When the Apocalypse Brings Darkness
Could you imagine life without electricity?
How would you continue to work? What would school look like? How would we ever survive without Netflix or Hulu?
This is a very real situation for some people in the world, even today, but the characters in the fictional world of Divided faced this head-on.
After years of racial tensions, riots and then gang wars decimated America’s cities, our enemies took advantage of our vulnerability and pounded our coasts with nuclear weapons.
Then, the unthinkable happened. An apocalypse of darkness.
An EMP plunged the rest of the nation into darkness. Then a ruthless drug lord turned dictator enslaved an entire nation for his benefit.
But, let’s go back to the EMP.
An EMP is an Electro-Magnetic Pulse produced by exploding a nuclear weapon high in the atmosphere. The natural magnetic atmosphere of the earth distributes the electronics-busting energy of a nuclear explosion southward. If an EMP detonated over the northern US, say some place in South Dakota or Minnesota, the impact would fry electronic devices in a wide cone affecting almost the entire continental United States.
No cell phones or laptops or tablets.
Some cars wouldn’t run, notably electric vehicles which are all the rage now. Though since oil refineries won't work, even gas-powered cars would fail within weeks or months due to supply chain interruption.
No factories, hospitals, governmental services, buses, trains, planes, you name it.
No running water.
Each night the darkness takes over. The silence deep.
How would you survive?
Puerto Rican first-hand accounts chronicle how they survived the dark season after Hurricane Maria hit shredding the island’s power grid, a unique situation as all their electronic devices still technically worked.
They worked together as a community.
Communities pooled resources, sharing generators and refrigerator space. Cooking meals over outdoor cook fires collectively. Sharing access to food and clean water.
And they did this in the Rio Grande / El Yunque region for over a year.
That’s how long it took to get power to the most impacted far northeastern part of the island. Imagine a twelve hour tornado hovering in the same place and that’s what Maria did!
Would we be as communal, as selfless in the continental US?
I’m not so sure.
The division and hostility from the 2020 race riots produced a divide in our society so deep that only a serious shaking will snap us out of.
Today, I see divisions over race, class, economics, education, politics, gender identity and ideology.
We are on a path toward self-destruction in how we relate. We have a magnificent country, but we could so easily lose the freedoms we too often take for granted.
In the blink of an eye, it could all be gone. Our divisions leave us vulnerable to the plans and schemes of those bent against our ideals of democracy and freedom.
Where do we go from here?
We must learn to listen first. Ask questions. Seek to understand and relate. Then build bridges.
We can only be the UNITED States of America if we come together, despite our differences.