Rosella Tolfree Installment Stories
A series set in the politically dystopian future of the U.S.A.
Featuring blogs that explains Rosella's World
Rosella Tolfree's World is a fictional world.
No More Live Debates, No Regrets
Recently the U.S. had its first Presidential Debate for 2020. Some are saying it was horrible. I didn’t catch much of it. What I saw, I didn’t like personally because it wasn’t your typical policy style debate. It was more of smackdown match. All what was missing was the caged Thunderdome. Which if you’re into that, I suppose that’s fine? But that’s technically not debate. It’s a street brawl.
By the Second Age of Humanity, and the creation of the Social Media Net, an organized candidate debate had disappeared from the American political culture.
This is primarily because the Social Media Net has millions of channels and show options. Think about YouTube and Twitter having a baby that’s fed steroids. This is the Social Media Net. It crowded out traditional news networks that would carry such events. The same happened to sports and movies. With so much diversity available for people to consume, this thinned out the eyeballs per channel and show. Competition went through the roof.
In the prior age, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) was put in charge of licensing the operators in the U.S. of such broadcast mediums as Twitch. This was because of an increased need to regulate issues around copyright abuses. This licensing continued with the development of the Social Media Net and helped to speed up its development. Because of the licensing technique used by the FCC was like Amateur Radio Service (ham) licensing versus normal broadcasting, access to individuals and small businesses was far easier. Allowing for a flood of new operators and business models. The FCC also blocked many mergers to encourage competition. This prevented larger mainstream media from buying up smaller operators. The FCC rules also regulated the maximum number of channels any single network could own. All these factors made for a robust plethora of content. But discouraged centralized broadcasted events, like a Presidential debate.
Without having such events, the grip of the two-party system slipped. Increasingly, the smaller parties were using the Social Media Net’s niche channels to gather party strength in regions. These echo chambers reinforced these smaller parties’ messages.
Organizations did many legal attempts to shut down both hate group channels and “radical leftist” channels. All these attempts failed because of support of free speech for the channel by the courts. And with the growing shattering of the two-party system, the ability to culturally control the narrative in America faded.
What it leaves us with by Rosella’s time is an America filled with diametrically opposed sides, and everything in between. And no one group completely controlling the conversation. It’s one social free-for-all, with violence as the ultimate solution for many. And a government trying its best to control the situation in a flooded world. All the while, corporations are reaching for space.
Image- AR District UPCI District Rally, By Geron Dison, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed with Adobe Spark)
We Can Have More than Two Parties
Democrats and Republicans are Actually the Same
After watching the YouTube by Second Thought, I thought it might help American readers to know how we actually can have a multiple party system at the federal level. Especially when you consider the premise being put forth by Second Thought that both the Democrats and Republicans are essentially the same party in policy, despite the ideological tribalism. Any minor differences are mere showmanship for vote pandering for the base.
Getting More Than One Party
It all has to do with a math equation that determines the number of political parties in a government. Originally used to determine the number of controlling parties for West Europe, it’s just as effective in our U.S. system when you factor in all seats, including the Office of the President.
We sometimes forget that the government we have today is federal government 2.0. Before we had the Continental Congress and with it eight Presidents. The people didn’t elect these presidents, but the representatives of Congress did.
The current U.S. President under Section 3 of Article 2 of the US Constitution gives the office certain rights concerning Congress, which no doubt were like how the previous Continental Congress president presided over things. Further, which every party occupies this office is automatically considered the head of that party, and the U.S. President has veto power for legislation passed. Therefore, you must include this position in the calculations.
The math is straightforward, and all you need to do is just adjust the percentages of seats per party.
Forget the White House
For Rosella’s dystopian America most of the new control lies in the House, which has greatest number of seats available and thus greater opportunity for new parties to creep into the system. This is the basic strategy that is used in her world. Certain political parties concentrate their efforts in a specific region of the nation not to win the White House, but to grab House seats and any Senate seats they can pick up. All the while on the state and local level they are also stacking the deck in those elections.
This is a basic divide-and-conquer technique through the concentration of resources on a smaller area. By splitting up the nation between the other smaller parties, they can use the size of the nation itself to break the control the Democrats and Republicans have had all these years.
They turn areas of the country once in favor of one of the two major parties against them.
Attempts to gerrymander districts fail because these smaller parties convert as many voters as possible to their party affiliation across multiple districts, including gerrymandered ones.
By abandoning the goal of the White House, Rosella’s dystopian America ends up having in Congress many more party voices and far less brinkmanship occurring over legislation. Despite the many opinions of how things should run, you end up with greater consensus and a willingness to work with each other to secure each other’s goals. This is because no one party has enough power by themselves to stall legislation or get their way. It forces them to work together or perish as voters leave them.
Now wouldn’t that be a pleasant change for once?
Read Here about the Political Illuminati of Rosella's Dystopian America
Image- untitled image, By Parker Johnson, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed with Adobe Spark)
Voting in the US
In the news there’s talk of POTUS 45 may not peacefully leave office should he not win. Citing such issues as the possibility of election fraud occurring because of mail in ballot delays.
While it’s been suggested by some news pundits that the US should get over this single day approach to elections. And move towards a monthly voting theory (this would be like India, which takes an entire month to process a national election). The reality is Americans are no doubt too impatient to wait a whole month for results. We’ve become accustomed to the instant for everything.
Regardless of the outcome this November 2020, you will see both sides argue across this nation about election irregularities. Everything from polls not being open long enough to accommodate long lines, to counting delays of mail in ballots, improper ballot counting procedures, and to election judge issues. You name it there will be a case filed, especially for districts where numbers are close.
The reason has to do with how in many states the electoral college votes are a winner takes all situations. Thus, there’s an incentive in close counts to make cases about fraud and deceit. Despite in a close count situation, there’s typically an automatic recount by law. There could be a serious delay in election results if there’s a lot of mailed in ballots to recount. No doubt there’s going to be the surprise box of ballots that someone forgot to process. Throwing more gasoline on the election fraud pyre.
In Rosella’s world, I deal with voting in a short story I wrote back in 2017 called, “How Covfefe Will Save the U.S. From Robot Domination”.
This is the passage from the story describing how the character Steve votes using a voting kiosk.
“He went to the voting kiosk, pulled out his ID, put it into the card slot, placed his thumb on the scanner plate and then the machine cleared him for voting. He voted his ballot for his district. At the end he verified his selections, and then with his finger signed his approved ballot as he casted his votes.”
I know some may not like the use of such technologies because it requires a physical id and biometrics for identification, but in person voting there’s someone who checks you in. The reason the voting polls are supposed to be local to your home is so the people working the polling site know you. Thus, no need for identification. The poll worker can vouch for the identity of the voter once they confirm the records as being true. But in today’s age, no one knows their neighbor anymore. We are no longer so closely knit as communities. Hence the push for voter id systems for fraud safeguards. The problem becomes that state ids should be free and easily obtained for all eligible voters. This may not be the case in many jurisdictions in the U.S.
I understand the concern of mail in ballots. While convenient, what if the voter records are not that up to date and a person gets a ballot for a roommate who's no longer there? If they send it in, it could be construed as voting fraud. But what if they see their friend over the weekend and the friend fills it out and then gives it back to be dropped off at a collection box? Is that still fraud? The friend doesn’t even live in that place anymore but is voting in its election district.
States are supposed to keep things up to date, but they mark people as “inactive” until after not voting in two federal elections according to law. Then the voter can be purged from the rolls. Election officials have different powers depending upon the jurisdiction to auto update address information. So, it’s inconsistent across the nation.
Therefore, a true national voter registration system is needed in the United States, despite current online attempts. States don’t have to comply. My understanding is they share some voting records between some states, but again not all.
The lack of solid universal federal standards and compliance makes any voting in the U.S. a hodgepodge of inconsistency and fraught with possible party manipulation for voter suppression.
I don’t truly address this issue in Rosella’s future. Her world, is beset with complex issues of flooding and volcanic traps, wiping out whole portions of states. How to get people to vote becomes a local concern as much as it is today. So long as the tallies are told to the federal level for those elections, that’s fine with everyone.
If you read the story, you’ll discover that despite the use of an electronic polling system, there are odd things that can happen in an election where results can be skewed calling into question the whole voting process.
So, even in the future, despite attempts to improve voting, there will always be issues.
Image- untitled image, By Jan Antonin Kolar, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed with Adobe Spark)
Our Future in Space Depends Upon the Graviton
The best description of the gravity technology of the Second Age of Humanity comes from the story I wrote entitled, “Venera Khabitat Odin”.
This story is about humanity’s attempt to land a human crew onto the surface of Venus. There’s a catastrophic failure which causes humanity never to go back until the Third Age. But the story describes the technology that pushed humans into the solar system.
It starts with the physical discovery of the graviton. Once fusion power became a feasible source of electricity, we quickly found the graviton. Once this happened, we learned how to manipulate the graviton and thus gravity itself.
Our first gravity-based propulsion system was known as a push pull gravity drive. Two bubbles of gravity were projected in front and behind the craft. Thus, the ship was both pushed and pulled at the same time through the forces of gravity in a forward direction.
By the time of the story, we had developed a new drive system. We knew it as a gravity fold drive. With this drive space-time is folded behind the craft until it reaches a point where it snaps back with an explosion of a gravity wave, allowing the ship to be pushed ever faster than before.
During this time, we learned how to project bubbles of gravity to impact pressure and other effects. We applied this to Mars through a series of orbital satellites to both deflect the solar winds and keep the atmosphere created on the planet.
Mars became the raw material source for this technology. Scientists discovered silicon to be critical to the control of the graviton, and Mars’ surface was an immense supply. Once we could colonize Mars with heavy mining equipment, the industrial mining and exploitation of Mars began. This led to the expansion of drive construction, allowing greater colonization after the Isolation Period to the outer planets.
The discovery of the graviton and its control changed how humanity dealt with space. No more were we stuck using chemical propulsion systems and acceleration forces to make gravity. Now we had true artificial gravity. We had faster spaceships. Travel times between planets were cut. Everything was becoming plausible for space travel in the Second Age.
The U.S. Stands At A Crossroads
With the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the U.S. is at another intersection of uncertainty as much as it was when Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016. We will have to wait and see how history will unfold, but typically during these times last minute power grabs are not unheard of, and to be expected in our divided political world.
Two Controversial Nominations by Simmons
President Veronica Simmons faced a similar challenge right before her re-election after assuming the presidency from Rick Garrett. Known for her dramatic need to bolster her standing on the social media net, President Simmons took up the controversial cause known as “prisoner’s freedoms” as part of her campaign for President. This movement was an outgrowth of much earlier movements dealing with the incarceration of racial groups. It had morphed into an ideology that those criminals serving in jail were automatically entitled to freedoms and social benefits because of their criminal record.
In aligning herself with this ideology, she would nominate to the Supreme Court, Terrence McMahon, a former attorney from Los Angeles, who had murdered his entire family by stabbing them to death multiple times. At the time of the murders, he was high on drugs. He received as a punishment multiple life sentences.
While in prison McMahon wrote legal opinion articles using a pen name. He wrote on constitutional law concerning life imprisonment and various other commentaries dealing with gun rights, murder, and qualifying evidence in a trial.
President Simmons would pardon him and then put him forward as the nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy. The Senate Committee would not approve him. But the full Senate held a special vote, and approved McMahon to the bench by one vote. Senator Hobbs was the deciding vote, citing she felt his legal opinions outweighed any previous criminal wrongdoing since the President had pardoned him.
During the McMahon nomination, as favor to a longtime fan and fellow influencer, President Simmons appointed Hans Derbin, a male supermodel, to be the U.S. Ambassador to the World. The United Nations was no more, and the U.S. government created this position as a substitute. The position was meaningless though but allowed Hans to jet around the world at taxpayers’ expense. He would show off his latest fashions for women on the social media net at exotic locations. Eventually a House committee investigation would be called, but it went nowhere once President Simmons got involved. She would end up scandalizing and shaming the committee members publicly on the social media net with the political dirt she had accumulated.
Image- untitled image. By Claire Anderson, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (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