Elections were over. We could only hope that the new leader would serve the people well. The election left no one guessing who would be in command; the process was a farce, a rigged demonstration to make people think they still had a choice. Of course everyone knew that wasn't true, or did they? You couldn't speak of it or it might get you in trouble. Who could you trust? It was impossible to tell.
What had happened these last four years was a fairy tale, hard to believe. Somehow, a slow manipulation of minds had been taking place; so planned and inconspicuous that it was hard to pinpoint when it began and when it grew to the monstrosity it now was.
The younger generation had been brainwashed at school, little by little. The older citizens, like myself, found it harder to accept. We were outnumbered, any outcry would have us labeled crazy or senile; we would have been thrown into an insane asylum or nursing home.
I turned on my TV and heard the song, Tell me over and over again my friend, why you don't believe we're on the Eve of Destruction. How appropriate. Cyrus Mangrove was speaking. He was the new leader (the term President wasn't used any more). The leader's term had been extended from four years to ten. Great!
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I looked around the room, expecting someone to be lurking around the corner. Leader Mangrove was redefining America. I almost couldn't bear it.
“Now that the election is over, after much discussion with my panel of experts, we believe it is in the best interest of our country to adopt a new name. It's time to send out a message to all other countries that we no longer have varying ideas and principles; we are a united front; one in which all citizens believe and accept the principles we have set forth. This will ultimately make us stronger and unwavering. We will no longer be known as America, but as WCA – World Creed Axiom. In the next few months we will be outlining just what this means and what is expected of all of WCA's citizens. I have heard that some of you are not on board, but I must warn you that this is your last chance to become a dedicated and worthy WCA citizen. Those who are not willing to conform will be dealt with individually, but I am confident that this will not happen. For now, keep tuned to this station, your station for all the WCA news.”
I ran a hand across my forehead. A feeling of dread swept through my body. I had hoped not to live long enough to see the light go out of America, but today it was burning less brightly. Quickly dissipating was everything my ancestors and myself stood for. All wiped out in the blink of an eye. We were becoming a nation of nothingness, that's how I saw it.
With heavy tread I made my way upstairs to bed. I couldn't stop myself from pushing the curtain aside to look out into the street. All appeared normal and quiet as usual but it seemed different to me. I felt like every star in the sky had a camera attached to it, watching me. I lay there for a long time trying to fall asleep. Alice, my wife, gone for six years now, would have been so distressed to see what was happening. Maybe she knew, perhaps she was watching it all unfold from above. Oh how I wished she were lying beside me, someone I could trust, someone I could talk to. The thought came to me that I would be lucky if I could join her, but I pushed the thought aside; the temptation was too much.
I had a restless night but it didn't matter, work beckoned. I got dressed and drove to Walmart for my part-time job. I noticed a sign by the time clock that said: All stockers report to the warehouse after punching in. A group of employees were already there. A table with brochures and some type of plastic buttons was sitting on the side. A supervisor came into the room carrying a flag with the same symbol as the plastic buttons and I realized that it was the beginning of re-branding America. The flag consisted of green stripes outlined in red. WCA was written in large black letters at the top. A red diamond was in the middle of the flag and in the middle of the diamond was a golden eye. At the bottom was written World Creed Axion.
We were each handed one of the plastic symbols from the table which turned out to be a pin. “You will wear these at all times when working here,” the supervisor said, and then continued. “Good morning, as Amazon and Walmart are two of the largest retailers in the country, we will be spearheading the transition from America to WCA. I have written instructions which I will hand out. In short, your assignment as stockers will be to remove all items from the store that contain any reference to America. WCA will be replacing those items with the WCA brand. We need everyone's cooperation in making this transition as seamless as possible. With that said, Let's get to work, we have a lot to do!”
I felt deflated as I drove home, totally drained. I sat on the couch just staring at the walls, and that's when it hit me. Maybe, just maybe, I could keep that light burning; and with enough luck it could grow back into a flame, a flame called America. A little slip of paper with our Bill of Rights accidentally dropped here and there, a speech by Martin Luther King, or Abraham Lincoln, the Declaration of Independence. It could work! It was worth a try, something to live for.