We all vividly remember that beautiful morning of September 11, 2001. We all remember where we were, what we were doing, who we were with, and even the smell of the morning coffee. We also clearly recall the sinking feelings of despair as the towers came crashing back to earth, and we knew in our hearts that scores of innocent victims had just perished as we watched the tragic scene unfold live on television.
The new television program “Designated Survivor” has just aired its second episode on ABC. The programs theme paints a grim picture of what could actually happen if the “unthinkable” did occur. The very talented actor (Kiefer Sutherland) whom we all know as tough terrorist hunter Jack Bauer, plays the role of our New President Tom Kirkman. The reason Kirkman became president is that as the “State of the Union” address was underway, someone (whom we don’t yet know) managed to bomb Capitol Hill while our entire government was seated and listening to the President give his address to the nation.
For those that are unaware, this scenario is very real. Every year when the President, Senate, House, Supreme Court, and the rest of our leaders converge on Capitol Hill for the State of the Union address, a “Designated Survivor” is actually selected. I can personally remember several instances the survivor being the Secretary of Agriculture.
Spoiler Alert (For those who are going to watch it on NetFlix); the first episode has the survivor (Sutherland) lounging around in his jogging outfit watching the speech. The picture turns to snow; then the networks break in as all hell erupts. Secret Service enters the room giving orders to the new President as he opens the windows to watch in horror as the Capital is turned to rubble. We now begin the process of the emotional rollercoaster ride of someone who is thrust into the role of trying to hold a nation together as well as deal with the emotions of witnessing our government wiped out in a 10-second span of time. The second episode is opening the door to “what really could be a very real possibility” if something this horrific did occur.
Imagine the unthinkable; what would happen if this event did transpire? Our new leader would be totally shell-shocked. Panic across the globe would almost instantly ensue, and the White House would turn into a madhouse as hundreds of government employees descend to grapple with “who dun it, why, and what next”? Many in leadership positions from the now deceased administration will be trying to guide this process, and some might even be trying to seize power. This in spite of the fact that the new president is, in fact, constitutional, even though he or she was not elected to the position.
The FBI will be under enormous pressure to find out “who is responsible” for the act that just brought down our government, while someone with a quite a few stars on their collars will be demanding to unleash the gates of hell on the perpetrators in retribution.
You can almost count on the fact that nations such as North Korea, Iran, and most likely either Russia or China would immediately begin very subtly or possibly not so subtly start messing with us at some level. At this point, we are faced with the challenge as to how to meet this challenge. In the program, the bad guy happens to be Iran who sends warships into the “Straits of Hormuz” to cut off the flow of oil to the West.
All the while this is happening, someone from Treasury broaches the subject of whether to open the stock market and worse yet, do we open the banks tomorrow morning. It is almost a given that the stock market doesn’t open, but banking is not that clear. If we open the banks, there will be a guaranteed run on them causing the banks to fail, causing an economic calamity of epic proportions. If we don’t open them, panic will grip America and then nobody knows what will happen. What do you do now as the new POTUS?
What is your first act as President? Do you attack someone who might actually be innocent of this deed? Do you appoint a new Vice-President as your first act? What about your Chief of Staff? This task of appointing a new cabinet is crucial as is letting the nation know that we have a functioning government. In the series, the Governor of Michigan unilaterally decides to go rogue. He orders that “all Muslims” in Dearborn, Michigan be picked up and thrown in jail. Now, you’re faced with States threatening succession as the Governors try to show leadership for their respective citizens in order to keep calm in the streets.
Imagine; no Secretary of Defense, no Secretary of State, no House of Representatives, no Senate, nobody to offer a ruling on the law if there are questions regarding this enormous task of rebuilding our nation. Imagine; trying to be the President and accomplishing the unthinkable with a group around you who knows you were not elected by the will of the people?
We have yet to contemplate the ports, do we open them or shut them? Did the bad guys get the material through the ports? What about Social Security checks? They are signed (granted its autopen) by the Secretary of the Treasury. How do we keep this legal?
In case you’re wondering, yes, the series is undisputably the best written and best-produced series on television since West Wing or 24. This is particularly true if you’re a political junkie such as myself. Catch it if you want a thrill ride on Wednesday nights on ABC at 10:00 PM Eastern Time.
What would happen America? Unfortunately for our nation, what used to be the near impossible, today is possible and this President and Hillary Clinton allowed the people into our nation which could actually pull off the unthinkable.
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