Just before I started reading this novel by Mr. Cash, I had just finished reading an interview by Maureen Dowd of The New York Times. The title of the article was, “Ex-Commish with the Dish,” a reference to the person she was interviewing, former New York and Los Angeles Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton.
Mr. Bratton is the commissioner who is credited with cleaning up New York City in the early to mid-nineties when the city saw a huge decrease in crime and murder and became one of the safest cities in the United States. Years later, to a similar degree, he performed a lesser miracle with the city of Los Angeles.
In my opinion, Mr. Bratton’s theory of policing is the best theory since Teddy Roosevelt used a similar theory when he was police commissioner in New York in the late 1890’s. In short, the police have to work with and understand the people they are trying to protect. And what better way to have the people you are trying to protect have faith in you, than having officers patrol neighborhoods they were brought up in. If you have a large presence of Latino police officers in largely Latino neighborhoods, the same with black neighborhoods, Albanian neighborhoods, and Irish neighborhoods the police officers, who grew up in these areas, naturally understand the culture, and the citizens are more likely to trust them and to help them
That theory, as Mr. Bratton noted in the interview, was set back probably thirty years by the murder of George Floyd by the now convicted felony Derek Chauvin, and the protests that followed, and the idea of defunding the police and the constant coverage of police brutality by the news media. The police, those who put their lives on the line every time they go to work, are now the enemy… Despite the fact that ninety-ninety percent of all police officers do a wonderful job.
The interview by Ms. Dowd, could easily have been the prologue to Mr. Cash’s, “What Is To Come.” A book that is wildly entertaining, well written, and a work of searing political satire.
Mr. Cash, Oliver, is the main character in this book and we meet him after just a couple of pages as a group rioters dislodge from a bus, walk through a quiet Vermont neighborhood, and to the house of Oliver Cash. Mr. Cash, a conservative writer who is famous for writing his fictional, conservative novel ‘2025,’ is their target. First they burn down his house, and then they burn him alive, all in the pursuit of a better America, a more liberal country.
Six months later, Oliver, who has been in an induced coma, wakes up in a hospital bed, in terrible pain, with his wife and two children in the room with him. By this time, the United States has succeeded and become two countries. The liberal country where Oliver is now stuck in, and the conservative country that looks more or less like the old USA.
Quickly, he is told by his family that he is no longer allowed to call his wife, Mary, wife anymore, but Mary, and his children no longer son and daughter, but by their names. Both children, who constantly have their faces in their phones, are perfectly okay with this, whereas Mary is still skeptical.
The liberal region that Oliver now resides in has big plans for him, first rehabilitating his burned body with numerous surgeries, and then transforming and re-adjusting his brain to become a great liberal novelist. Oliver, still as conservative as always, goes along with their plan. In truth, he has no choice and pretends to be a liberal.
After finally leaving the hospital, and under close supervision he writes his first liberal novel for the region and it becomes a huge hit. It’s like overnight, this once nothing writer, is famous and suddenly they move him and his family into a mansion to live, overlooking the Pacific ocean. He writes like five other novels, each a bigger hit than the last, and suddenly he finds himself living the life of a “One Percenter.”
He is the toast of the Liberal Country, and despite losing his wife to his female supervisor, and never seeing his children, his life is grand. In fact, there is little difference between the conservative USA and the Liberal country where he is as big as Stephen King. The politicians live in gated communities, away from all the homeless people, and celebrities like Oliver have everything at their disposal… Minus a wife, children, religion, and literary freedom to write what you really want to write.
If you are a person with an open mind, this novel is for you. If you are looking for comedy, this novel is for you. If you are a political junkie, you’re going to either love or hate it, but it will be very difficult to put down. I highly recommend.