It was a beautiful coup d’etat, the likes of which the United States had not seen since its Declaration of Independence from the Brits.  It was necessary however, since the shock value alone would send the populace into a dumb silence.  It was also necessary because it gave the nation no choice in the matter, sort of like Cortez burning his ships so that his men were motivated to succeed in the New World, we were now very motivated to ‘get on board’ and implement alternate modes of transportation and improve on those already in existence.

A year of planning and secret keeping of the highest order had culminated in the decree.  Thankfully, and for once, a liberal president and congress agreed to address climate change and agreed to do so in a drastic way.  There was no reason why shock doctrine policy could not be used for good, the reasoning went.  They smartly and also realized that alternatives needed to be presented to consumers and they needed to be viable and appealing because otherwise mass revolt might ensue.  Here’s how the whole thing went down…..

The nation’s leaders knew that the only way to make the whole thing work was to ensure their citizens that their jobs would not be affected, their paychecks left unharmed.  Since we could keep existing cars indefinitely then parts for those cars were still needed….indefinitely.  Auto plants would keep and expand their parts divisions while simultaneously revamping their production lines to electric or ethanol only vehicle.   Automakers were also given first rights to the mass public railroad expansion that was about to occur, and their workers were offered the choice to work on this or stay with autos, allowing them some sense of control over their destinies and also giving them a sense of ownership over the new, improved, United States. Genius.

Current domestic coal and oil production were kept operating, but used only for extant purposes.  As one might guess, gas prices did rise, but our government capped the prices so that petrol companies couldn’t rip off those who decided to keep the auto as their main mode of transportation.  People were given their choice to keep a car or two or convert completely to public means of traveling.  If you didn’t own a vehicle though, you were given a HUGE tax break each year on your income taxes, because the leaders knew that nothing speaks louder to its citizens than ‘tax credit’.  The rental car business took off and an entire new niche was created whereby car owners could ‘rent’ their cars to friends or families in a sort of co-op style system.  Since it worked well and kept the minions happy, the powers that be concluded that they’d forgo any kind of regulations with the new system – hey! If it ain’t broke…..

Most everyone was on board with whole gig.  The western states were especially enthused about the idea because they’d been begging for public rail upgrades for decades (it was the only point of envy the west coast possessed with regards to the east coast, otherwise the west was heaven on earth, thank you very much, and – we didn’t invite hurricanes).   The southern states rebelled, in unison, as is their wont.  The rest of the republic ignored them (as is their wont) and upgraded their railroad asses anyways.   Overall, most citizens were quite relieved that decisive action was being implemented.  For too long we’ve heard the tales of global warming and for too long we – as a nation – have not been leading the world in a more responsible way of life.  Finally we were practicing what we preached and there was a boom of national pride not seen since Neil Armstrong spoke from the moon.

This new sense of pride was reinforced by a barrage of slick and steamy propaganda:  trains were the new way to meet girls, sharing your car was sexy, cabbing or walking to your dinner destination was now romantic as hell.  Adverts everywhere touted our world dominance and leadership in the transportation arena because we love to be No.1!


Oh, and it also saved our earth.  Best. Decree. Ever.

About Frankie Wallace

Frankie earned her BA in History from CSU Chico. Her writing includes current events as well as self published fiction and a children's book she is publishing. She lives in northern California with one husband, two dogs, and three boys. Frankie is an avid cooker, reader, hiker, and napper. View all posts by Frankie Wallace

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