Even though it’s not necessarily true, it’s easy to watch the news and conclude that, “things were better before”. If you forget, there are hundreds of history podcasts to remind you that the world has always been messy. As if that’s not enough, there are even more shows entirely dedicated deciphering our chaotic world as it is today. Podcasts thoroughly cover the past and the present, but what about the future? It seems like America is going down the toilet, but what could actually happen in the next few years?
With his podcast, It Could Happen Here, journalist Robert Evans tackles just that. Every episode depicts a speculative American future, and it’s not pretty. With episodes titled, “The Second American Civil War”, “The Revenge of Rural America”, and “The State Strikes Back”, it’s easy to fear the future that Evans’ envisions.
The official description of It Could Happen Here states that Robert doesn’t want to “conspiracy monger”, but he’s not afraid to be bleak. When I got the chance to interview Robert, he said, “I want [the audience] to realize that the current relatively peaceful state of affairs is not guaranteed to continue. Violence could overwhelm our civil institutions. we are less safe than we want to believe and we need to turn things around, quickly, if we are to avoid calamity.”
This may seem tin foil hat-like, but Robert doesn’t live in an underground bunker. His opinions were developed by spending time in other people’s bunkers – working as a wartime journalist in the middle east. Specifically, being in Iraq while Mosul was under siege cemented his connections between civil unrest in the middle east and middle America. “It became very clear to me that what I’d seen in Iraq were armed political parties, fighting with weaponry because they had no faith in any kind of political process to achieve their ends. As the  election wore on I watched American faith in our system degrade further, and the kind of violence I’d seen in Iraq started to look more possible.”
It Could Happen Here struck a nerve with Robert’s audience, but not quite in the way he hoped. Robert wanted to scare people into action, but some of his listeners have begun to cower in fear. The audience’s overwhelming emotional reaction inspired Robert to prematurely create an episode titled “How To Save America”.
In that episode, he states that we need to bridge the gap between our divided political parties. To accomplish this goal, our host doesn’t advocate the usual tactics, as he says “I think debate is useless…We do not need to talk to Alex Jones or Milo Yianapolous or Richard Spencer or Candace Owens. Ben Shapiro does not need to be debated about his racist claim that 800 million muslims are dangerous radicals. None of these people deserve to be platformed or debated. They need to be ignored.”
Robert says that those types of people are bad actors, and don’t represent America as a whole. In fact, both sides of the political aisle have more in common than we think. “The parties in our heads are not the parties in real life.” As an example, he says “across the political spectrum, Americans increasingly agree that the rich are not paying their fair share, and that they ought to.” He believes that we need to find this solidarity where we can, or else the Second American Civil War could very well come true – very soon.
It’s clear from listening to It Could Happen Here that Robert truly believes in his message. By depicting a future where rural America actively rebels against the government, he hopes to shake us awake before it’s too late. With the 2020 election creeping closer everyday, his warnings are more urgent than ever.
Listening to the show, I get the sense that Robert feels morally obligated to share his message. That creating It Could Happen Here is something that he needs to do more than something he wants to do. Looking forward to the future of the It Could Happen Here, Robert says that he’s most excited about, “being done with it.”. Once he accomplishes his goal, Robert wants to focus, “on a somewhat more optimistic project”.
So if you’re curious about how America could end, or looking to find inspiration to become politically active, listen to “It Could Happen Here”, and rate it on Podchaser.
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