This is scary. It’s a ghost story.
I just wish I wasn’t the ghost.
But I couldn’t really expect to be around for 100 more years.
It’s not that I mind being where I am; it’s quite cozy and I did meet Albert Einstein and Thomas Merton, and, of course made a point of meeting Barbra Streisand.
I am appearing today to celebrate the centennial of my 2015 prediction that the USA would become the United States of Amazon. I just learned I was spot on and as we say in ghost humor, “my curiosity was killing me.” I’ve come out to check out life nowadays in the good new USA.
As an aside and sad to say, the prescient nature of my observations was never taken seriously. No one believed me when I predicted the USA will fall under the spell of a marketer, who was exceptional at marketing himself and making stupid decisions that resulted in the financial ruin of the USA.
Oh, well. I’ve lost my bitterness as well as my body.
So it began
I predicted that the USA would run out of money which would lead to selling the naming rights to the country. I thought it amusing to suggest Amazon would be the only corporation to afford it; that is, until it became clear that Amazon was rapidly becoming the retailer of just about everything and an epidemic of bankruptcies were announced by retails stores and smaller online businesses.
In my first return since my unfortunate demise, I hover freely and unseen. I listen and hear locals say that online shopping was the best because too many were being killed by falling drones to spend much time outdoors. Many drones delivered multiple packages each day and occasionally ran into each other causing debris to fall on people below. Tragic, everyone said and start wearing helmets while walking.
The locals also lamented that so many drones deliver the week before Christmas that the sun is blocked that is, if the sun can be seen through the clouds of smog that darken the sky year-around.
I’m somewhat horrified by the dark and dreary setting but maybe it doesn’t matter if people just stay in their hermetically sealed climate-controlled homes. Near the end of the last century, Amazon released an affordable kit that could be installed in any home to create any climate atmosphere.
The governing bodies of the former USA couldn’t agree on climate change legislation that called for clean air and water. Amazon stepped in with kits for just about every consequence – houseboats for living on the water now covering miles of land between the original coast and the new coast, systems to turn saltwater into drinking water, and purifying air masks that came in multiple fashion colors.
People were so grateful; they began to see Amazon as an organization that worked for the people of the then America. Amazon began offering prime members full-coverage health insurance at a discounted rate; something, they could do because they could effectively bargain with drug manufacturers or else not let the companies use the vast and exclusive Amazon network.
It wasn’t long before just about everyone worked for Amazon in some capacity. The largest number of employees spend the day attaching packages to drones to be delivered.
I went to visit Washington D.C. and was astonished to see that symbols of democracy had been abandoned and left as relics of the past. The capitol rotunda still had statues of long-forgotten leaders, although most had been beheaded. The Constitution was still in the Library of Congress but carried the label “document of governing that was voted obsolete when Congress determined it interfered with the best interests of business.”
Turns out that occurred the same year that Americans stopped paying taxes and began spending more on Amazon. Amazon began selling police and fire protection as well as affordable health insurance. Universities contracted with Amazon and offered prime members tuition at a discount.
So it ended
Wondering who on Earth was governing the USA, I was spirited to the now center of government located in Seattle, and hovered over the boardroom of Amazon. A board of 13 people, mostly men, mostly white, were debating adding a new product called military readiness.
The board was initially reluctant to get into the defense business because they were an international company and did not want to offend other customers. Once they learned that former President Grumpet successfully marketed the military might of the former USA to other countries, they realized the value of the product.
However, preparing to spend the revenue on defending the USA was a different matter. Members were discussing the possibility of a huge deficit, not to mention opportunity lost when I floated in.
“We’re already losing money on border and customs.”
“We should be spending more given that a couple terrorists got in earlier this year and blew up the Washington Monument and Space Needle. That cost us a lot of money, although we made up some of it on home security, guns and catering many celebrations of life.”
“Why don’t we just raise the fee for prime membership which brings in tons of money.”
“And, sell military readiness as an essential protection for families.”
“Agreed,” they shouted in unison.
“We need to be cautious and bury the increased fee as we always do in September. Some people are beginning to think of it as a tax and not the market driven service it is.”
“How could that be? We’re all about the market. It’s business. It’s the United State of Amazon way.”
“What about people who can’t afford prime membership – it costs a lot now.”
“What about them? They should get a job.”
“Most of them work for us.”
“Now, let’s get back to extending our partnership with Facebook, the primary source of news. People love making their own news!”
Wooooo … that was scary! I returned to my cozy haven wondering why some things never change. I’ll ask Albert.
Bertha Cooper spent her career years as a health care organization and program administrator and consultant and is a featured columnist in Sequim Gazette. Cooper has lived in Sequim with her husband for nearly 20 years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.