That'll Be 8 Euros or 7 Amros, Sir...
"And how much is that in real money?" - she used to ask her husband every time they traveled abroad and hotel bills would be presented in Francs, Kronor or Zlotys. In her mind, as in the minds of most Americans, the old greenback was the only real money. She now watched him struggle with the unfamiliar bank notes and asked her usual question. The difference was that the conversation this time occurred in Chicago. The new currency called Amro had just replaced the dollar.
The date was August 30, 2011, the tenth anniversary of unveiling the Euro. Germany had accomplished a centuries-old aspiration: its nemesis, the Pound Sterling of England was no more. Giving up the Mark was a small price to pay for the hated symbol of success and stability going through the giant shredders. With the Pound went the jury system, the rule of law, "my home is my castle," and "innocent until proven guilty." New laws, written in Strasbourg and Brussels, based on nothing in particular, have taken their place. People received their earnings in faceless Euros, the currency based - like the new laws - on nothing in particular.
For a few years, the Euro fooled many. But as new countries joined the European Union, reality reared its ugly head. Some of the new member countries understood as much about economics, markets, and fiscal policy as they had heard on CNN, and for them the Euro was simply a new toy, which - for obscure reasons - purchased goods and services in accordance with whatever the bosses in far-away offices had decided. They were only too happy to see the last of their largely worthless pieces of paper, which their governments had printed at will.
But in countries where people had applied their minds and bodies over many centuries to build a solid and ever-more prosperous existence, where families had labored for generations to acquire dependable reserves, a sense of unease that all of it was slipping away permeated the citizenry. They wanted to let their representatives know that all was not well, but their so-called representatives were far, far away.
They wanted to talk about local soccer teams with a century or more of history, eliciting loyalty from, and bringing admiration to, the community, now consisting of players from foreign lands, none of whom even spoke the language of the country. They wanted to talk about customs and food that used to make their town - and countless others - special. but their representatives were out of reach.
And that was exactly as these new rulers had planned the new Europe. They had very little time for the people, because they preferred to spend their days constructing theories for the new world. They held it was simply social injustice that some countries had their affairs in better order than others. They held that social justice required constant administrative adjustments to equalize the disparate impact which changing seasons, the phases of the moon, and other cyclic events apparently exerted on different peoples.
The new rulers had their admirers in America where a most inconvenient piece of parchment, known as the Constitution of the United States, created serious difficulties for central planners. But "social justice" had successfully been sold to Americans as something that actually existed, and was a good thing to pursue. Whenever someone asked how social justice could be defined, and thus achieved, the questioner was called a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot, told to shut up, and consigned to sensitivity training.
After awhile, it became obvious that creating as much distance between government and governed as had been achieved in Europe would take too long. On the other hand, growing millions of naturalized Americans who retained their Mexican citizenship, and never abandoned their Mexican identity, became increasingly vocal about the social injustice that continued to deprive Mexico of a currency of substance, consistent laws, dependable courts, and uncorrupted officials.
With Canada already well on the road to socialism, the solution was soon agreed. It arrived in the form of bank notes with a burrito on one side, a hamburger on the other, and "Free Quebec!" in French as the watermark on the paper stock. It was called the Amro. The NAACP issued special thanks on behalf of rap and hip-hop performers who could now deposit their millions without cringing at the sight of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and all the other slave-holders.
She woke up at last. Cold sweat covered her body.