My entry for this month’s Blog Battle challenge word ‘innocent’.
Everyone claimed innocence for the crimes of adult illiteracy, unemployment, homelessness and a generation of young people with no practical skills and no seeming ambition to be anything but famous. Previous governments, parents, schools, businesses (the IT industry screamed the loudest) and of course the citizenry, both collectively and individually, formed the cavalcade demanding immunity from prosecution.
Eventually, as the situation of society became untenable, the Mob grasped at the opportunity to elect Big Sister, with her vague but powerful promises to be the non-party politician to sort out the mess.
Her first act was to establish the Social Crimes Commission (which would soon become known as SOCC and lead to the expression ‘I’ve been SOCCed.’) It didn’t take long for the Commission to draw up its initial hit list of social crimes, with the promise of more to come.
- Refusing to take personal responsibility for your actions and your future self-sufficiency.
- Owning untenanted dwellings.
- Running a large business that didn’t meet its SOCC quotas for age, gender and race in its workforce.
How the Mob cheered when Big Sister compulsorily acquired former schools, office buildings and factories to turn them into Personal Responsibility Action Centres (PRACs). Anyone in receipt of benefit payments (other than the aged and the severely mentally or physically disabled) would be required to attend their local PRAC every week day. There they would be provided education, training (including basic hygiene, bed-making, washing your own clothes, cooking and budgeting) and community work assignments. Non-compliance would result in immediate cessation of benefit payments and a ban from all public places and services until compliance was re-established. As Big Sister said (and the Mob nodded approvingly), ‘sitting looking at a screen is not a career’ and ‘your neighbour is you’.
And the Mob were almost orgasmic in their support for the new Corporate Responsibility Action Plan (which led to a new term, being CRAPed on). Board members and senior executives who had presided over theft, greed and deception in their companies would be required to remedy their crimes by working for no pay until full reparation was achieved or attend a PRAC in an area where the most customers who were affected by their crimes lived.
The Mob was more muted but generally approving of the decree that owning an untenanted home was now illegal. Owners were given 6 months to sell them on the open market or have them compulsorily acquired by the Government and assigned to the homeless, with families given top priority. And of course the same applied if you owned a home but were in permanent aged care. Unchosen homelessness would disappear and the aged care system would now be financially viable. It was only later they realised what this decree would do to inheritance. As Big Sister said, ‘your excess will not be paid for by your ancestors’ thrift’.
But it was the employment quotas that shook the most money trees, which the Mob applauded long and loud. Companies that didn’t meet them had their assets frozen until they did. And the world that was reality before greed became good gradually re-emerged. When you drove into a service station, a person would emerge to fill your car with petrol, check your oil and water and your tyre pressures. When you went to the supermarket, self-serve checkouts had disappeared. Conductors on trains, trams and buses re-appeared. Councils began to re-build their public works departments and shovel-leaners regained their dignity. Stay at home mothers and fathers and carers for the aged in their homes were paid a livimg wage. As Big Sister said ‘the dignity of work will raise us all up.’
Of course there were recalcitrants, who had to be re-trained into real jobs. The rookies could be seen everywhere in RED squads (Repairing Environmental Damage). Armies of real estate agents, lawyers, financial advisors, professional sports people, media stars and web designers were restoring the planet, and their humanity, every day. As Big Sister said, ‘every adult needs to understand that the world is not a toilet’.
Inevitably, those who had lost their wealth tried to sue the Government for their losses, only to find that all Government funds had been moved into untraceable overseas accounts in tax havens. So, technically the Government was broke but continued to operate with an economy and efficiency that made Catch 22 seem simplistic. Attempts to recruit the military to lead a violent overthrow of the new order fizzled out when all military personnel were placed on full salary for life. As Big Sister said, ‘whoever has the gold and the guns rules and the people are our gold’.
As the years passed, rumours persisted that Big Sister was dead, until finally she announced that it was the Will of the People and the gift of modern science that she become President for Eternity, so elections and political parties and Parliaments were no longer necessary. The Social Crimes Commission would fulfill all of those functions far more logically and consistently, as could be seen by the contentment of the people, a contentment that could only become from being truly innocent. As Big Sister said, ‘my critics may describe my rule as a circus but I bring all the fun of the fair’.