Thursday, November 23, 2017


Today, a dozen years later, there was still no explanation for what actually happened on Thanksgiving, 2017. No compelling, convincing rationale for what began in such a small way and grew so large that it changed the world.

The scientists admitted they could not explain it. They could not even figure out how to try to explain it. Many looked inward, saw this as a sign that they were but children in a universe too vast to be understood. Most determined to work even harder to explore what they had some small chance of understanding and to use their new knowledge to, simply put, make things better. The cure for cancer was found in 2021. Other benefits to mankind would follow.

The evangelicals were astonished that there was no Rapture despite their efforts to support candidates and policies that would surely hasten the End of Days. Some cursed the brightness. Others turned inward and found it within their hearts and minds to fully embrace the divine love that was supposed to be at the core of their faith. Other religions took similar paths.

In every human endeavor - education, energy, entertainment, health care, manufacturing - the arrogance of the powerful and the greed of the obscenely wealthy - began giving way to actions and policies based on embracing their great responsibilities for the benefit of all. A new age had begun.

The politicians had it the roughest. Few could hold themselves to the new standards of this new age. Some would simply walk away from their offices. Others would try to make amends for the evil they’d done. There were many confessions in the halls of government. There were men and women who begged for a chance to make things right and redeem their souls. There would come greater appreciation for all three branches of government and their individual responsibilities to the common good. There would be new political parties and many, many new faces.

This change was not exclusive to the United States. Forgive me, but as the smells of today’s Thanksgiving dinner drift up to my office, I want to finish today’s column and join the family and friends who have gathered in our home. I can write about Europe and England and Russia and the Middle East and Asia and North Korea and the rest another day.

It started on Thanksgiving morning, 2017. There was an audible pop heard round the world. There was a bright warmth that washed over the entire planet. It was hope and it was love and it was kindness and it was fellowship and it was knowledge and it was happiness and it was a sudden certain realization that we had not gone too far. That we could change. That we could do much better. That we had to do much better. That it would be glorious.

The pop and the light lasted but a few short seconds. Some people felt different immediately. Others denied anything had happened at all. Most just wondered and, from time to time, reflected on what it would be like to feel that way all the time.

The phenomenon went largely unreported. If mentioned at all, it was a paragraph or two relegated to the back pages of the newspapers or amusing banter on an early am morning mid-morning noon afternoon early evening late night news program. There was just so much news. Except for the occasional celebrity guest on a talk show, it wasn’t something anyone was talking about. At first.

The first concrete evidence that something had happened to us all. The first realization that something had happened. The first sign that something had changed. That came when the head of the Federal Communications Commission refused to gut internet neutrality. With defiant demeanor and words, he said the ability of the people to be heard could not be lessened in the name of bigger profits for the communications industry giants. After a barrage of vile tweets from the President, he was fired.

His hastily-appointed replacement also refused to do the bidding of the President. His hastily-appointed replacement turned out to be just as steadfast. As was her replacement. And his replacement. And his replacement. And her replacement.

Realizing how precious their rights of expression were, the people responded with more expression, more speech, more determination to be heard. While the President ran out of appointees, the scientists joined the struggle. Within months, there were alternatives to the government-controlled internet.

No one would be silenced. No one could be silenced.

Things continued to change. The formerly powerless demanded power. They embraced all the “others” the President and his supporters had tried to demonize. They had their fill of politicians playing them off against one another. They embraced the American dream and were determined to make it reality.

The members of the American Rifle Association ran their bought-and-paid-for-by-gun-manufacturers leadership out of the organization. They demanded the politicians enact the common sense laws they had always favored.

The true Christians, the true Muslims, the true atheists, the true practitioners of the Jewish faith opened their doors and hearts to one another. They proclaimed that while their paths to the goal might differ, the goal was the same for all of them.

Love would trump hate. It might take decades for bigotry and racism to be fully swept away into the dustbin of history, but there was little doubt of that unstoppable outcome.

People joined together for the common good of their nation. Nations joined together for the common good of their world. There was still misery in the nation and the world, but it no longer felt like it the intended consequences of schemes meant to make the rich richer and the powerful more powerful. There might always be misery, but the inevitability of misery was no longer acceptable. If it could be fought - and it could - it would be fought.

Seconds. An audible pop heard round the world. A brightness in the sky and in our hearts. A warmth that lifted our souls.

Seconds. The world changed. We changed.

The family is calling for me. They will expect me to say something profound before the meal. “You’re the writer,” they will say and I know that they know my truest self.

So I will express my thanks for human imagination. For our shared ability to imagine a better world and make it so. Tomorrow starts with an idea. The day after tomorrow, that’s when we start working to make that idea reality.

If we can imagine it, we can create it.

This has been a good year. Next year will be a better year.

With a pop and a brightness and a warmth.

Happy Thanksgiving, 2029.

See you tomorrow.
© 2017 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Tomorrow we're putting up the Christmas decorations in our new home. We've both had sad times recently, as both our mothers are now in nursing homes. My mom, thankfully, still thinks clearly and with wonderful wit and humor and was able to join us all at Sirloin Stockade for Thanksgiving this year. Deena's mom is unfortunately sinking deeper into dementia and couldn't leave. And the loss of our little house on 22nd Street has deeply affected Deena, as she has suffered bouts of depression for love of our former home for the last ten years. We're now living in a two-floor townhouse which has allowed me an office that doesn't look like a hoarder's nightmare. But Dee misses our last home, which had to be sold by her youngest sister to accomodate the expenses for their mom's stay at the nursing home. The best I can do is be supportive of Deena and love her as a husband should, especially at this time of the year. By the way, I love, love, love the new Black Lightning book. I'm buying it through Comixology, as I can't do a lot of physical comics collecting in our limited environment. But it's forever in my internet collection!