THEIR EMPIRE STYLE
A Brief Account of the Ares State
A Brief Account of the Ares State
** This is a timeline written from the perspective as if the events detailed had actually happened. In terms of style, it very roughly follows that of William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, though his expertise, writing, and style is something I can't hope to match. It's also my first timeline - so here goes nothing! Hopefully it's not too asb. **
The point of departure is September 26, 1983. In this timeline Petrov is sick and the officer that takes over for him reacts far, far differently from Petrov in our history. This officer proves to be much more anti-West in sentiment, and reports the "launch" of missiles towards the USSR to his superiors. This initiates what has come to be known as the "Great War" due to it's brevity yet profound effects. However, due to a variety of factors the number of launches from both sides remains fairly small, and many basic institutions in the US are able to be saved by a military regime from the 1983 to 1992 period. Little is known about this period of history, though it can be reasonably assumed it was a dark time for America in general, and the world in particular.
The military regime peacefully gives power away to a civilian democratic government in 1992. The Great War had destroyed the existing party structure, and the new parties competing in the national elections are the Green Party (not like in our history. Rather, this one is more of a socialist/anarchist style group), the Constitution Party (basically moderate Republicans) and a third party that rises up in the 2000s and wins the 2008 election against seemingly insurmountable odds. This party is the American Restoration Party (Ares Party), and here our story begins....
THE INITIAL STAGES
The sentiment on January 20 was one of both jubilance, and alarm. Even before he had entered the White House, Alexander Lither had already given much thought about his first few months as chief executive, and had addressed many of the Party heads a couple of weeks before over New Year's to lay out his general wishes. Getting the economy back on track was priority number one, and elsewhere fell the various ideological goals of the Ares in quick procession. There was only one problem: Lither had no real idea how to achieve much of it.
His first babysteps into governance came on February 2, 2009, when he proposed to top ranking Ares members in Congress legislation to create a "Federal Restoration Bureau" that would be tasked with a role much the same as FDR's programs during the 1930s. It was quickly picked up by majority leader Arnold Clay along with many others, but negotiations within the legislature slowly stalled. Although the Ares and even some Greens had been able to come together and agree to it, the Constitutionalists in Congress generally opposed the idea, stating that it would unfairly snub the power many states had found themselves enjoying in the post-Great War years. With this initial foray so seemingly blocked, the Ares members in Congress were forced to drop the idea to the wayside, greatly angering Lither.
What the novice "Leader" did not factor in were the opposition parties still in Congress. Back in late December, as Lither was planning to meet with his own affiliates, senior leaders in both the Green and Constitution Parties had met to discuss the availability of forming a sort of "coalition" government to block Ares initiatives in Congress. It was kept most secret between the two groups and, putting aside their ideological differences, found enemy enough within Lither and Ares to agree to such a move. For all of January they had kept quiet on the deal, despite senior Green Party leader Sanders being questioned about his party's supposed "obstruction" by Clay and categorically denying any such agreement had taken place.
Without a supermajority in Congress Lither would be unable to achieve major legislative victories through that end, but what he lacked in clout he more than made up for in vigor. On February 17 he again tried initiating his "FRB" but this time attacked the "Opposition" from multiple directions by using the Ares "philosopher" Rodham Foval to gather allies in the media and elsewhere to mudsling "Opposition" members in Congress to attempt to sway public opinion in Ares favor. As an ABC article had stated:
"There exist certain elements within the US Congress that are colluding to undermine the attempts at repairing the broken situation of America, and there can be no doubt that they are lead by that foreign obstructionist Sanders."
Foval added to this sentiment in a partly televised talk on February 18:
"They [referring to the "Opposition"] have tried once already, and succeeded in, preventing Lither's Restoration Bureau from becoming reality. By doing so, they have single-handedly affirmed their adherence to never rebuilding our nation, and as a result must be stopped. I and the president Alexander Lither expect not only upon all Party members, but all Americans of decency to demand an end to those wreckers in that abomination of a legislature."
A wide scale public opinion operation was soon undertaken by Foval, Clay, as well as other key Ares figures, including former Green Party Senator Gerald Montgomery of Maryland, to try and rally public support for the Ares and against the "Opposition", but it met with little success - not for failures on the part of the Ares, but because the public was massively against the "Opposition's" move from the start. An ABC poll from late February showed that a clear majority (73% +/- 2.3%) of people had a negative view of the "Opposition's" actions, and, perhaps more importantly to Sanders and his clique, support for Ares candidates had skyrocketed to almost 70% in numerous polls. With midterms and gubernatorial elections nearing, the gallant, but ultimately futile, "Opposition" caved in to Ares and public pressure and, on March 25, the newly renamed Federal Works Bureau was established. Although this move was sold as only a temporary measure by both Green and Constitution Party leaders, it was painfully obvious to most people that the weakness they had displayed was merely a sign of things to come. They had proven unable, or rather, unwilling, to really stand against the Ares, and this was a fact that none soon forgot.
For the initial several months hardly anything could have seemed out of the ordinary. Almost all of the Ares' programs in the 2009-2010 period were purely economic focused and much reminiscent of the earlier FDR "New Deal" programs. Even the passage of the Federal People's Welfare and Winter Relief programs, which created a generous "living pay" and doles to many of the country's poorest, had gone by with no more than a quibble from the Constitutionalists.
As the economy slowly recovered during the 2009-2010 course, Lither gradually expanded his scope. In June of 2010 he established the Bureau of Education, putting at it's head close confidant Michael Rutledge.
Given the strangely slow start to the Ares state, hardly anyone could have envisioned the path Lither had intended to take the nation, and the earth, down. Truly this initial year into Lither's reign would have been the best to squash the Ares tyranny, had it not been so rife of duplicit mildness.
Alexander Lither - If not too clear, he is the head of the Ares Party and current president of the United States of America after his election in 2008. His start isn't too well known, though records do show an A. Lither as having been a sergeant in the US Air Force from before the Great War.
Rodham Foval - An early member of the Ares Party, and right hand man to Lither. Not much is known about his early life, but his personality is one of textbook selfishness and even cowardice.
Sanders - I can't confirm or deny he's Bernie.
Bureau of Education - It is the Ares' bastardized child of the pre-War Department of Education, though with a far more sinister purpose behind it than the earlier. After all, someone has to cultivate all the young minds of America. On the surface it's function is to improve national literacy rates, which had fallen to shamefully low levels after 1983, though it also seeks to better coordinate the various struggling state and local educational services.
Federal Restoration Bureau - Sort of like FDR's Federal Works Progress Administration, though it's focus isn't so much bringing Americans back to work so much as restoring the American nation. That said, it still functions generally the same as the WPA.
Federal People's Welfare - A very popular initiative of the Ares, and a cornerstone of their populist rhetoric. Essentially it is a form of social security where applicants receive doles from the government in an Ares effort to re-vitalize entrepreneurship and economic activity while also combating rampant poverty.
Winter Relief - Not quite like the NSDAP's version. This is more of a government sponsored charity (similar to the Bonyad in Iran) for poor peoples in colder climates - which, obviously, encompasses more of the US in this timeline.
Ares Party - NOT AMERINAZIS, I'll be clear right now. They may appear similar, but the Ares' motivations and goals remain different from the National Socialists. We'll get to know more about them later on. For now I'll just stick with the basics.