Exactly 30 years ago, in the midst of the Cold War, ABC aired a seven-night, 14-and-a-half-hour miniseries depicting life 10 years after the Soviet Union manipulates the presidential election as meek and deflated Americans shrug.
Its core message is more relevant today than ever: They did it because we let them.
The 50 states had been replaced by 12 “administrative areas.” Communication systems had been taken out – no Internet or cell phones in this version of 1997 – cutting Americans off from each other. The mighty U.S. military is no more; the areas are patrolled by Soviet-controlled “United Nations Special Service Units.” Dissidents, if not simply exiled to desolate parts of the country, are brainwashed at the “People’s Acceptance Hospital.” Older Americans grumble about food shortages and a lost way of life, but are resigned to their fate. Kids are taught their “ancestors” were “bullies” who only killed Indians, exploited workers and dumped those who couldn’t work into “slums” to die. Lincoln is still revered, but his image now gets paired with Lenin.