restoring power. The failure of the power grid to return after the blackout was caused by a bureaucracy too heavy to handle the cadre of rules, regulations and authorized personnel. The Las Vegas electric people couldn’t turn on until the California people fixed their stupid system which forced “electric usage restraint” and the California people couldn’t fix the dumb system that their state government installed because somebody in New York had to give permission.
On and on and on it went and until the entire country’s electrical grid went down nobody in the government realized that getting it back up was so onerous, indeed almost impossible, to get going again in that situation. Of course the government didn’t realize it. It’s not like “the government” is one person, one big CEO type who is responsible for running things and will get fired if he screws up.
Actually we did fire the government in a manner of speaking, didn’t we?
On the third day, America arose again like a mighty Phoenix from the ashes of the bureaucracy.