Much is said and written about the unique, unprecedented, historical situation the world is in today. The so-called new type of warfare, terrorism, the economic and different environmental-related concerns are among the things that make this world situation seem unprecedented in history.
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This story is about the voyage to the capital of a group of very different people to attend the Presidential Inauguration. They also will pay honorary visits to the Lincoln memorial and various historical sites in Washington, including the White House. They all come from different strata of our society with different incomes and different backgrounds. They all play different roles within our modern society. They all have different statuses on which this role is build.
But, if we look carefully, we would find that this situation much resembles the famous Canterbury Tales of the fifteenth century. At the time England resembled a ship that was sailing among turbulent waters. It was the time of the Great Schism and the rising controversies about the rule of the Catholic Church, which at the time was the only Christian presence in Western Europe. And poverty was the reigning among the masses of, what Chaucer recognizes as, those who work (the peasants, and so-called commoners). But it is not that the other strata of the English society that Chaucer recognizes in his work, those who pray (the clergy) and those who fight (the knights) are doing better. They seem to be very distant from the mainstream commoners and peasants, as if though they were from another world.
But the problems they were facing at that particular moment of history were basically the same.
This is very similar to our own characters in this story. Our narrative talks about Mike, and his wife Dana, semi-skilled workers working for one of the major manufacturing companies of the region. They have had only basic education and recently bought a home in mortgage payments with a local bank. They were also beginning to think about saving some money for their children’s education.
Andy, one of the main characters, is head manager of a big company that deals principally with financial consultancy for their clients. Their principal service is to advice people on where to invest, what to invest, and what to expect. They have also dealt a lot lately on advising people about mortgages.
Michel is a highly educated freelance professional. She is educated in arts and design. She has worked as a freelancer for many years now. She takes individual contracts and helps people who want to design, or redesign, the internal of their homes. She has also worked for several years as internal designer for constructing companies.
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John is the other character of this story. He is a brave young person that has served in Iraq and is now pursuing a career within the army. He is close to becoming lieutenant. He has also passed several months in a military hospital because of some serious wounds that he took during a mission in the Iraq war.
The other two characters are Wendy and Mike. They are a young couple of students who are in their final year of studies. They are graduating from public administration. Both of them have a strong desire to work on governmental agencies, being those on the federal, state or local level, and help bring a new mode of spending governmental budgets.
They both agree that an administration should be more focused on the day-to-day problems of ordinary people, especially those in more need, and not focus on certain categories of society.
But what could be the cause of bringing these different people all together to a trip to the capital? Why did they choose the moment of Presidential Inauguration and not some other moment? The answer to all these questions would be hope.
Hope for a better future and the rejection of the present situation where they find themselves. Because in times like these they all find it difficult to continue their way of life as they expected.
Mike and his wife Dana seem the most affected by these difficult times. They have both lost their jobs due to the consequences of the financial crisis in the real economy. Their factory was forced to slow production rates due to loss of credit from banks. So, they began to cut off jobs and one day the name of Mike and Dana came up. Suddenly they found themselves without monthly income and they could not pay their mortgage anymore. They were struggling to survive now since they had no savings due to the payment of mortgage rates and education for their children. Their dream to save something to give their kids an education they could not have was also over. It seemed that their children could not be more than semi-skilled workers too and that would have nothing more than what their parents had.
Andy is certainly from a different social position. His income exceeds $150,000 per year and he has bought his home long time ago paying in cash. But things do not seem good for him either. He has invested almost all of his income back into the company’s stock. Now with the financial crisis less and fewer companies and people are willing to use the services that Andy’s company offers. Their confidence in financial consulting has dropped dramatically due to the late events. Company’s own stocks have gone down almost ¾ of their original value.
Andy is about to lose everything and his company is shouting” bail-out” to the governmental officials.
Michel also is suffering the consequences of a crisis she thinks has nothing to do with. In difficult times people tend to cut their “luxury expenses” and internal design is one of them. She is struggling to get as many contracts as she can but they have become fewer and fewer.
John has not this kind of problem. He is going to have monthly revenue from the military job he got but he fears for his health. Even though he was cured in one of the best hospitals in the country he stills sometimes feels ill from the wounds he took in the mission in Iraq. With the military-industrial section building bigger and having strong political influence, he fears that another call for a new war could come to him.
Finally, Wendy and Mike have no working experience compared to the previous characters. They are both in their final year of study but they are becoming every day more pessimistic about their future. Fewer job openings are being advertised and they fear they will get out of college and became unemployed.
These are our characters, and this is where our story begins.