Episode eight of SHADOW REVOLUTION preview
The cabinet room hummed with speculation and anticipation. President Holmes had let it be known beforehand that a matter of special importance would be on the agenda today. He arrived a couple of minutes before the scheduled meeting-time and called the meeting to order promptly at 8 a.m.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there is a strange phenomenon taking place out west. There is an exodus of unparalleled proportion into that area and, also, the gulf. People are moving from the East, South and parts of the Midwest into the Western states and Louisiana. This ordinarily wouldn’t be cause for alarm, except that this emigration is taking place in a rather orderly fashion into eighteen particular states.”
He unveiled a map of the United States and pointed to the several states he had just referenced. “What puzzles me is, why these states? California, Arizona, and perhaps Texas and Louisiana for their climates, I can understand, but states like Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana? Good hell, they’re out at the end of the world in the deepfreeze! Why would anyone want to move there? This is why my advisors and I feel that there could be a predetermined reason behind this move.”
“Such as?” Secretary of State Wilson asked.
“Right now, we can only speculate, Larry, and I’ll address that later. It’s beautiful country, I’ll admit, but there are too many people moving out there at once. There has to be a specific reason for those people to move three quarters of the way across the country. The growth rates of these individual states indicate that each one has been growing at an annual rate of about 15 to 25 percent of its base population over the last few years—and something else we’ve learned. The makeup of the legislatures in liberal states like California and Washington is definitely shifting to a more conservative bent. Mountain states are going ultra-conservative. This bothers me more than a little.”
Labor secretary Rieschberger pointed out to the president that this situation should be of little concern since the liberals regained control of the national Congress in 1996 and held onto it in 1998. Their liberal progressive legislative agenda was winning its way through Congress at record speed.
“I realize that, Hanz,” the president said, “but with conservatives in control of state legislatures, we could still be in trouble. Conservatives have a tendency to take the Constitution literally, whereas we liberals tend to interpret its meaning and its intent to suit our own ends. What I’m afraid might happen is these conservative states might take it upon themselves to push states rights issues. This will cause a lot of confusion and chaos and slow down our agenda immensely. Some of them might even go so far as to threaten secession.”
The Secretary of State shifted in his chair and broke into the conversation. The president saw him as a stern man, but with a flair for impetuous outbursts. “Secession, is that what your speculation is about? They wouldn’t dare! Don’t they know—except for Texas—secession was made illegal after the Civil War? They must know we could, and would, crush them in one fell swoop.”
The president reached in his pocket and took out a Havana. “Still, in all, Larry, there are rumors flying around that there may be a secession movement afoot.” He lit his cigar and looked directly at the secretary. His gaze was a bit condescending. “You say we could crush them in one fell swoop. Are you suggesting another incident like the one in Texas a few years ago, when Thelma Ramsey turned tanks on our own citizens?”
The state secretary’s body stiffened. “Not at all, Mr. President, I’m merely articulating how foolish it would be for any states to secede. It’s a near certainty all of those states would be claiming as their own, the sixty to seventy percent of federally-owned lands that lie within their borders. We simply couldn’t afford to let those states break way and take all those resources with them. We’d have to implement an economic boycott or attack them militarily, or both. We’d have no choice, and they couldn’t survive either one.”
The president turned to the Treasury Secretary. He was a rotund man who wore spectacles. “What do you think, George?”
“About what, sir, the exodus, or the secession question?
“Both,” the president said.
The secretary clutched his hands together on the table as he spoke. “Well, from what you’ve told us about the apparent organized order of this exodus, I find it hard to believe it is just happenstance. I, like you, wonder why anyone would move to Montana or Idaho or Utah without a prior motive. If the motive is secession, I agree with Larry. They would have to be absolute fools to try that.”
“Then you don’t think this tide flow to the West poses any kind of problem?”
“I didn’t exactly say that, Mr. President. It might present a rather large problem.”
The president took a drag on his cigar. “How so?” he asked.
“It could divide the country ideologically, sir. If we get large blocks of conservative power out West, it could have an effect on some of your legislative agenda,” was the secretary’s response.
The president got up and paced the room. “You’re saying that a strong conservative block standing together could conceivably stave off our liberal progressive agenda?” He fixed his gaze on the secretary.
“Or implement an agenda of their, own, Mr. President. They could almost operate as a separate nation if they hold steadfastly together in the way they vote. That being the case, they wouldn’t need to secede.”
“That might explain the exodus, but do you honestly believe people would be so committed that they would actually pull up stakes and move to try to change the course of government?” the president asked. “That would take a gargantuan commitment.”
The treasury secretary removed his spectacles. Took a kerchief from his pocket and cleaned them. “Yes, it would, sir,” he said, “but it’s been done before. The original colonists are a good example. They moved across a vast ocean to start a new life, and when they had a bellyful of England’s oppressive tactics over here, as your history lessons should have taught you, they broke away from England and set up their own government.”
The president took the cigar from his mouth. He was still skeptical. “But the larger population numbers are still in the East, George, and they tend to vote liberal. If building a solid conservative block is the purpose of this so-called exodus, I still question whether we have anything to worry about,” the president reminded him.
The secretary’s expression turned grim. “There are still some conservatives in the East, Mr. President,” he said. “Coupled with a solid block in the West, they could become formidable. In the past, the conservatives were virtually negated because they were scattered hither and yon from all over the country with no common bond, so to speak. But now the way things are looking there’ll be eighteen states in a solid block. Yes, sir, I think it’s something worth watching.”
“Let’s get back to the secession thing,” the president said. “What if, some, or all, of these states, were to secede? What kinds of ramifications would that create?”
“Havoc,” answered the treasury secretary….
Tune in later for episode nine of the preview.