Civil War — A Fable
January 20, 2021 — In Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump ascends a podium to renew his oath to protect and defend the Constitution in front of Mike Pence, the Kushners, and the rest of the clan. Another come-from-behind victory propelled him to four more years in the White House, disappointing the 54% of voters that chose the other guy.
In Sacramento, another ascension to another podium occurs. This time, it’s Gavin Newsom, flanked by Andrew Cuomo, Nancy Pelosi, and Charles Schumer. These leaders, of what used to be the Democratic party, have assembled to announce the formation of a new government. Effective immediately, they will secede from the United States, along with multiple western and northeastern states.
Since election day, these leaders have been planning to leave the United States of America, as they see no path to a co-existing next four years. As expected from political heavyweights, they’ve established governmental roles, shored up military capabilities, created infrastructure for checkpoints and borders, and secured trade partnerships and agricultural alliances. The news is shocking to all, including to those now forced to leave their country and form a new union.
Anticipating a knee-jerk reaction from President Trump, the announcement is timed to coincide with the president’s time on-stage. That delay allows the insurgency to secure all airports, borders, train stations, and shipping depots. They create a no-fly zone with loyal anti-establishment military personnel. By sundown, Trump has lost the west coast, the northeast, and a couple of midwestern states. They are now referred to as “Blue America,” or “The Blue.” A civil war is declared.
This new civil war has a different look, however. The interconnectedness of the citizenry is a hurdle to securing loyalty and shutting down outside influence. However, The Blue has one major advantage: Every large technology company is located in California, New York, and Washington state. Newsom and the others create a cabal of technological powers to use social media profiling to root out dissension.
Anyone with significant pro-Trump postings and/or questioning of Blue leadership is identified using complex algorithms. The Blue government offers massive incentives for Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon to mesh together historical data to find potential insurgents from the far right. They’re scarily accurate.
These potential insurgents are tracked down and forced to take part in the war effort in unique ways. Each family with Red ties is brought into city centers and moved into “Boot Camps.” These Boot Camps are humane, and families are kept together, but they are completely self-contained, with only security personnel moving freely in and out of the camps. Work details leave daily to factories and farms to maintain important production capabilities, but families resent the loss of freedom and working for an unjust cause.
Each day for these (mostly white) Boot Campers is a combination of re-education, war effort support, and Operation Red Shield. An ingenious plan concocted by the Blue government, the Shield protects key government, military, and transportation assets with “sleepover field trips” for various Campers each night. Hundreds of Campers are required to sleep in barracks-style housing at strategic sites for three nights each month on a rotating schedule. The Blue government understands that the optics of a mass killing of Red sympathizers by the Red government would play poorly back home. The Campers understand their role, but each night in the Shield feels like a million years, especially for the children.
Across the former United States, guerrilla tactics are common. The Red states are well-versed in armaments and makeshift explosives. They create havoc as often as possible, but the Blue strongholds are almost impenetrable. When fighting occurs in purple areas, the Red fighters are overwhelming in force and in skill, so purple quickly turns to red in this war.
Traditional ground skirmishes are limited, but the use of drones and cyber-attacks is common. Citizens on both sides live a less connected life, fearing for their online safety, and this breaks the ties between families in different states. The technology that had bound us closer together now threatens to tear us apart. We give it up to support our side of the war.
The war continues for three years.
January 20, 2024 — In Sacramento, CA, President Trump sits down with President Newsom to accept the Blue’s unconditional surrender. The fighting has cost thousands of lives and disrupted the economies of both sides. International alliances have been lost. Technology has regressed. Citizens have given into resentment. Everyone is ready for this to be over.
As part of the surrender, Newsom, Cuomo, Pelosi, Schumer, and others have agreed to plead guilty to treason. The Blue states will be welcomed back into the Union, but a new wave of leadership must be elected. Trump’s victory speech is divisive and chastises those that supported the Blue cause. He announces financial penalties against the subversive states, thus guaranteeing a lower status in the re-formed United States.
The three years of fighting will be defined by the destruction of wealth, the lost lives of Americans, and the eventual consolidation of presidential power. The Blue effort will be seen as an ultimately fruitless effort to rein in power, though a small majority of Americans will remain convinced that the principles were sound.
January 22, 2029 — In Washington, D.C., a new centrist leader is inaugurated as president, ushering in a renewed era of camaraderie amongst Americans. Gone are the fresh wounds of those caught up in the fighting. More distant are the memories of time spent in Boot Camps. A new America is ready to commence.
In California, New York, and Washington state, monuments are erected to remember the past. Statues of Newsom, Cuomo, Inslee, Pelosi, Schumer go up. Schools and parks are renamed to honor those that sacrificed everything to ensure America lived up to its promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These honors are met with significant support in the former Blue states, a way to acknowledge the sacrifices of the past to create a better future.
Those that spent three years in Boot Camps walk by those same statues and parks and schools every day, a constant reminder of their indentured servitude. They remember their families being forced to relocate, to support an unjust war, to protect the Blue with their lives. Seeing statues of these “heroes” re-opens their war wounds each day, brings them back to a time of trauma and inequity.
When they complain, their complaints are met with a common refrain: “Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” They wonder why anyone thinks that they’d forget this past, this injustice, this tearing-away of everything they stood for. Why must the monuments harken back to a time of treason, of indentured servitude, of bias, and of hatred?
Why isn’t the history enough on its own?