I recently discovered that we still have a fax machine. It made a strange noise, and this is what came out of it:
FROM: Zorgath of the House of Vortle
TO: Members of the Alpha Centauri III Tentacle People Dominion
It’s my delightful role as director of the Earthling Hostility and Misery Energy Harvesting Committee to report that our performance over the past year has far, far exceeded our most optimistic projections.
We’ve shot through our annual Earth hostility and misery production and silo storage goals, with style, every year for the past eight years.
Our biggest challenge now is simply to buy more emotional energy storage banks to keep up with all of the misery now flowing out of the Earth region known locally as the United States.
We are using the energy to supply restaurants throughout the seven kingdoms and the nine hegemonies, and to start a colony in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. The colony faces serious challenges – it keeps coming unstuck in time – but at least it’s well energized.
All because of that wonderful Earth war.
Originally, eight years ago, back in 2010, we just hoped to harvest a modest amount of consternation energy by having our operatives create a little bit of what earthlings call “congressional gridlock” in that U.S. region. (Which is known throughout the Milky Way for, in addition to its fine hostility and misery energy, its coal deposits, its abundant plant life, and its delicious swamp gas.)
One thing led to another, and, through a political chain reaction, the earthlings in question went from a state of gridlock to state of shooting war.
Our own analysts were inclined to agree with the assessment of most Earth analysts, that the United States had strong, resilient political and economic systems that could withstand the strain of a little disagreement about health finance policy.
The U.S. earthlings could have foiled our plans with relatively simple steps, such as listening to one another, respecting one another’s views, and showing a willingness to compromise.
Maybe the players could have at least agreed to use the same general species of discourse, rather than one side using sad anecdotes and the other hard numbers, and that would have led to some forward movement.
But, fortunately for our sake, opponents on both sides dug their heels in and used the battle over health policy – an area in which their differences did not really seem to be so great – as a proxy vehicle for consolidating, fueling and expanding hatred, and for converting fear into still more hatred.
The opponents clung to their own separate sources of information that reinforced their own views and treated an openness to compromise as a terrible form of treachery.
The expected difficulty with passage of legislation led to jovial name calling, then to less jovial name calling, then to suggestions that each side ought to arm itself because the other side was arming itself.
Soon, around 2018, tensions paved the way for demonstrations, demonstrations for riots, riots for mass arrests and the formation of detention camps, and all of that sparked shooting wars, with tanks, machine guns and drones.
The shift came so suddenly, and so unexpectedly, that our own hostility-sowing operatives had all of their 28 tentacle hand-like appendages full with improvised efforts to keep themselves out of the way of the hostility gusher.
Today, many U.S. cities are smoldering ruins. The survivors live in tents in vast refugee camps.
On the one hand-like appendage, the war has destroyed many of the U.S. players’ coal burning power plants. That has reduced the production of the greenhouse effect gases we were harvesting.
But, on the other hand-like appendage, the shooting war has also disrupted many nuclear power plants and led to helpful plumes of radioactive ash. We’re using the plumes in a new line of specialty perfumes.
On the third hand-like appendage, other countries on Earth seem to be happy with their own health care finance systems, but, of course, their reactions to the refugees trying to escape from the effects of the U.S. health policy war represent another potential growth driver.
Our immigration policy conflict energy sister committee has its own operatives at work on Earth even as you read this report.
So, to sum it all up, it’s been a wonderful eight years — for us.