Waiting for Angie
The year was 2023 (no worries, it's just a random pick, it doesn't really matter what year it was -- although the sooner the better), when a woman named Angie woke up one beautiful morning and realized that she was sick and tired of war. She decided it was high time to put a stop to that nonsense.
At the time two large wars and half a dozen smaller wars were consuming human lives for this or that reason by the thousands. This was by no means uncommon on planet Earth.
She got dressed and had a nice breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup (no bacon, she was a vegetarian). Satisfied and fortified, she then went into her garage where she made a sign out of wood on which she painted the words "No More War!" Fortunately she lived within walking distance of the White House. She took up a strategic position close to the gate and held up her sign for all to read. Of course, she wasn't the first person to do this. People had been carrying similar signs for many, many years. And, as is the custom in our fine country, radio pundits and TV heads promptly called her unpatriotic, crazy, dangerous, an idiot, and other derogatory names. One even called her a slut, although she was just a single mother working two jobs to support her teenage sons.
Normally, this would have been the end of the story, but this time it turned into more ... much more.
When Angie and her sign appeared on television another woman -- her name was Tonia and she was a US citizen originally from the Ukraine -- thought "You know, Angie is absolutely right." So Tonia got herself a sign and joined Angie, right there in front of the White House. At about the same time, Dirk Von Steinenbergen, a citizen of Germany on an extended work-related stay in our capitol, realized that no opportunity should be wasted. He made a sign and joined the girls.
For years after people would argue about what happened. Astrologers would claim that it was the unique conjunction of Venus and Mars. Numerologists pointed at the fact that it was a 2 Day in a 6 Month and a 7 Year. Psychologists claimed that mankind as a whole had reached "critical mass." Others pointed at the hundredth monkey theory, or the appearance of the virgin Mary on a shop window in San Carlos, Mexico. Facebook and Twitter got plenty of blame too, and probably deserved it.
Truth is, no one knows. But on the second day Angie parked herself in front of the White House, she was joined by 10,257 other people, all carrying signs proclaiming their dislike of wars. The number increased 12-fold the next day, and so it went. At the same time, after watching Angie on CNN, a group of grandmothers holding similar signs (in Cyrillic alphabet of course) found a spot in front of the Kremlin. In Russia, grandmothers are not to be messed with, so the cops didn't dare interfere. In fact, obedient sons and husbands showed up and joined the Babushkas.
In New Delhi, a crowd of peace-seeking demonstrators grew into the thousands in no time at all, supported by Bollywood movie stars and Saddhus and Gurus and what have you, while in major cities all over Asia men and women of all ages took to the streets holding signs and demanding peace. "No More of Your Crap!" was a favorite. As was, "Stop the Madness!"
By the end of the month, millions and millions of mothers and fathers, grandparents, teenagers, people in wheelchairs or leaning on crutches, had taken to the streets all over our fine planet.
This, of course, was bad for the economy, kept churches and mosques empty, and made politicians very nervous. Soldiers, too, looked at each other thinking "What the (bleep) are we doing?"
The first to publicly capitulate was the CEO of a major oil company who announced that from now on, he and his team would support peace above everything else, including oil and profit. The U.S. president followed with an impressive speech on national radio claiming that, if other countries would make certain promises, he would start moving one-fifth of the military budget toward the departments of education and health immediately, and increase that by 20 percent every year. At the same time, since he could easily afford that now, he would reduce the overall budget by 10 percent, starting next year and for 10 years after that. (For the mathematicians among you, that means there would be only one single dollar left for the military in exactly 23 years, while the tax burden on all Americans would drop to less than one-third.)
Not to be outdone, the Russian president made similar concessions. And when the president of China saw how well that went over with ordinary people, he too made big adjustments to his budget, pretty much wiping out the formidable Chinese military budget in just a few short years.
And so it went. Smaller countries followed the lead of big countries. Rich folks and CEOs of big corporations decided they would rather live in a world full of happy, prosperous people (which reduces crime!) and changed the way they did business. Top leaders of all religions shook hands and promised not to get in each other's way ever again, no more bad-mouthing each other's prophets or competing for souls. It would all be done and over with from now on! They'd finally realized that their God(s) probably preferred if they would refrain from murdering people, even those who believed in a different version of God(s).
Politicians basically just turned into benevolent and adorable managers and organizers, realizing quickly that being loved and respected is much more fun than being disliked.
It was a big change across the board but it all happened fairly quickly, in less than one generation.
After that, peace reigned everywhere. Dealing with problems that had kept us down for millennia became a piece of cake. Hunger was wiped from the face of this planet by properly distributing the abundance of resources. Education was now free and better than ever and, as a result, people were happier and generally doing what they enjoyed, as opposed to being forced into an undesirable job due to money worries or lack of opportunities. Overall health improved, medication became available to everyone on the planet, and so forth. Crime went down, prisons turned into youth hostels, police officers behaved more like educators and concerned uncles, and soldiers became emergency management volunteers (if they wanted to sacrifice a few years for the betterment of mankind, which is an opportunity everyone should have when they are young).
Big business and environmentalists worked closely together to save endangered species and preserve the land and the oceans the way it was meant to be. Resources such as minerals and wind energy were plentiful, besides, technology was rapidly replacing the need to hurt our planet just to make some chunk of metal move. Fusion became a reality, every household had an energy-producing fusion reactor the size of a car battery that lasted for a hundred years, didn't damage the environment, was completely safe and fully recyclable. It even let you plug in your car during the night to replenish its pint-sized battery capable of making your car run for a thousand miles. Everybody was very pleased with the way things were going.
And that's how planet Earth became something that had previously been considered a Utopia. But no longer, the "impossible" had happened. The world, ugly as it was before 2023, was quickly forgotten, now that it had turned into a place of pure wonder and joy. The people did, however, place a statue of Angie on the White House lawn, to remind us of what is possible if you apply yourself.
And also, to let us know you have to allow these kinds of crazy dreams to enter your mind, even if it's just for a moment; as happened to me when I woke up this morning. I smartened up though. After all, it's a ludicrous scenario, absolutely impossible. So by all means, stop dreaming and be practical for God's sake!
Although, come to think of it, I'm a little embarrassed not to be standing in front of the White House with my sign right now. I got deadlines though. And a somewhat depleted wallet I need to pay attention to. And blogs to write, you know, stuff like that.
Like you, I'm going to do what I've been doing forever: wait for Angie.