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Did a 1995 ST:DS9 episode predict America's future?

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“It’s not that they don’t care. It’s that they’ve given up.” This was how Commanding Officer Benjamin Sisko, played by Avery Brooks, described early 21st-century Americans in an episode from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When it aired in 1995, “Past Tense” spoke to contemporary concerns about homelessness by telling a story set in 2024—the near future for viewers, but the distant past for characters. In the two-part episode, Sisko and two of his companions from the U.S.S. Defiant find themselves stranded in San Francisco, where they’re reminded that the federal government had once set up a series of so-called “Sanctuary Districts” in a nationwide effort to seal off homeless Americans from the general population. Stuck in 2024, Sisko, who is black—along with his North African crewmate Dr. Julian Bashir and the fair-skinned operations officer Jadzia Dax—must contend with unfamiliar racism, classism, violence, and Americans’ apparent apathy toward human suffering.



Clip: https://youtu.be/j6RipowYUV8


Reality: https://www.liveleak...nMgO_1525612930








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  • Locationwhere fanciful imaginings and hard won knowledge meet to genesis the future.

Is it fully happening now? no. It's certainly got pieces of it right. But if anything they are doing something similar only in the opposite way.


Basically they are cleansing the cities of the homeless by making it illegal for them to be in areas of the cities. Pushing them out to the edges and get them far enough away that you can have a city without a homeless problem, not because you solves the causes of homelessness, but because you pushed them out to become somebody elses problem.


California has 5 or six rest stops, that are packed every night with homeless car sleepers. Because you will be fined hundreds of dollars if you are caught in the cities. And if you don't pay the fies and they find you again you lose your car and possessions.


So people are forced to migrate away to areas too far for regular patrols (but the cops will often spend a few days a month hitting some of those areas for patrol too, to keep anyone from settling in).


It would take a real shift I'm not sure we are capable of yet, for anyone to agree that setting up Ghettos is in anyones interest. That would involve building infrastructure and staffing facilities to manage the issue. It's just easier to throw them out the city gates and tell them they are not welcome.


about the closest I can see to this is private prison industry. If they increasingly criminalize anything and everything to use it as a catchall to incarcerate the homeless, the private prisons have agreed quotas for prisoner population minimums, and are paid via contract with the government. And while prisons of this type can be terrible, they are never as disorganised walled in slums as portrayed in that episode, it would be considered a human rights violation and cruel and unusual punishment.


but it will be interesting to see how increased automation, trade wars, and the next recession/depression will effect the situation. I suspect more of a diaspora akin to gypsy/traveler encampments being forced from area to area.


(not a bad Idea for a science fiction story really. Hoover-villes and middle class Diaspora shown as alliances of rvs, tiny homes and car sleepers, wandering through areas landing in national parks and public land, as towns and cities send militias to drive them off because the federal government shuts down twice a year now because political and economic failing, and the mainstream media has painted the homeless as modern viking raider and Mongol hordes. and some of the younger members of troupes using salvaged and repaired tablets and phones to gain net access from wi-fi and hotspots. Having a major conflict occur such that one of the kids documenting it with videos released through online platforms, only to have the algorythm disable the videos for contravercial content and it just happens silently, until somebody manages to get a video to go viral)

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That future scenario sounds like a weird combination of Camperforce and year-round Burning Man. 


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