The Orange Man in the High Castle
Sunday, April 2, 2017
It was a bright cold day in Trumpril, and the clocks with elaborately baroque gold scrollwork were striking thirteen.
I’d just finished my daily food ration, a few ounces of gray, flavorless protein paste made of ground-up crickets, when Emperor Barron Trump the First appeared on our TV screens. There was some mention of it being the anniversary of his ascension. Was it one year? Or two?
It really doesn’t matter anyway. He may as well have been emperor for 10,000 years. So few remember the America that was, only half a lifetime ago. It has simply passed from memory.
Even the bloody, protracted leadership purge of 2034 has receded by now. It began when Emperor Donald Trump the First, Glorious & Eternal, died at 90 after serving two and a half years as President of the United States, three years as Emergency Administrator of the United States before finally, with great reluctance, assuming a lifetime appointment as emperor.
Perhaps it was Emperor Trump’s declaration late in life that he would henceforth be known as Immortan Donald that led him to forego setting a clear line of succession. Regardless, the fight amongst Trump family members for control of the United Empire of America dragged on for years.
Looking back two decades, it’s hard to point to when Trump’s rule really began. Yes, Trump’s election in 2016 obviously. But finding the flashpoint that showed the path we were headed down, that’s so much harder.
Perhaps it was when Trump was overseeing the state of emergency after Congress was disbanded and arrested. Some say it was when he named several wealthy Russian businessmen to his cabinet. Or maybe it was when a federal judge entered a temporary stay of Trump administration food safety regulations and was immediately dragged from the bench and shot on live TV.
Trump University historians noted that then-Emergency Administrator Trump’s tweets after the judge’s “retirement from the bench” reassured and calmed the troubled nation. He cast a conciliatory tone, asking Americans to pull together to “help judges maybe think about the dangerous implications of decisions they make” and that “it’d be truly terrible to see something like that judge getting shot happen again”.
A blue-ribbon commission led by Ivanka Trump found that the judge had been violently resisting arrest for an unpaid parking ticket and that the shooting was justified.
It proved to be a momentary blip, and a Trump News Network poll showed Trump’s popularity surged from a low of 93 percent to almost 99 percent after his tweetstorm. Regardless, disbanding the courts proved a more effective check on judiciary excess in the long run.
Or maybe Trump’s moment came when the buildings housing CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Slate and several other smaller regional news organizations simultaneously suffered massive structural failures, collapsed and then exploded before anyone inside could be rescued. A subsequent Trump administration inquiry found dangerous structural faults in every building housing every news organization in America except Fox News and Brietbart.
All of them were ordered disbanded until such time that “The Trump administration can guarantee that anyone reporting in this country won’t meet with sudden, deadly harm, which is really very avoidable if you think about it.”
Most Trump University historians however feel that these were merely precursor events to the mass roundups and internment of individuals in camps that Trump, with a wry sense of irony, dubbed “Sanctuary Cities.” Far too late, many realized that the border walls – both with Mexico and later Canada – were merely a ruse perpetrated on a gullible public. That and the multiple travel bans were intended not to keep others out, but as Trump later noted, “turns out they were actually locked in with me.”
“Rounding up illegal immigrants with years of experience hiding was just so agents could get some practice,” Trump later said with a hearty laugh.
“Dissenters were the real problem, and they weren’t making any effort to hide at all. Imagine that! Marching in front of cameras and then posting it on social media. Can you believe it?
“They thought they were brave resistance fighters. Turns out they were just helping make my job so much easier.”
Arrests were swift. Boston, San Francisco, Williamsburg, Portland, with their strict gun control laws, offered little to no resistance.
The first step was to round up everyone who signed up for Obamacare. GPS data collected by the NSA showed who had attended anti-trump protests. Anyone wearing pussy hats on Instagram or Facebook were targeted.
Also rounded up were New York Times subscribers and NPR pledge drive donors. State DMV records were searched for Prius owners. Entire neighborhoods were rounded up simply because John Oliver or Samantha Bee once got higher than average ratings there.
Gays were lured with the promise of free Lady Gaga concert only to find that “Lady Gaga” was none other than Mike Pence in disguise. Though efforts to “straighten out” detainees by having them engage in manly activities like wood chopping backfired when it made everyone as butch as the Brawny paper towels guy.
Dominoes fell swiftly after that. All universities were shut down. Months later, as the Trump’s armies swept through Canada and Mexico unchecked, Trump announced the founding the United Trump Empire of America. Soon after, all of South America rapidly fell. Then the Middle East and its vast oil reserves.
Efforts to block Trump via constitutional authority also proved fruitless, as Trump’s plan to repeal and replace the Constitution was among his easiest victories. Trump one day had just swapped in a his own version. So few Americans know what’s in the constitution that hardly anyone even noticed that the duties of the president were expanded to include “suppressing dissent in such manner as he sees fit,” “deciding all constitutional matters” and “banging hot chicks.”
With that, 240 years of constitutional authority were replaced by the Trump organization and one man’s vulgar appetites.
And that’s where we find ourselves today. Emperor Barron Trump, now in control of his father’s vast armies and the empire he built, is said to be eying the Pacific Rim countries and Europe next. What moves will come out of the Trump House are anyone’s guess, though.
What’s notable is the swiftness with which everything recounted here happened. Some said that the notion of America being transformed into a fascist nation was just wildly exaggerated political rhetoric.
However, looking back on the rule of Immortan Donald, it turned out not just to be plausible but true.