Almost Angels, Chapter 5
Oct 30, 2016
New York City, New York, USA
On assignment to record the history regarding the United States Presidential Election of 2016, and a follow up of the few months after the election, I found myself strolling down 5th Avenue on this late fall day. I had made my appearance in Central Park in a wooded area, so as to not be observed until I got my bearings. The park was ablaze in fall colors, but it seemed larger somehow than it did in my youth in 2494. I suppose it was the population, even though it was a crowded city, even in 2016 the population had much increased during the time of my youth. With so many moved away to other planets, even solar systems now, in 2518, it was less inhabited. Still, it was an interesting stroll, mixed with both men and women dressed in conservative business apparel hurrying to appointments. Then there were the casuals. Mostly young, dressed in what appeared to be the latest fashion out of a garbage dumpster, or from the fashion runway of the city dump. One could only guess where the mentality was born to try to everyday to look your worse. Some of the fashion statements would have been funny, if not so tragic, and impossible to manage in a work environment. The ones I am referring to are the young men with their trousers belted beneath their buttocks, and the legs of the trousers wadded about their ankles. So very strange.
As I passed windows with large screen televisions, blaring advertisements for everything imaginable from automobiles to personal toilet items, and lots and lots of fast foods, I observed the ads for the two political opponents, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The two medias were as different as were the two opponents. Although Mrs. Clinton did from time to time stoop below her station to degrade Mr. Trump, it was the latter from day one who had hit the media outlets down and dirty. That would not have been so bad, but he seemed to lack plans for the future. His rhetoric seemed to be centered on hate, prejudice, and violence against opponents.
I stopped across the street from 725 5th Avenue. With its head in the sky, Trump Towers stood towering before me, it’s label in huge gold lettering above the entrance. “Grand”, though a bit gaudy. I needed to get inside, but it was plain I needed credentials. I pressed my ring and said, “Do you have me a cover?”
“Yes. You are James West, a medium level staffer. Mr. West is at home ill today. You will find your ID in your right coat pocket, and if you will look in a mirror, you will find his image on your face. Please try being a little invisible today.” The smiling voice of Misha chided in my ear.
I watched for traffic to clear, then dashed across the street, fully expecting to be arrested for jay-walking, but no one interfered. I stopped and looked up then followed the line to the security entrance. I showed my pass and the officer half heartedly scanned me, then nodded me on. I stepped in and looked around. My first thought was wow. But it was a bit too wow. A golden water fall, a gift store with lots of Trump branded items. Most of the items bore tags of ‘Hecho en Mexico’, or ‘Made in China’… Pakistan, India, etc. I am not sure any tags read made in America. Then there was the Starbucks coffee shop, the restaurant. I found the elevator, and passed through the next security, finding the huge conference room where campaign head-quarters was in full swing. I recognized several faces. KellyAnne Conway, Trump’s son-in-law Jared, his daughter Ivanka.
Someone said, “ Hey, James! Thought you were sick?”
I smiled and did a kinda thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs up and walked to a desk that had James West on the little block in front and sat down.
I started reading various papers. Instructions for tactics, most of them. Quite confusing. Things like, “write media posts that created dissention between the parties” or “Keep the base pumped”, and other quite aggressive tactics.
“Hey James, c’mon we got a meeting.”
I followed my associate into another big room where about 50 to 75 people were seated. A gentleman, well dressed and sporting good hair, that was just graying a bit, stepped to the podium.
“If I can have your attention, thank you. In just about a week, all the results of our hard work will come to an end. One way or the other. But never fear, we will win, and Mr. Trump is going to be the next President of the United States!” There was a loud round of applause. “But, that doesn’t mean we can stop yet, so here are your instructions. All personnel will spend as much time on social media as you can. You will all be given passwords to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. Find political discussions going on and invite yourself in, and start as many wars as possible. Start rumors, about the left, all the left, including the green and independent parties. You know what to do. Now, LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!”
When the cheering stopped I found my way back to my desk. About 5 PM many people left. I stayed. As there was less people, I shifted from room to room, sometimes into a closet, or hall way. It was some time after midnight that 5 men came up the elevator to one of the upper offices. I couldn’t hear their voices well, but two had a thick accent. Maybe Russian? I watched as they enter the room. The room next door showed dark under the door, so I skipped 5 seconds and reappeared in the dark room. I pressed my ring and said, ”I need one way transparency of a 12 by 8 square in front of me.”
Misha answered, “So you want to see through a wall? What are you up to”?
“I need to know what is going on in this meeting. I feel it is very important.”
As the wall opened up, I could see the men were seated in comfortable chairs. Someone was pouring drinks, they were busy talking and laughing amongst themselves.
As the final gentleman took his seat, he took as sip of his drink, swallowed, he took a breath, and leaned forward. He laughed. Not an evil laugh, yet something about his voice chilled me. He had rather long wavy hair. He was thickset, with slightly heavy features. He had a decidedly Russian accent.
“I never thought, on the outset of this venture, that the Americans would fall prey to these tactics. But I suppose one can learn something new every day. Throughout all her wars, she has used propaganda so efficiently. In WWII she even got the Italian Navy to surrender that way. They dropped leaflets everywhere, swaying countless millions of people. It is as if this year, they all went to sleep. And we didn’t even have to print very much. Most of it was “dropped” on them by the media. All we had to do was create a headline, and it got countless attention. Then, of course, there was the social media. Where they could do it to themselves.” There was that laugh again. “It has been too easy, even though the government know there has been ‘hacking’. They make so little of it, as if they are invulnerable.
“Now, Gentlemen, we can use the same tactic once the election is over and Mr. Trump is elected. We can use it to attain yours and our agenda, just as easily. Mr. Trump will be our leverage. On one side he will be so hated, and so mistrusted, and on the other side by his followers, so revered, well, we can keep this going for sometime.”
“Anytime something important needs to be accomplished, we will simply allow him to created a diversion. And,” he laughed, “you know how easy that will be! ‘Conquest through diversion’, ‘Divide and conquer’, ‘A House divided against itself, cannot stand’. You need to work fast my friends. The illusion will not last forever. You need to bring your party to complete power, you need to hold a larger majority of the legislative, and you need to help some of those old judges on the Supreme Court to retire. You understand what I am telling you. My father told me that during the War America sent so many radio broadcasts to its enemies, that they sometimes had a better audience of them than they did of its own citizens. Now is the time to act. There will be a lot of anger and arguing the day after election day. There will be much confusion. Your job is to prey on that confusion.”
With that, he set back in his chair, sipped his drink again, and smiled to himself and closed his eyes, as if he was dreaming of the future.
I pressed my ring, and reappeared in my headquarters.
“What’s the matter? Man, you look as if you have lost your best friend!”
“You know, if I didn’t know that humanity is worth saving, I would just say the hell with them. But then I look around and, well, we have truly come a long way. See you later. I need a long, hot shower. And a distraction. Is Misha off duty yet?”
“Yeah, man, she’s off. Go take your shower. That must have been a really bad trip.”
Two hours later, I brought my bottle of wine and knocked on Misha’s door.
I did. She was sitting on her moshy couch, surrounded by her computer. Pictures and video filled the air around her. She flicked her hand and it all disappeared.
“I was looking for a movie. Any suggestions?”
“No. As long as it doesn’t have politics, or New York City in it.”
“Bad day, huh? C’mere, let me make it all better.”
Then the lights went down, and a tropical garden sprang up around me. The scent of many flowers assailed my nostrils. Soft music began to play, and I was wrapped in the arms of my best girl.