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I was a soldier during the election. We followed it closely, getting very political ourselves. At the time I was an independent who believed in democracy; the way I saw it, good or bad, a society can only exist when it's run by the people, and in democracy the people get the government they deserve. It was up to them to learn from their mistakes, make better decisions in the future, and that would create a better nation than one just told what to do. But now I don't know what to think.
The election itself felt revolutionary. There he was, an up-and-comer from humble beginnings with a noble track record in government. He was everything this country needed in a president: he respected his opponents, conducted himself professionally, spoke with direct honesty, kept his statements modestly realistic, and genuinely cared about taking care of the country and its people.
To fight him, the established career politicians fronted something revolutionary themselves. They knew he would beat another run-of-the-mill candidate just as laden with backdoor deals and motivated by money and influence from other powerful groups. So out of desperation, they brought out someone that turned their tricks of the trade into a nuclear arsenal.
He was emotionally impulsive, defiantly crass and offensive, the perfect picture of wealth and success with an ego to match, and with every statement he dumped water on the oil fire of domestic discontent, stoking anger and promising a quick, easy, and glorious path to prosperity. He was everything that was wrong with society; the greed, hate, and corrupt power that people loved to tune in for.
We watched as the country ate it up, the news cycle blaring the David-and-Goliath confrontation between the penniless upstart and rich juggernaut. It reached every household, with family members turning on one another over what they think of the two candidates. All the way up until election day, everyone was on the edge of their seat.
But we weren't watching a feel-good movie where the underdogs pull a climactic victory at the last second. We were watching a tragedy as the close race ended with an indictment of our nation. The hate-fueled madman barely took the throne, plunging the country into chaos. Riots exploded across the country, and we were called in to restore order and protect the establishment.
Anyone who tells you it wasn't a crackdown had no idea what they were really doing. With guns, armor, tanks, and gas we marched through our cities. Curfews, confiscations, detainments, all under the guise of protecting the peace we silenced the opposition with intimidation and violence. But hardly anybody had a problem with it. We all had faith in the system that had never led us astray before.
Well, not everyone had that faith. Some saw this for what it was, but even as the people blamed themselves for jeopardizing our democracy, these few kept quiet and did what they were told. For weeks we hunted patriots as enemies of the state with the approval of even their own terrified supporters. It was so chaotic nobody really understood what was happening to the country.
Then things went from bad to worse overnight. Out of nowhere, we were pulled from our regular duties and given a new mission. It was unthinkable, but we were so lost in the confusion that we clung to whatever order our leaders provided. We marched on the capital in the first and only coup our country had ever seen.
The generals decided that they needed to protect the country from even its own catastrophic decision. Democracy had failed, the people had been duped into jeopardizing the country, and it would take a stern hand to save us. The system wasn't broken; it did everything it was supposed to. But even the best machine is just a tool of the user.
That's when I realized democracy was unsustainable. People are too emotional, too easily manipulated, too selfish to govern themselves for the greater good. If they're in control, they'll only ever choose what they think they want, rather than figure out what they need and sacrifice for it. Maybe someday we'll change, but for the last million years all we've done is upgrade our tools and follow the same instincts.
And that's how democracy ended: with a revolutionary election, a brutal crackdown, a sudden coup, and the start of a civil war. I used to think democracy was perfect because the people got to make and learn from their mistakes, strengthening the country. If people are controlled, they won't improve themselves. Turns out we want to be controlled. We have to be.
Though censorship is standard under the Civil Conglomerate, the government has not purged texts written before their rise to power. Instead, all media that criticizes their philosophy is annotated in order to "update implications to current understandings of human nature." Everything produced since their rise is carefully scrutinized to retain a positive lean towards their established doctrine.

This account by a veteran of the November Crisis was intentionally preserved in its original text and wildly propagated across the nation. In the transition from democracy to the Civil Conglomerate, it was a powerful influence on the hesitant and fearful minds of the war-weary populace.


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Submitted on
February 17


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