Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

So Far From Heaven

I've long aspired to write a book, but I'm better at coming up with stories than I am at writing them.  That's why I enjoy my fake book reviews so much.  A few years ago I came up with an idea for a book about a near-future world in which Japan has undergone some kind of unnamed catastrophe, and its population has been scattered around the world, with many ending up in the U.S.  In the story, a populist far-right movement emerges, bent on expelling the Japanese (or "Nihonjin," as the bigots insist on calling them, to signal their alien status without technically using a slur).  The protagonist's family would have taken in a Japanese orphan as a young child, and the story would follow the protagonist, his brother, and his adoptive sister as they come of age in a world turned hostile.  Ultimately they would flee to Canada.  The book would be called So Far From Heaven, a play on the old saying, "Poor Mexico!  So far from heaven and so close to the United States of America."

I hope I still write the story someday.  But one problem I had was imagining a political movement in the U.S. that could be so vile.  "It can't happen here."  I tried to come up with scenarios in which the Republican Party went off the rails, or a third party sprang up and somehow took power.  It seemed too implausible to work (although of course a certain amount of leeway is allowed in a novel).

Anyway here we are.  It turns out it took almost nothing.  Our society had a glass jaw.  Yes, there had to be a "perfect storm," a coincidence of factors that paved the way.  But they weren't that extraordinary; it wasn't that perfect a storm.  There was no galvanizing incident, no national emergency.

I am despondent as I'm sure you are.  Our only option is to resist.  To resist, and to have compassion for the people who will suffer for our sins.


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