I just had a singularly disturbing television experience.
In my continued viewing of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVDs, I've come to the third-season two-parter, Past Tense. The Wiki entry can sum up the episode better than I can, because I don't want to talk about the events of the show so much as the effect it had on me. To be honest, it scared the hell out of me.
People usually talk about Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future coming true in glowing, hopeful terms, but with this one, it's a much less happy prospect. The frightening thing is, it's just as likely to come to pass, maybe even more so. Oppressive government identity policies, economic turmoil, rampant homelessness and joblessness, food shortages, a crevasse between the haves and the have nots, public and government apathy at an all-time high... does any of this sound familiar?
There's a brief sixteen years between now and 2024. A lot can happen in that time. A single twitch of history could send society down a path all too like the one I just saw. The wrong leader, the wrong policy, the wrong vote, the wrong disaster could make society decide to just up and give up on people... well, not to put too fine a point on it, but seeing as how I'm unemployed right now: People like me. Or people like the ones I see every day in this city, a heartbeat away from having their lives fall apart. Or the ones on the other side of the line, who might never be able to drag themselves back over it.
I'm not a prophet or a visionary. I don't know what the future holds. But I do know one thing: Anyone who says they're not going to vote this November because there's nothing in it for them is a chump.