Imagine with me a scenario in the distant future. Imagine the United States going through a period of terrible financial troubles, lots of corruption, a weakened military, and internal and external political problems.
Imagine a situation where a powerful nation suddenly surges forward and decides to invade the United States. Unfortunately the U.S. begins to lose battles and state after state falls before this advancing army.
Imagine with me that you are peacefully living with your family and working hard to make your way in life. You live with your wife and three kids in a nice neighborhood. You teach agriculture at the local university.
Suddenly – war comes to your doorstep. Tanks can be seen from your apartment complex. Fighter jets streak overhead. Bullets fly across the city and zing off the metal bars on your balcony.
Brutal street fighting breaks out. A mortar hits your apartment one night and kills your sister and her kid in the room next door. Through your sobs you steady a flashlight with one hand and carry their bodies down to the courtyard to be buried that night.
This invading army begins to massacre civilians indiscriminately. The U.S. government appeals to other countries for help – and the request is met with silence. The UK, Russia, Germany, and India all turn their backs. No one is willing to lift a finger to help.
Your cousins in the city up north are bombed in their car as they try to escape the fighting one night. Everyone is killed.
You try to share some thoughts and video on social media. A few people follow along and express sadness and share your posts. But no one is willing to come help.
One night some local U.S. volunteer militia members come by and knock on your door. They come in and raid your food stores and then they see your teenage daughter. She is taken into the bathroom and raped repeatedly. You are helpless to stop them.
The war drags on. Some of your neighbors are super sick from drinking some bad water and most of the family dies. Your grandparents are in a little town near the front lines and are killed with toxic chemicals during a night bombing.
Your wife goes out in the morning to try to bring home some food donations being brought in by some aid trucks. Some of the neighbor ladies tell you later that night that she was killed by a sniper as she walked home. The road is too dangerous to go pick up her body. So you mourn silently and stoically as you hold onto your teenage daughter and two younger sons.
That evening you sell most of the belongings in your home to one of your neighbors and get on an old bus to head to the beach town in the neighboring state. Both Mexico and Canada decided to close their borders (intimidated by this large advancing army) – so the best path to safety is getting on a raft and heading to Haiti where there are some aid agencies, food, and some big white tents available for United States refugees.
You sell your wife’s jewelry and your wedding ring and pull out an envelope with tattered bills to pay $20,000 for your family to cross over to Haiti and to safety. These miserable people-smugglers promise you a great boat with seats. Instead you set off in a small raft overflowing with people from across the United States. They all have super sad stories to tell. But most people are silent on the journey.
As you arrive on the coast of Haiti the raft begins to take on water. A huge wave sneaks up from nowhere and the raft is turned upside down. There are screams and luggage and flailing arms – and sadly both of your sons drown as you try to get to shore. Just you and your daughter survive.
You hear that the country of Spain is open to taking in American refugees. After you and your daughter settle in to a meager life in the refugee camp you get on the waiting list to be vetted to enter Spain. The Hatian authorities are nice enough – but force you to stay in the camps most of the time.
It takes three and a half years of miserable living in the refugee camp in Haiti before you finally get the word! Spain has finally accepted you! One of your cousins escaped early on and is living in Germany. She takes out a mortgage on her home to wire you some money for plane tickets and some money to get resettled.
You board the plane with a lot of sadness – but also with a lot of hope! Finally there will be some stability, safety, and a chance to start over. You and your daughter hold hands as the plane lands.
You arrive inside the Madrid airport exhausted, emotionally spent, and wishing you had studied a bit harder in the Spanish classes that were given in the refugee camp in Haiti. As you come through the customs hall you can see one of your elderly aunts waving on the far side of the glass out by the arrivals hall. Finally! You’ve arrived! You smile at your daughter.