Imagine a future version of America where being charitable is socially unacceptable. What would happen if our fundamental instincts for self-preservation and the 'survival of the fittest' side of capitalism colored our whole culture? Could technological progress add fuel to this devolution? "Pushed Down, Then Out" is a compelling story about America in the not-too-distant future. It's a story of how social Darwinism, self-centeredness, and economic advancement could, if left unchecked, harm vulnerable people.
As a young girl vainly attempts to outrun the fears, anxieties and traumatic experiences that robbed her of her voice, she finds some respite among strangers in a small New Hampshire town where people like her have been pushed to the margins and beyond. Her traumatic experiences have made her mute from fear, anxiety, and distrust. Despite her wordless responses, she is befriended by others like her, particularly by an Army Veteran dealing with his own trauma.
The girl stumbles upon a support network of clandestine associates who must operate in the shadows, since charitable efforts, being one step away from social unacceptability, are neither popular nor encouraged by authorities. This network exists in many states, and, by luck, people also help her Salvadoran father in his journey to reunite with his daughter.
The girl and some of her peers find physical refuge in an abandoned factory, but the city has other plans for this once grand parcel of land, having no wish to allow homeless people to squat there much longer.
For some, the stress of everyday existence and the hardship of psychiatric symptoms becomes too much. While courage, caring, and dumb luck come to bear on the fate of some who valiantly struggle, it is not sufficient to counteract the cruel system working against them.
Hallet Springs, New Hampshire could be any city and town in America. While the hints of this world are all around us now, the tale aims to underscore how understanding and compassion today might help us avoid the human tragedies that will certainly come without them.