The Day the Internet Died

Image courtesy wikimedia.org (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hurricane_Sandy_Blackout_New_York_Skyline.JPG)

Imagine one day the Internet stopped working. It still worked in other parts of the country, but in your state or region it did not. The only people who could explain why were theoretical physicists who use unfamiliar words and phrases that go right over your head and you have a hard time looking them all up because, no Internet.

Would you still have a job?
Would your friends have a job? 
Your family?

You could move to a region where the Internet still worked, of course. But the competition for jobs in these places is insane. And you’re late to the game because you thought it was a technical glitch that could get fixed. Even when they told you it would be difficult, if not impossible, to fix this, you stubbornly stayed in place because you know how the Internet works. Just plug it back in. Reboot something.

Moving yourself and your family is difficult. No one wants to buy your house. Communication with airlines and real estate agents is hard because they’re in high demand, but also because they’re listening to their web portals for business, not their phones. Besides you have very little capital to hand. It has become exponentially difficult to live where you are because other businesses who depend on the Internet simply can’t get the goods and services to where you are easily. Tourism is down, way down. No one wants to visit a place where they can’t see what their friends are doing on social media. It’s difficult to pay for anything. Credit card processing like PayPal and Square need the Internet. Credit card machines that still use analog phone lines are tough to find.
 
Would you be able to relocate?
At what cost?
What if you were forced to remain?

Years later, your town or city is a shell of what it once was. Most of the houses are derelict. The store fronts are empty. Entertainments like movie theaters and clubs are long gone, as are resorts and hotels. The streets, the paths, the parks are crumbling and there’s no money to fix anything but the biggest holes.

And you’re pissed! How great was your city, your state, before this happened? Why didn’t the government do something to fix this? Instead all the other cities and states, where the Internet still worked, got the attention. They got the money. They got the jobs. And you just heard someone explain the other day that whatever happened to the Internet radically changed the nature of how it worked, so even if you could afford to move to one of these other cities, your job skills are worthless. You would have to start over. And you’d be competing with all the others who are just starting out fresh. The college kids. The immigrants.

Your kids might be college age now, but their schools fell apart years ago. They can’t afford college, not at these prices. Besides they’re too busy surviving to worry about education. Jobs in your area are unstable. They don’t last long and they can disappear without warning. And there’s always crap getting in the way. People get sick. Accidental pregnancies. And man, if you can’t show up to do the job, you better believe someone else will.

Along comes a new guy running for president. He’s saying things that kinda resonate with you. All these others are getting opportunities while people like you have been forgotten. These other candidates talk about opportunities for immigrants for Christ sakes, some of whom got in illegally. They’re helping outsiders before fixing the problems for people like you who have been here the whole time. And this new guy, he’s wealthy. He’s successful. He’s gotta know something or he wouldn’t be that way. Other politicians discredit him, but they’ll discredit anyone. They’re like seagulls fighting over trash. You’ve been waiting for years and no one has tried to fix anything about your town. They offer programs that don’t work very well. Meanwhile they refuse to admit that it’s because they ignored you all this time that things are the way they are.

Kansas has Internet. Chicago has Internet. For Christ’s sake Flint, Michigan has the Internet. But not your state. Because they all decided that your state wasn’t worth saving. It couldn’t be fixed. Now what this new guy is saying makes a lot of sense. All you have to do is plug it back in. Reboot something!

How would you vote?
If some well off person told you your vote would destroy the country, would you care?
What could change your mind?