On the eve of a new year, people all over the world were preparing to say goodbye to the old millennian and cheer in the next thousand years. Doomsdayers prepared for the worst: religious zealots readied their souls for God’s wrath upon a sinful world; the techno nihilists predicted computer systems all over the world would collapse because of two missing digits not hard coded into the mainframe’s operating systems; militia survivalists stocked up on water and ammo to protect themselves from both sinners running from God’s wrath and the cataclysmic collapse of the corrupt federal government.
Yet, the center held. Joyous exaltation began to spread throughout humankind. Millions of people went to the streets, to local festivals, and those who could afford it, went to the destination of choice as earth’s symbolic clock rotated. The world’s worries were at peace even if for that one minute every fifty-nine for twenty-four hours. Even for those who did not follow the Christian calender year took pause. Something great was about to occur, and great something did. On that fifty-ninth minute, people of every being began to grin, then cheer and clap for that one minute. At the stroke of the twenty-fourth hour for twenty-four hours, a crescendo of human voices rang out across the land. The world was joined as it had never been joined before for that one single event. There was hope for the future – the perception even if it for that one minute every fifty-nine for twenty-four hours. Then there were the neigh sayers who believed that the new millennian was not for another year and the worst was still to come. They were ignored of course. But, the worst was yet to come for one large country, whose many of its upstanding citizens believed to be the greatest nation on earth, no matter what others said. 2001: The true millennian brought tragedy early one September morning. The event itself was not the first tragedy to occur on its soil; however, it was the first to create such aftershocks that it brought so many countries together with an outpouring of support and empathy. The leaders of other free worlds held out their hands in peace and support. The leader of this free world acknowledged that outpouring, but this leader had his own agenda, and this unfortunate tragedy was not going to derail him, so he worked it into his favor for he had a plan long before his election. This leader would not outright lie, cheat or steal – by political definition – because he had others do it for him. Corruption of the highest order went unpunished or not pursued at all. Many citizens were duped into such patriotic fervor that regulation size flags flew from metal rods attached to houses, pickup trucks; smaller flags flapped from car antennas. Patriotic stickers, sticky and magnetic, were not limited to the bumpers of family vehicles. The most vulnerable were frightened of their ethnocentric neighbors, so flags hung from the foreign borns’ homes and from those who looked foreign born. Soon to follow, H.R. 3162 RDS was introduced to congress by those who wish to please their leader, which hastily became Law. Those who were sensitive to constitutional law and Civil Rights knew better. Only sixty-six House of Representative and one lone senator voted against H.R.3162 knowing they could be damning their careers. The people allowed the Bill of Rights to be infringed upon for the sake of personal safety. They lived in unrealistic fear with every announced orange alert and with every alert the sale of flags went up – capitalist China profited in those years, subsequent years, as well. National debt, unregulated greed, unemployment, surging energy costs, continued environmental deterioration did not seem to be on the leader’s agenda. These were mere consequences of his predecessors, so he tells his followers. Although these issues all existed to various degrees, these social and environmental realities became extremely exacerbated under this leader’s administration. First on this leader’s daily bulletin was to create war with a very small country who got out of line with its patron, the greatest nation on earth. Equal in weight, on the home front, this leader was determined to undermine public education, priming it for a private contractor take-over, along with other vital government agencies. In time, he achieved his objectives. As this leader faded into the history books, for a while, the world view of the United States of America shifted favorably as they witnessed changes from afar but remained cautious. The economy fluctuated up and down, but it never fully recovered. The national debt remained crippling high. Capitalism became regulated only to the degree to appease the centrist masses but with no intention of accountability, upheld by those who could afford to hold office. The educated became increasingly underemployed along with the highly skilled labor force. The military became the number one employer of young men and women, given few choices to the young and less affluent; fewer and fewer qualified for service as the military became increasingly privatized.
Unemployment went down, but only those receiving unemployment benefits were counted, determining the true number of the unemployed was not possible; temp workers were just that, temporary and rarely accumulated enough work time to qualify for new benefits before being terminated again, and again. Moreover, homelessness was considered another way of life as large numbers of individuals and families took to residing in the nooks and crannies of this great nation’s superstructures and in the catacombs threaded throughout the bowels its great cities.
As a way to cut the deficit, public education became publically funded education as the new millennian leader had intended. The theory was that contracting to private industry to operate this nation’s schools would fiscally sound and provide a better education for its children. That theory went untested until the damage was complete. Children left behind were the silenced cries of former public school teachers.
Community colleges became vocational schools, again, run by private contractors. Public universities remained under government control only because of the research produced advantaged private industry at taxpayers expense. Research and development often went unchecked – more waste than progress. High technology slowly ceased to advance, going into hibernation. At the time, it was believed to be taken as far as it could go. Meaning, it was no longer profitable. The retardation of technology was evident throughout the world. Good or bad, it was a fact that just was. Energy costs leveled but still exorbitant; people adapted with using a lot less. Environmental deterioration was no longer deniable: Tornado Ally expanded geographically north and grew in sheer number of touchdowns, including more frequent and acute level 4 and 5 tornados; people adapted and moved underground; corporate agriculture benefitted some and adapted their crops around the weather system; the sea level’s continual rise was enough to keep government cartographers employed. Earth seemed to hit its human carrying capacity and began adjusting its numbers. More people were dying than being born, not by a comfortable margin. Infertility jumped sharply primarily among the male population. Twentieth-century baby boomers and their echoes were dying off by the tens of thousands, daily. Stubborn diseases rose sharply particularly among the poor, but the wealthy were not immune. In addition, mass starvation due to global climate changes took far more than its fair share; disease was not an issue in those regions of the world. Among the few remaining capitalist medical economies, affordable health care meant those who could afford it had it. Those who couldn’t, crowded into clinics and rationed antibiotics when they were legally able to attain them. Illegal immigrants and those with previous criminal records were denied government medical access. They turned to underground clinics and black market pharmaceuticals. Drug resistant diseases considered to be of the criminal and destitute was not a concern until the affluent fell ill. Those few whose voices that were allowed to be heard said this was all due to the over indulgence of the self-entitled masses; they published books to prove their points. The religious zealots proselytized this as the continuous wrath of God, punishing us for our sinful decadence. The general population for the most part was not apathetic or depressed. They accepted what they could not change; at least for a while, they did. As more years past, only the politicians used the adjective greatest in reference to this nation and only during an election cycle. The people reminisced the days when they truly believed that their beloved country was the greatest: One nation under God, standing tall and proud against all others. It was counted on when others needed help; its purpose was to protect. The citizens believed this with all their souls. Now the people turned away seeking for another course. The center shifted. The citizens of what came to be referred to as the Eleven Western States & Texas looked inward to their own resources; what they were willing to do without financial assistance from the federal government – not that there were a lot of funds to cover federal projects; pre-bankruptcy, private contractors plundered the bulk of the monetary resources. Many federal projects were abandoned completely. In an agreement with the Feds, each state financed project completions and claimed them under state jurisdiction. The citizens were convinced that they could progress without federal controls. Federal funds, grants, and loans were never applied for by these states. When monies were automatically sent, the funds were not accepted, allowing these states to act more independently but still united with the central government. Eventually, Washington, D.C. realized they were losing their grip on the West. Symbolically, Washington dragged out the original Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union and dusted it off. By then, too much time had passed, too much had transpired. Even the threat of enacting some form of a sedition law was an empty threat, died in committee. So, the Feds ran public ads which propagandized and prophesied that without assistance from Washington, D.C. these western states were doomed to fail, tragically. The West would be reduced to a basal existence of unlawful order that would rival the Old West of the 1800's. 2076: The Tri-Centennial came and went with little fanfare. The Eleven Western States and Texas certainly were not reduced to a basal existence. And, when the Fed’s predictions did not come to pass, other tactics were employed: sabotaged dams, utilities, and water treatment plants for which the Feds blamed on the lack of proper security; state and city buildings were damaged by fires and floodings which the Feds blamed on flawed maintenance; at a rail yard, a faulty valve on a chemical tanker leaked toxic gas that killed or displaced more than two and half million citizens of one California city and suburbs, alone. None were blamed. None took responsibility. The citizenry became bitter. Regardless of the setbacks, the Eleven Western States held strong but was weakening. Texas did not flinch. Within each state, there was pressure for all-out secession from the Union. While Washington, D.C. continued to pressure the West to conform to federal government law, there were threats of enacting martial law. 2086: A convention was called to bring resolve to the conflict. Delegates from D.C. and delegates from the Eleven Western States Coalition, including scholars and constitutional lawyers, arrived on neutral ground in a relatively small poker city in the state of Nevada. Texas was expected to attend, but refused. The Neo Tejanos were not going to kowtow this time around. Perhaps they possessed some foresight to their destiny. The implosion. The Intra-National Compromise Convention was held in an impressive hotel which was completely closed to the public so security could be at a premium. It didn’t matter. The bombs were hidden and wired throughout the structure in such a way that not even the dogs were able to sniff them out of hiding. The explosives detonated at the peak of the most important meeting of the convention. No one survived inside the building. Death was instant for some and brutal for others. Every side lost. An official Declaration of Independence listing justifications for the separation from the Union was hand carried to the nation’s capital. The messenger was arrested for treason. Blood was to be shed. The National Guard and U.S. military service members refused to turn their guns on their own states’ citizens. Many soldiers abandoned their posts to return to their declared state with equipment in hand. And what they couldn’t carry, they destroyed with the best of their military ability. Few arrests were made, but none were imprisoned. They were shot as deserters and traitors but died as martyrs. The west coast navel shipyards lay vulnerable after long years of neglect. Ships in dry dock did not stay that way. Some continued to serve as playful reefs for the ocean’s sea creatures. A frigate, or two, a submarine, mysteriously disappeared off the southern California coast and from a northern inlet in Washington state, never to be seen again, at least not in sea-ship gray.
The Department of Navy deployed carriers and warships and other watercrafts of war on the periphery of international waters. The United States tried with much constraint to discourage foreign vessels, but mostly failed to do so.
When independence began to break out in the Polynesian Islands as well in the territories, the US Navy was stretch beyond its limits. The Pacific native island peoples believed that a reclaiming of independence was long overdue; state buildings were overtaken with little resistance. Along the Pacific coast, safe ports of call were few and far in between, from the equator to the tundra. Shore leave was prohibited. The new Pacific Coast Guard remained strictly search and rescue, but they were more than capable of self defense if fired upon. They flew only the flag of their declared state and underneath a red cross on white background. They took no poisoners, or prejudice to whom they rescued from the sea, only returning them to their allegiance for which the came, alive, or dead. Aid from foreign countries, especially those with long reaching memories, had no difficulty getting supplies into the Western States, or in through the Gulf of Mexico. The ports were open, protected by the fishers and the Gulf and the Pacific Coast Militia. The fishers and seafaring folks used their trawlers, yachts, and schooners for escorting and supply transport from foreign ships. The Eleven Westerns and Texas never allowed foreign government military fighters across its borders either by land, air, or sea. Any foreign citizen, however, was welcomed to take up arms, and they did. Two years of hard, relentless, bloody, fighting finally came to an exhausting end. The monetary and property loss cost was incalculable. The humane cost was tragic. But, no Western Stater or Neo-Tajano would deny it was worth the glory. Of the Eleven Western States, five won complete independence along with Texas. One remained neutral territory. Five were lost by both sides to an extraordinary coup-de-grâce by the Pan-Indigenous Peoples, along with three Midwestern states, all of whom were left expectantly unprotected. During peace negotiations with the Pan-Indigenists, the federal government relinquished all Indian lands that were under federal jurisdiction, not including the Atlantic Island Territories. To protect these new treaties, the Indians were represented by their own skilled legal negotiators this time around. Their modern warriors wore ties and rode metallic painted ponies with Cadillac FLP branded on their rear haunches. The independent states did not agree to release lands because they were not at war with the Indians. They did, however, agree that the flow of all Indigenous Peoples entering the free states would go unimpeded as long as registration identification was presented while crossing boarders, likewise for the Westerners entering Indian Country. Natives who lived on traditional Indian grounds governed themselves or in equal partnership with the independents. The free states were well aware that the Indians could be a formidable enemy if push comes to shove. The independents preferred to be friends with their neighbors. 2090: The Ghost Dance ended. 2101: Sophia was born.
Material Remains: The Oral History of Sophia
Chapter 1 sets the tone for future events.
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