Rosella Tolfree Installment Stories
A series set in the politically dystopian future of the U.S.A.
Featuring a blog that explains Rosella's World
Much of U.S. social history can be seen through the lens of its legislative and court processes. We all should be aware of how powerful Supreme Court decisions can be in shaping U.S. society, besides the impacts of rulings concerning Acts of Congress and Amendments to the Constitution. Today both political parties and activists are trying diligently to shape America through these processes.
I’m always amazed that during the adoption of the reconstruction amendments during the late 1860s, that changes to the second amendment concerning the right to bear arms to form militias was not done. Maybe Congress was more focused on issues dealing with slavery than how the south armed itself, or the codifying of a national army.
While we can debate it, I’ve observed that prior to the Civil War each state had their own “army”. The federal government formed the national army from these “state armies”. This alone allowed the southern states to easily deploy troops against the north. You would think Congress at the time would have realized this problem and rethought it.
Now years later we are dealing with Supreme Court decisions that have separated the legal aspects of gun rights into two parts. One for individual gun rights and one for the state rights. Creating a unique gun culture that’s unlike any in the world. Ironically, if Congress back then had adopted a new version of the second amendment, making it harder for independent armies to spring up, we might be more like the rest of the world concerning our legal traditions about guns. We might have seen groups like the KKK not as easily occurring during the reconstruction period, and other racial violence of later eras. This doesn’t mean racial tensions or biases would be eliminated. Only that the violence used would change in form and maybe decrease because of less access to guns.
We might also less male suicide in the 21st Century since men typically use handguns to kill themselves. But these same men might just substitute cleaning fluids instead. Clearly some mass killings in the U.S. may not have occurred, but may have been replaced with bombings instead.
This is my point about the way laws and decisions create a society. Change one aspect and there can be a ripple effect. And I'm not making a formal discussion about the moral issues of U.S. gun rights here. I'm only applying an alternative historical scenario to a timeline. I’ll save those moral arguments for other experts.
While the list below doesn’t have the various court decisions, it lists the U.S. Congressional acts and constitutional amendments ratified.
I present this list in chronological order. Act means an act passed by Congress and signed into law, whereas CA means a Constitutional Amendment eventually ratified and adopted by the states.
Act- Women’s Child Stipend Act
This act reshaped the U.S. welfare system concerning how the federal government handed out funds to women with children. Now women were getting a direct payment stipend for every child they had birthed until the child turned 18. It changed this stipend annual by a COLA adjusted by the rate of inflation. Other welfare programs that involved children were adjusted, since now women were receiving direct payments for childcare. It also made a push at the state level to change laws dealing with child support by men by eliminating the need for men to support women. This worked in some states, but not others. There were legal challenges by single fathers, and childless adults. These cases never reached the Supreme Court because of the passing of UBI in the U.S. (see Federal Reserve Authorization of Universal Basic Income Direct Payment Act).
Act- Workers Attainment Wage Equality Act
This act made it illegal to discriminate in wages paid to employees based on education attainment. This act saw many lawsuits generated after its passing from employees who thought their companies were discriminating. The problem was many cases heard ended up being ruled in favor of the company on the grounds of the work content was more than the educational requirements for the work. With the passing of the act, companies began using rigorous testing for job slots as a result versus relying on college degrees. This spawned a host of HR based testing companies using the latest AI systems. This didn’t totally diminish college education in the U.S. but reformed it. College was turned into preparing people for work by fine tuning their degrees with these HR based testing companies. Thus ensuring greater success for the college graduate to get hired.
Act- Federal Reserve Authorization of Universal Basic Income Direct Payment Act
This act allowed the Federal Reserve to provide direct cash payments of a calculated universal basic income, annually adjusted for inflation to every adult person in the US. This act replaced the Women’s Child Stipend Act, as well as all federal poverty assistance programs. It also replaced Social Security, disability, and unemployment payment programs. This one act was one of the most sweeping changes to social welfare the U.S. had seen in decades. Economists of the time hailed it as the most effective means to manage inflation and the economy. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the act in a later challenge.
CA- Continuing Budget Authorization Amendment
Congress created this amendment to prevent the federal government from shutting down. If Congress should not be able to make any adjustments to an appropriation bill to fund the federal government, then the last signed bill into law continues to be in effect until Congress changes the funding and a new bill is signed into law.
CA- Minority Race Economic Adjustment Amendment
By far this amendment was the biggest social experiment the U.S. had undertaken since prohibition. The debate over affirmative action in the U.S. has been a long and contentious social issue. It’s said that it all began during theReconstruction Period to give freed slaves “forty acres and a mule.” There have been various court challenges over the years that both supported and undermined it.
This amendment resulted from repeated years of outrage and demonstrations over perceived and historical inequalities from the African American community. The amendment set up the general principle that each race respectively of itself should economically have the same percentage spread of incomes, and that the majority race is the model for minority races regarding that spread.
The amendment provided the framework for a long lasting and fundamental shift in how the U.S. economy operated with respects to race. It codified at the highest level of law the concept of affirmative action for minority races and gave Congress and the President various powers to execute such actions. This amendment didn’t apply to ethnicity, which left out millions of Hispanic peoples. It included mixed raced people counting them toward the minority race. Thus, many Hispanics were reclassified as either Native American, African American or White depending upon heritage.
Amended was the composition of the House of Representatives. Representation was increased for each district with higher minority presence. Districts were drawn using these new formulas through A.I. guided technology. Attempts to change the Senate composition failed, but in states with higher minority presence votes for senators were weighted, so minority votes counted twice as much. This increased the efforts to disenfranchise people based on minority composition. Arguing that the individual wasn’t truly a minority. Meanwhile, the reverse was true in some states.
Aggressive policies were enacted concerning minimum wages based on race and kinds of employment, racial composition of board representation on publicly traded corporations, requirements for the top 500 publicly traded corporations to have a specified number of minorities in top management positions including CEO, racial employment composition for publicly traded corporations, mandates for priority acceptance of minorities over others for educational resources, required federal priorities to assist minority communities with block grants and other aide over other communities, and prohibitions on laying off minorities during economic downturns.
This elevated millions of African Americans out of poverty. It also caused politically in increase in hate speech rhetoric against minorities. This despite efforts to eliminate hatred and racist attitudes from society. The Supreme Court continued to support racist ideologies as free speech, albeit limiting in how it is to be expressed.
Out of this amendment came a narrowly defined fact that African Americans were those who could trace their roots back to the original slavery period, versus those immigrants from Africa after that point. African immigrants were considered an ethnicity and thus excluded.
Only 38 states ratified this amendment. The 12 states that didn’t ratify were Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas.
Groups attempted to legally challenge the validity of the amendment, but the courts dismissed all.
The Amendment by Rosella’s Time
A big conspiracy theory that continues to circulate on the Social Media Net during Rosella's time is that 35.2 million people have taken advantage of this amendment. When Rosella was born there was the Great Vital Records Hack, wiping out 35.2 million vital state records and online ancestry data. Many speculate that it was done to allow people to get social advantages they never had originally. This has never been proven true.
By Rosella’s time, various provisions of the act were no longer being enforced as in previous years, such as the employment aspects. This was because of a three fold reality. First, those minority races over time had sufficiently benefited from the act. They were now in positions to set policy and dictate hiring on a large scale. Second, people’s attitudes had changed concerning racial issues. Many minorities were now economically similar to the majority race. Even the minorities themselves and academics didn’t see racial disparities as a significant problem anymore. With this came the waning that historic correction of moral wrongs had to be socially corrected. This would only be temporarily revived with the United Nations' Vilmee Genocide Reparation Trial. Third, the use of cloning and advance CRISPR technologies muddled the definition of race. Whites and Asians were now including in their children higher percentages of melanin variants typically sourced from African American genomes. Not to mention those people who purposely made hybrid cloned children using genomes to provide their children with the greatest social advantages.
Act- Labor Union law updates
See the discussion here about how Labor Union laws in the U.S. were changed. All these changes were to deal with the ever-increasing changes that computer technology brought against human labor.
Act- Tyler-Hinton Slave Reparations Act and Dustu-McBride Native American Reparation Act
The United Nations' Vilmee Genocide Reparation Trial brought with them the adoption of two reparations acts. Read more about them here.
CA- Federal Emergency Election Amendment
During the Great Melt and the New Madrid Volcanic Traps ecological disasters, the nation was in full panic. Of deep concern was maintaining a stable and constant government during this time of chaos. For this reason, Congress passed an amendment that placed U.S. federal elections on a temporary hold, and it extended all elected terms by four years during the environmental crisis.
Act- Image Discrimination Act
See the discussionhere about the Image Discrimination Act.
Act- Omnibus changes 501(c)3 changes.
See the discussion here about the changes to the non-profit tax code known as 501(c)3.
Act- The New Public Workers and Assistance Act
This act was part of an omnibus spending package to help rebuild the nation after the immediate effects of the Great Melt. It created many work opportunities for individuals. But it also created many pitfalls for a few states. The act was a significant omnibus piece of federal legislation designed in part to help many of the orphans and others displaced by all the natural disasters facing the nation, and it carried with it many new work guarantees and entitlements. It granted work guarantees even if the worker committed sexual harassment at the workplace, because the person had a genetic or psychological issue causing the problem. Criminal or civil charges couldn’t be levied against such individuals because the act saw it as retaliatory. It also enforced a host of new excise taxes upon the states, with the inability for the states to bypass them by passing them on to their citizens. The federal government was taxing the states directly.
Legal challenges associated with the act got hung up in the courts resulting in a mixed bag of lower court decisions, and a Supreme Court unwilling to resolve the issues.
Act- Federal Lands Protection Act
Congress designed this act to deal with a specific Supreme Court decision. The court allowed states to legalize the sale and use of any federal class of drugs to the residents of their states, but not the transportation between states or on federal lands. The act created the U.S. Ranger Marshals as a domestic paramilitary organization under the Department of the Interior. With the authority to monitor, defend, and secure the federal lands from this recent problem. In doing so, the act reorganized various other agencies and departments, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, to only deal with international and state to state transportation drug concerns. The act further changed the Insurrection Act of 1807 permitting the U.S. President to use the Ranger Marshals to quell domestic threats, terrorist acts, riots, unlawful protests, and other similar acts noted in the Insurrection Act of 1807 without Congressional, state legislature or governor’s approval. The Ranger Marshals could supplement the National Guard forces, or take direct action as required. Some politicians saw this as the long-term solution to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
Thus the U.S. Ranger Marshals became the domestic army, while the traditional armed forces were the nation’s global and space forces.
The Battle of Warrenton was one of the most grievous uses of this act, resulting in the single largest amount of American deaths on U.S. soil since the Civil War.
The only other time the U.S. Ranger Marshals were called out en masse was to deal with the Rebellion of Utah.
CA- The Naturalization Amendment
This amendment codifies the naturalization process to which immigrants become U.S. citizens. Becoming a citizen was linked to the willingness to pay taxes. It also extended citizenship rights to the unborn. You can find the full text in the short story, An Excerpt from the Memoir of Alan Pozo, inJoseph Street Digest #3.
States ratified the amendment during President Simmons’ administration. She discovered a loophole by holding immigrants in camps and not allowing them to work. Immigrants could not pay taxes because of a lack of earned income and thus not become citizens. Immigrants did not qualify for the U.S. universal basic income payments (UBI). UBI income was considered to be taxable earned income. Many nations would cut off their U B I payments to those citizens that left their borders. Thus leaving many people during this time with the choice of migrating in the hopes of something better, or staying for a constant source of income.
Image- Rotunda of the Capitol, By Joshua Sukoff, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Spark)
Image- U.S. Soldiers. (Processed using Adobe Spark)
Seth Underwood writes hard science fiction and political dystopian science fiction. His future political dystopian U.S. world features decades of despot presidents, a flooded world, and new para-military force known as the Ranger Marshals. He has freemium stories at www. sethunderwoodstories.com