In the same manner that “Beat Generation” writer Jack Kerouac traveled the country 60 years ago for his epic novel On the Road, author Joe Lane of Ridgefield went “on the road” recently to gauge the mood and temperament of an America still reeling from the political-financial earthquake that plunged the nation into what has been termed “The Great Recession.”
What Lane learned from talking with hundreds of ordinary Americans helped him write the fast-paced and action-packed thriller Aftershock.
Kerouac famously traveled cross-country and, from the experience of that trip, wrote about a generation shaped largely by the Cold War, conformity, and government suppression of leftist sentiment. He used what he discovered “on the road” to pen his novel, which was first published in 1957.
Lane and his wife Barbara twice drove a motorcycle cross-country, and on their second trip they traveled with their German Shepherd service dog Ella sitting in a specially designed trailer.
On the second trip, “Instead of just driving and looking, we talked with a lot of people,” Lane said, and most of the people they met, “Talked about their experiences since the financial earthquake that struck this country in the 2007-2009 period and thereafter.”
Lane’s novel Aftershock incorporates much of what he learned in conversations of the anger, frustration, and depression brought about by America’s 21st Century political-financial meltdown. But it also incorporates what he found to be a possible antidote to similar future such earthquakes — 100 percent public financing of elections.
On the road cross-country, “We asked people to talk about what they knew of how the political-financial earthquake came to be?” he said. “Had they recovered? Did they see it coming back again, and again? Did they think anything could be done to prevent the political and financial elite from keeping on doing it to the rest of us? Did they feel they had any say in the matter? Or any ability to rein in the dominating influence that vast wealth has on the politics and economy in which they have to navigate?”
Lane continued, “Many people really don’t know exactly what happened. By that, I mean they didn’t know much about the details and the skullduggery, if you will, of how the moneyed elite managed to so completely capture the political system. And, mostly, they were not aware of the extent that our elected officials were involved in carrying out the wishes of their financial benefactors. We also discovered that when the people were exposed to some of the crucial but not widely publicized actions, they begin to grasp how powerful and deep the talons of the moneyed elite have sunk into the body politic.
“Initially, most seemed to believe there was not much they actually could do. When we broached the idea of 100 percent public funding of the electoral and governing processes, with really tough enforcement and punishment for those who violated the process, I can say that all but three or four individuals were somewhere between intrigued and wildly enthusiastic.”
While many still wonder why no criminal prosecutions have ever resulted against individuals from the frauds perpetrated by Wall Streeters before and during America’s 21st Century financial meltdown, Aftershock takes the question more than one step forward and shows just what can happen when people are pushed past the breaking point.
Based off a press release from Sandra Goroff & Associates.