Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Four-Year Glimpse Into the Future of America

Recently I helped deliver some predictions on what 2013 would bring to Mormondom. In the same spirit,  I'm casting my net a little wider here. With ongoing political clashes between Democrats and Republicans, a sluggish economy, and increasing ubiquity of trashy TLC reality shows, people are concerned with what the next few years will bring. Luckily, my powers of perception make me uniquely qualified to foresee the future, so I now present to you a timeline of America's next four years (sorry, international readers, you're on your own. Just watch out for Lesotho; that's all I can say). Plan accordingly.

-Economic recovery slowly continues, unemployment approaches 7%, and the Dow-Jones reaches record highs.

-Democrats and Republicans have various showdowns that unfold in entirely predictable ways.

-Alabama wins its third consecutive BCS National Championship.

It gets worse before it gets better

-Economic recovery slowly continues, unemployment approaches 6.5%, and the Dow-Jones reaches record highs.

-Democrats and Republicans have various showdowns that unfold in entirely predictable ways.

-Alabama wins the first college football National Championship playoff for its fourth consecutive title and fifth in six years.

-In a fit of wild and possibly intoxicated rapture, immediately following a Crimson Tide celebratory parade Alabama governor Robert Bentley declares the state's independence from the "weak and sissy" United States. He later clarifies with a press release consisting solely of the phrase "ROLL DAMN INDEPENDENCE" in 70 point font.

-Other southern states quickly follow Alabama's lead, although bickering and infighting over alleged recruiting violations prevent them from uniting.

-The U.S. government is slow to respond as Beltway insiders attribute the secession to "vigorous Tea Party activity" and continue debating whether Congress should vote to extend the debt ceiling for an additional three or six months.

How will this affect Democrats' chances of holding the Senate?

-As the reality of southern secession finally sinks in, the government finds itself unable to respond due to gridlock over government spending. In early April President Obama announces that in a last-ditch attempt to settle things by paying off the entire debt at once he had bet America's GDP on his ESPN March Madness bracket. He tells reporters, "I, uh, just really thought it was Duke's year, and, look, there were a lot of injuries…I just never saw them losing in in the Sweet Sixteen." He adds, "I did pick three of the Final Four right, and you have to admit that's pretty good."

-As Obama resigns and returns in shame to his childhood home of Hawaii, most of the United States government's assets come under the control of ESPN.

-ESPN asserts control over the northeast and midwestern states and announces the creation of the SportsNation centered around the capital of Bristol, Connecticut. Fantasy Football and ESPN Insider subscribers are enlisted as the backbone of the ESPN Watch state police, which ruthlessly crushes all dissent and competing media outlets. As the rest of the country falls into chaos, other regional powers began to fill the void.

-California, recognizing the de facto dissolution of the union, announces an emergency election for the presidency of an independent California, which is contested by over 30 candidates.

-Texas legislators prepare to declare independence but are shocked when Mexican immigrants armed with gardening equipment take over and occupy the state capitol. When governor Rick Perry learns of this he defiantly announces "I always knew this day would come, but they can ReconKiss-ta my ass." However, when the revolutionaries threaten to have all immigrants abandon the state en mass the governor, fearing economic catastrophe and loss of domestic help at home, backs down.

Yes, They Took 'Er Gr'vernment

-Continued conflict in the south nearly leads to war until the states work out a power sharing agreement. They form a loose coalition with policy debates settled by a series of scheduled, ritual, team-based gladiatorial combat events. Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida emerge as the dominant political powers of the so-called Southern Executive Confederation and secure their financial future by brokering a ten year, $75 trillion trade and television rights agreement with SportsNation.

-In a shock to established political parties, the winner of the California elections is Zooey Deschanel, who proves a surprisingly effective executive as her eccentric yet free-spirited demeanor and infectious optimism lifts moribund Californians out of their doldrums and help them realize that they no longer need their ex-government to be happy, because happiness comes from within.

-Utah and Idaho fall under the control of militant Mormons united under the banner of a mysterious Saratoga Springs youth Sunday School teacher known only as "Brother Griffin," who through a combination of wits and luck gathers a core of loyal youthful followers who forcibly subdue the flailing state governments. Griffin gains popular support by promising to base his dictatorship "strictly on righteous, small-government principles."

-After a period of transition under the interim immigrant Texan government, Texas formally merges with Mexico and forms the República de TexMexico. While suspicions between north and south T.M. take generations to subside, all citizens are united by a common belief that TexMex cuisine is delicious.

-Wyoming, Montana, and many Great Plains states dissolve into numerous locally-governed principalities. Survivalists and hardcore libertarians flock to the region to establish societies based on their cherished principles. However, a lack of natural resources forces compromises, and hard currencies backed by "interesting looking rocks" seldom hold their value outside isolated communities.

"Government is powerless to create pretty rocks for the economy; they can only be developed by the processes of the free market, and also digging"

-Brother Griffin's mountain empire splinters when when he claims to receive revelation that "The new Zion is to be in the Yukon" and personally leads a small expedition north to find a suitable location. He is never heard from again. Skirmishes between Utah and Idaho factions of Griffinites periodically flare up over which group is based on more righteous, smaller-government principles.

-Alaska is annexed by Canada while most of the remaining southwestern states join TexMexico. Arizona becomes the first T.M. state to announce draconian laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration from California.

-Hawaii surprises outsiders by announcing the return of the monarchy under Ali'i Obama, whose first official act is to form a military alliance with Kenya.

-The media market of the former United States collapses outside of tightly-regulated sporting/propaganda networks, and few companies retain with the ability to broadcast widely. While California enjoys a thriving live theater industry, the situation is grim elsewhere, with a few independent media stations broadcasting pirate signals, mostly of trashy TLC reality show reruns.

-SportsNation announces increased compulsory subscription fees for all SN citizens, with punitive penalties on former Sports Illustrated subscribers  Those who complain often disappear within hours, though some citizens admit that weekly high-definition SEC Team Gladiatorial Combat broadcasts partially alleviate the fear.

Because they're watching you

And that's the next four years.