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The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Monday, 13 May 2019 21:10

Just Fill in the Blank

Written by  Bob Serody

Are we human? That’s the question examined by the book ‘Human?’ by Sara Ashley Brown. She describes a world in which the people of the United States fall under autocratic control by a dictator, who utilizes today’s technology, the chip, which is easily recognizable to us all. With this tiny integrated circuit device buried in the heads of Americans in the cities of North America, they are conditioned to believe in a government that provides all of their minimal needs of subsistence in return for their giving up the ability of individual thought and the freedom to decide how to live their lives.

The dictator in this book of fiction is referred to as the ‘leader’. He utilizes the armed forces, not only to enforce control over his minions, but to create the appearance of an external threat by attacking other countries on a global scale with long range missiles. The book is analogous to George Orwell’s story of 1984, with the exception that the subjugation of the people by terror has been supplanted by mind control with the use of the chip.

The copyright date of 2019 indicates that the book’s description of both the present and the near future was partially motivated by the actions taking place in our government today. Our country is currently being divided by the lies and propaganda issued by President Donald Trump to maintain influence and control over his base. Then there is the battle raging between the executive and legislative branches of government over Trump’s tax returns, the question of collusion regarding Russian influence over the 2016 presidential election, and the fight over the release of the unredacted version of the Mueller Report. 

How does this relate to Brown’s story of the near future? First, let’s examine the behavior of our leader. Trump has issued public statements in which he admires the control that North Korean and Chinese leaders wield over their people. He has refused to condemn the meddling of Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, in our recent election, or the actions of the Prince of Saudi Arabia in connection with the gruesome murder of a journalist. His refusal to turn over documents and deny access to testimony by present and past members of his administration to the House of Representatives raises the possibility of a Constitutional crisis. He is now sending our armed forces, including a carrier task force and a B52 bomber group to the Middle East to intimidate Iran, raising the question whether this is a distraction to divert attention from his domestic problems with Congress and the presidential elections in 2020. The leader’s last name in the book, Human?, is Blank and his arrogance matches that of Donald Trump. Therefore, just fill in the word ‘blank”.

The story of the heroine, Candace, and her battle to survive under these circumstances is given in the first person. She is an ‘Outsider’, meaning that she lives outside the confines of the walled city, Omni. An interesting aspect of how the story unfolds is provided by the way the chapters jump back and forth between the 2020s and the 2040s. The present and the future converge at the end, which heightens the suspense and the final outcome. I prefer not to reveal whether or not Candace survives and how the story ends.  More important is the message delivered by this book. Are the citizens of the city of Omni really human? What does it mean to be human? Is being human dependent on the kind of relationship people have with each other?  Perhaps the Dalai Lama described it best when he said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”


Bob Serody is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance.

*ED. NOTE: The views expressed here are solely those of the author. SCPA does not endorse candidates and welcomes commentary on a wide range of issues, including political campaigns, local, regional and national. If interested in contributing commentary, please contact SCPA.

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 14:42
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