Monday, January 04, 2010

Jailed for what?

America has changed dramatically. It's 2010, a year that I thought would never come, and it's the summer. The president of the country has let his true socialist colors show, and has elected officials who have taken their power to extreme measures. The common people of America were jobless and homeless. They could resolve neither problem because of the country's messed up policies towards the jobless and homeless: you could only buy a home if you have sufficient means, and you can only get a job if you have a job, or if you have 10 years experience in the field, something rare among the common people. Meanwhile, they were also punished for being jobless and homeless. In other words, they were punished because they were unable to follow the rules that were designed to exclude them.

Secret police were everywhere. Government property was not clearly marked and had become entirely private. National parks were closed to visitors. A handful of public trails remained for "entertainment of the masses". This was one of the few entertainments that they had left, as the bourgeoisie had taken everything of value. One of them had reopened perhaps only 0.5% of what had been public property for the benefit of the 95% that weren't them. From this reopening of the 0.5%, he had scored the benefit of making himself appear to be the true benefactor for the lower classes of people. By his one act of kindness, he was the self-appointed messiah to us all.

Of the 95% of people outside the bourgeoisie, a full 50% consisted of the jobless and homeless. The other 50% that had jobs and homes were forced into sharing small homes and dead-end jobs. We were monitored everywhere for the maintaining of "happiness".

Well, I was one of the fortunate ones who had a job: it wasn't much, but it was a job, and I lived in a small but comfortable home. My dreams of being in the entertainment industry had closed, as now only members of the elite could even think of pursuing it. Schooling was extremely expensive (thus, only the 5% could afford it), and if you couldn't show a certificate to back up your talents, you couldn't get in. But if you could show a certificate, you had full access anywhere, even if you had no talents. Thus, true musicians, actors and entertainers hated the entertainment industry, because they were filled with people with no talent, who bought their way around. It was a "You need money to get money, and if you don't have money, you can't get any more money" situation, perfect for a revolution. You could feel that all people were steaming, but not brave enough to do anything about it. They also couldn't tell what needed to be done: they only knew that something had to be done.

Anyway, that's the setting for the story. As I stated before, I was one of the lucky ones who had a job, but it was a dead-end job, and I had hit the ceiling by being hired. As such, I needed to get out quite often and go exploring the little bit that was left to us. I decided to go hiking alone, and hit one of the public trails. I was just thinking and walking and the direness of my situation (or our collective situations) was smoothing itself out. Soon enough, I stopped thinking and looked around me. I was completely alone, surrounded by wilderness. Apparently, without trying or thinking, I had stumbled upon a land where no one else was. Thinking that this was really cool, I looked around to see if I could find a good vantage point. I was on a mountain, so I began climbing it, in the hopes that I could find a beautiful vantage point, or some direction so that when I needed to go home, I could do so.

As I climbed, I discovered a mineshaft. My curiosity got the better of me, so I went exploring, thinking that I wouldn't go too far: I'd just go in a few hundred feet and see what's in here. It looked pretty well abandoned, but the path was lit by cold lights, so I could just keep going. I found rooms full of crystals, minerals, precious metals -- it looked to be a miners dream. Everything was just there for the taking. A little too easy, it seemed to me. I got uncomfortable, as I felt that someone was watching me, so I left everything well enough alone and just kept exploring. I ended up coming through to the other side of the mountain, and as I stepped out into the sunlight, I was very quickly surrounded by a S.W.A.T. team bearing automatic and melee weapons. They arrested me as a criminal for trespassing and for theft.

Fast forward in time one full year. The judge had found me innocent for theft, and had been crazy with anger for not being able to charge me with anything but trespassing. He had thrown the book at me, but had only been able to keep me for one full year in prison. I was, after all, a working member of society, so I did have a couple rights left to me. Believe me, he did search the books to deprive me of them, too. The best he could do is throw me into prison for a full year. At the end of it all, I was released, but before I was actually let go, they put me into a small room at which point they said that they were going to erase my memory of my crime and my jail time. Why would you do that, I asked, and they told me that it was for my own happiness. After all, if I remembered that I had discovered a forbidden trail, a forbidden mine, forbidden treasures, and had experienced forbidden freedom to be put in jail for a full year by order of a judge who had tried to take everything from me, I wouldn't be happy.

"Trust me, it worked the last time we did this to you. It'll work again."

With sudden shock, all my old memories came back to me. This had happened before. No wonder the judge had hated me so much: I was a repeat offender, but I didn't know it. I could never learn from my past, because the system was set up to keep me blissfully ignorant of my past "crimes" in the hope that I would never discover them again. The system of judgment was set up in such a way that "crimes" (even repeat ones) were considered accidents when committed by anyone low in the totem pole. Thus, while they were guilty, they weren't always responsible for their actions. The rulers had effectively decided that we were all cattle who roughly knew the law but could never understand it. They had also figured that we were innocent and happy, and were just thrilled to work for the upper class when given modest stipends of freedom.

As my memory was flashed, a bright light filled my eyes. I found myself back at home in my bed waking up from a long nights sleep. Then I realized that I was actually awake, and not waking up in my dream. Ironically, today is my first day back to work following my week-long vacation.

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