At the Third Pangean History Conference, held in Brasilia in Year 117 of the new Unity Calendar, keynote speaker, Andrea Ramirez, welcomed the gathered representatives to the opening of the new Parliament. She was the foremost authority on the history of what was once known as Twenty-First Century America. Until the Great Plague, which ravaged the planet over a three-year period killing three-fourths of everyone over the age of 30, a Second American Civil War, or a Third World War seemed inevitable. A global pandemic was never considered a credible threat.
“It took desperate times for the United States to cease its internal bickering, end homelessness, and quit spending money and American blood “managing” tribal conflicts in far away parts of the world. In short, it took a highly-infectious plague, that killed half the Earth’s inhabitants. When it was “only” a Southeast Asia, then an Eastern European,”travel” concern, the Americas were inconvenienced by interruption in their standard of living. Distant problems very quickly become local issues when the world was as interconnected as it was in the early decades of the Twenty-First Century.
While U.S. politicians dithered about priorities and attacked one another over words, residents and staff of a New York nursing home, then an Illinois college campus, and crews of a Pacific naval battlegroup returning from Asia to San Diego, were stricken with fever, then respiratory failure and death. At first, the then-President, who had been an object of ridicule and attempted removal from office – by enemies in the news media, academics, and most of the Federal bureaucracy – seemed unable to direct the Administration’s response. With conflicting reports from officials and social media, citizens panicked, and store shelves were emptied. Once state Governors, one after the other, reassured citizens that there were no food shortages, and essential services would continue, residents began to calm down. At first, the state and local authorities were hesitant to announce restrictions on public gatherings but within days directed schools to close. They “strongly advised” private businesses to close or work remotely for two weeks. But the infected did not know that they were contagious for days before noting symptoms. By the time anyone realized that a drug-resistant virus was loose, they spread the plague to cities, farming communities and small towns all over the continent. Within two months, victims of the plague had overwhelmed community hospitals, emergency treatment centers of the National Guard, and the active military’s facilities. With the Federal government all but incapacitated, regional and local authorities turned attention to preserving communities for the living. Those who had recovered, and those who had been resistant to the worst of the infection spent the next 50 years rebuilding.
As the other speakers will share about the struggles more than a century ago, the world was a tempest of adversarial ideologies. Nuclear-armed rivals, shifting economic fortunes,and religious and historical enemies were often threatening to – or engaged in conflict. But it was the once-United States that succumbed to disunity, apathy, and corruption its Founders had predicted. What seems incredible to us through the lens of history, now that we, the descendants of Plague survivors, have unified our former cultural differences and old rivalries into a common vision and union in Pangea. We have eliminated social welfare issues and resolved conflict in traditions and culture. The destruction of natural resources, poisoning of the atmosphere, land and seas has ceased with new technology and global effort. There is an ancient proverb that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It is my fervent hope, a virus that buried warlords, industrialists, fishermen, rich and poor together in common graves, has taught us true humanity. “