"Time for a Change"

Submitted into Contest #58 in response to: Write about someone who purposefully causes a power outage.... view prompt

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Creative Nonfiction

“Time for a Change” ***(see below)


TEAM MEETING: October 30, 2020


A red barn, located in an isolated area of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was large enough to hold 51 Team Leaders and two top officials. Use of masks and social distancing were required. Meetings were held there only if critical information needed to be shared among all involved. There was no access to any form of electronic communication, and lighting was powered by a generator.


“In a few days, what we are enduring as a nation, will be a memory,” announced General Miller.


The secret group, that some would refer to as radical, were fed up with the U.S. political system. They believed it was time for a change, and if they had a say, there would be a significant improvement in governmental functioning and an increase in prosperity and happiness.


Under the direction and guidance of retired generals, Miller and Cook, a highly complex plan was developed and had begun to be implemented over the past year. The generals worked out of an undisclosed location, where they sent out and received encrypted information relative to the operation’s progress, and made strategic adjustments accordingly. 


Team Leaders were assigned to a specific state or locality, and supervised a contingent of environmental experts, scientists, lawyers, educators, medical staff, social activists and religious leaders, as well as minorities of all kinds. Their goal was to educate and enlist as many people as possible to join the crusade.


Making sure that authorities were kept in the dark throughout the endeavor was a very difficult undertaking. There were some breaks in the plan, resulting in sporadic reports of civil gatherings and peaceful protests. However, the ultimate objective was never revealed.


“All of our hard work is about to pay off. After reviewing the data, and confirming details with each of you, it’s all systems go! Are there any questions before I continue?” asked General Cook.


Captain Walker raised his hand, was recognized to speak, and said, “Sir, my team is absolutely prepared and excited to proceed. However, we are also aware situations could arise beyond our control. Are there any back-up plans we should be aware of?”


“General Miller and I created a country wide master plan, taking into consideration all possible scenarios. We already have confirmation from reliable sources that every critical aspect that will ensure success is solidly in place. Of course, something unexpected could arise, but it still should not interfere with the outcome. However, you will be provided a local contact to reach out to, if assistance is needed,” responded General Cook.


“What we are about to accomplish will be historic. Each one of you should be proud of the part you played in making sure positive change will happen. In a few days, you will be directed to use your communication chain to alert your crew that the operation was set in motion,” said General Miller.


Holding up a white envelope, General Cook added, “Each of you will be given one of these upon leaving. They are individualized, as it contains encoded messages that pertain only to you and important locations identified across your state. We are very proud to have worked with each and every one of you, as well as your entire team, and cannot thank you enough for your dedication and determination to see our mission come to a worthwhile end.”


The barn was soon empty, with the exception of the generals. They reviewed and confirmed what still needed to be done, took down the detailed map of the United States and made sure there wasn’t even a pencil left behind.


“We deserve a beer,” General Miller said with a smile.


“Maybe two!” answered General Cook.


***



Election Day: November 3, 2020


Generals Miller and Cook were at the office by 4:00 am. In addition to computers, there were numerous televisions covering an entire wall. It was important for them to monitor what was going on across the country, to include Hawaii and the District of Columbia.


Team Leaders made sure voters would arrive at their polling places long before they opened. Some states were to begin voting as early as 6 am and others an hour or more later.


At approximately 5:00 am, despite differing time zones, people were beginning to form lines outside of the polling sites, some stretching for blocks. There also appeared to be many more people on the streets than were generally seen in the early morning hours. News commentators couldn’t help but notice, but believed the probable cause of this unusual situation was the significance of the election.


Local law enforcement agencies scrambled to provide additional personnel, even though there were no protests, rallies or dangerous events going on. Everyone in line wore masks and complied with social distancing recommendations, and maintained their composure.


***


Hundreds of key operatives from each state sent confirmation of readiness. By 5:30 am, all had been received. 


By 5:45 am EST, everyone involved was on standby.



At 5:59 am, texts were sent out to Team Leaders and those holding the authority to execute the intervention. One minute later, the power to all polling places was severed.



***



BREAKING NEWS flashed across every television screen as sirens screamed in the background.



“Looks like no one is going to be able to vote inside,” said General Cook.



Reporters from each news station yelled, “This is unprecedented! There is no power at polling places! How will people vote? This is an unimaginable situation!”


Soon, national news outlets reported that polling places across the country were without power and the voting machines were inoperable.



***



The people who had been standing in long lines, didn’t move. Within minutes, buses and vans arrived to pick them up. Only a few stragglers were left behind, possibly those who did not sign on to participate in the crusade for change. They remained in line, hoping that the power problem would soon be resolved.


TV station helicopters and drones began to fly over the cities and towns. It didn’t take long for them to see where the voters had gone. They were again in line, but this time, in front of every ballot box. They could be seen taking absentee ballots out of their pockets, backpacks and purses. One by one, they dropped their vote into a secure drop box.


The previously arranged transportation system continuously returned to polling places over the course of the day. Other buses followed public transportation routes, picking people up to bring them to the closest ballot box.




***



Although the media and law enforcement had no idea what was going on, the generals certainly did. It was their hope that if there was interference by domestic or foreign sources, a fair election could still be held in the United States. The voter’s ability to personally cast a paper ballot would ensure that would occur.


While watching the television screens, General Cook said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”


General Miller replied, “It was time for a change, and we did our best to make it happen. Thank you, John Lewis, for encouraging all of us to get into “good trouble” …”





“Time for a Change,” YouTube video, 3:54. Posted by Donna Colton, July 26, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCVXBdVL2I


Please copy into your browser to view this song/video!


September 12, 2020 03:23

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