I am Guido Veloce. I write in solitude. It is mere speculation that I exist, like my beloved Molise.
It is my nature to be dour, to possess the outlook that we’ve screwed up badly our lives on Earth. We tithe to commerce; it rewards us with scorched earth and poison chickens. When it shows signs of failing, the government gifts it more of our money so it might continue this travesty unabated.
Then then came the plague. As in ancient mythology, literary plagues follow the leadership of fools; the best writers notice the underlying turbulence in life.
I yearn for change. Perhaps I shall go back to my beginning times, when I caught sense. Then we had a social contract, like all cultures that had preceded us. Existing inside our culture was much more beneficial than choosing to exist outside of it. So we happily joined together.
At a precise moment in our recent history the social contract was tossed aside by men who lacked shame. While before it was of great advantage to be enclosed in the warm embrace of a government that acted in our collective best interests and financed its continuing virtue by collecting increasing taxes from a graduated tax system as folks worked their way up.
Government subsidized higher education in state schools. We went. We got bigger paychecks. The taxes levied on those wages increased to allow the government to continue to subsidize state schools; the government actually made a profit at one time. Government was being run like a (good) business, we just didn’t need to analyze it. Heck, we were upwardly mobile. We could live better than our parents. Free of the idiocy of enormous student loans, we were able to spend our money as soon as we received it, boosting the economy.
One day, certain creepy factions tore this idea to shreds, telling us not to expect anything from this government. Government, a very bad thing, would now be responsible for nothing. The government, thus freed of its major constituents we the people, turned to representing the already powerful giants of industry who were willing to unload a ton of cash to their figureheads in government, who in turn made us tithe only to the corporations. We became willing slaves to the rich and irresponsible. Companies sold us “unlimited” internet bandwidth that had a “cap” that any reasonable individual would call a limitation. But no, the companies responsible for this sham insisted the new slaves were just being “selfish” and needed to be stopped. Even slaves have a hierarchy. Harumph.
But the plague changed things just a bit.
It’s a bad thing, this coronavirus. Too much has been said already. It’s time to panic. Panic sometimes brings back common sense; it has the power to turn on the little light bulb over the comic faces of the idiotically powerful. The People under the stress of this plague can’t pay their enormous student loans, so let’s cut the usurious interest rates to zero. The People need Internet connections as they simmer in the stew of their closed-up hovels so let’s unleash the caps and let them skip a couple of payments.
What if, through some miracle, The People and the earth that supports them wove their collective way back into the brains of the powerful through this virus? What if the internet companies were forced to lay that fiber optic cable the width of a human hair to access the unlimited bandwidth of our connections? What if the ludicrous idea of creating false shortages to promote a narrative of scarcity was banished, and the building of new connections, with the equipment and the engineering jobs created as a result brought us into a new age of prosperity and well-being. What if we, The People were once again the focus of our government?
Pipe dreams. Fiber optic pipe dreams. I know. Dreams of Lilacs.
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
—The Waste Land by T. S. Elliot