October 23, 2012

Days of future past

In the pantheon of nations this one came to power rather quickly. The Republic was based on representative democracy and strong economics. Over the course of a few generations and a couple of World Wars it rose to be the dominant superpower in the world.

Nations all over rose and fell with The Republic's economy. The Republic was fabulously rich and its farms and manufacturing and consumers were the engine that powered the global economy. It wasn't just as a military superpower and economic superpower that the nation exerted its influence over large parts of the world.  The very culture was emulated. Clothing, language, even the coin of the realm was used by other nations. The Republic was loved and hated as are all empires; despotic, friendly, and accidental.

 The Republic's military was powerful beyond belief. There was not an opponent that could stand up to the technology and fighting spirit of the soldiers of the Republic.  Her warships prowled the oceans. The Republic destroyed their remaining  superpower rivals a few generations before, and held hegemony over the other nations. There were no major wars, but the armed forces found themselves caught up in small skirmishes all often. Radical elements and rogue nations were always trying to disrupt the peace and economic engine that drove the Republic. Usually these skirmishes were guerrilla wars -- small units sniping and nipping at the heels of the Republics powerful army in their midst.  Many an aspiring politician stirred up hate in his own country by using The Republic as the bogeyman.  The Republic was blamed for the smaller nation's economic ills, for destroying their culture. Often The Republic was painted as evil itself.

Things were not all roses in the homeland, however.  The gap between the richest and poorest of the society was growing at an ever expanding rate. The political class was becoming increasingly powerful, passing laws that seemed innocuous at the time, but secretly increased the politicians power and wealth.

More and more ordinary citizens were on the welfare, depending on the State for food, while the richest lived in lavish style. The education system was in shambles, rich and poor alike complained their sons were not getting the education they deserved. There was a large segment of the population pushing for a return to traditional values. These folks were concerned the loose morals and lack of respect for religion was damaging the very fabric of The Republic.

Inside the nation's borders there lived a large and growing population of non-citizens.  These people paid taxes, worked, served in the army.  But they were not granted the right to vote.  They had no say in government.

Every decade or so a reformer, a man of the people, appeared pushing to fundamentally change society. The reforms were wildly popular among the masses. Limiting wealth, taxing the rich at a higher rate, spreading the wealth appealed to the downtrodden. The rich and powerful, the conservative-minded in the legislature, successfully blocked every attempt at reform.

The Republic faced endless wars in far-off places with no goal or end in sight, especially in the Middle East. At home the economy was slowing. Public debt was mounting and taxes were already high. A few years of drought drove food prices upwards. the rich were getting richer. The non-citizen birthrate far outpaced that of the citizens and unrest grew. The wisest of political observers knew a crisis was coming, but lacked the vision or power or desire to solve the problems that faced the country.

Life in the Republic was like a pot of water on the stove, and things were about to boil over.

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