March 1995 - Los Angeles
Eazy-E had gone from a dopeman to a worldwide hero worth $50 million in a decade. He proved Dre who was still on top in 1993, and discovered Bone Thugs-N-Harmony along with The Black Eyed Peas. Of course, the rest of the game was just as ruthless as he was. That’s why Eazy was horribly sick in the hospital; he had apparently made one to many enemies this time. He wanted revenge, and the one who could pull that off was the man who never failed him, Jerry Heller.
“It’s fucked up, Jerry! It’s fucked up! I’m the biggest motherfuckin’ gangsta around, and I’m hiding from the world cause I got AIDS.”
Eric Wright was pale, had medical equipment strapped to him; but true to form, still had his Compton hat on.
“Eric, you’re a strong fella. If anyone’s getting through AIDS, it’s you.”
“The doctors keep telling me all of this garbage!”
“Fuck what the doctors say!”
“Alright, do you really wanna know why I got HIV, Jerry?”
“It ain’t cause I’m a player, it’s cause of Suge Knight.”
“Bastard’s been trying to get us dead for years.”
Suge went from becoming a random body guard for N.W.A. to becoming head of Death Row, and building up the careers of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and most recently, Tupac Shakur. Eazy was still somewhat pissed that Pac and Dre were the ones claiming California when he was the personification of the West coast.
“He laced those acupuncture needles with HIV! That nigga is a murderer! Someone else is gonna be next!”
“Eric, you can’t suggest that we-”
“Fuck yeah I’m suggesting that. Listen, I don’t got that much time left! Dre, Cube - they got no appreciation for how you lifted us outta the ghetto. You take out Suge Knight, you’re the hero of the rap game. We keep Ruthless on top. You got people at the JDL, right?”
“Suge’s got nothing against some of those Israeli dudes! They’ll rip an Arab to shreds; get five of them against Suge, he’s got no chance. He’s responsible for me being the way I am. If you do one thing for me before I die, it’s going to be this.”
“You remember a while ago, when you said we should have taken out Suge? You were right. I should have let you go through with it.”
September 2001 - Mount Weather
“I, James Strom Thurmond, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Chief Justice Rehnquist appeared youthful in contrast to a centenarian that resembled a rotten grapefruit. A staffer wheeled the president up to his podium, and gave him a binder containing his inaugural address.
“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. Several great public servants, including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Speaker Dennis Hastert, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and several members of their staff were killed in today’s terrorist incident. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. America will never forget this attack on Anglo-Saxon values as we unite together to fight against terrorism until our last breath. As Commander in Chief, I will show no hesitancy in putting an end to those who were responsible for today’s cowardly attacks in New York and Washington. Anyone who is opposed to our American values of freedom will pay the price.”
A few of the leftier reporters made glances at some of the president’s rhetoric; it seemed a little worrying that the white supremacist would be controlling the US military. Halfway through the speech, Thurmond’s energy he had during the 1956 filibuster seemed to rush back at him. His mumbles grew increasingly faster, as if he felt someone was coming after him. Thurmond’s longtime staffers looked at each other, trying to figure out a way to cut the speech short; but the president had other ideas on his mind. Thurmond became even more panicked, with his sudden rush of energy culminating in him slumping over the podium. Cameras quickly cut, and for a few hours, the public were, for the second time that day, unclear on who exactly was running their country.
The president lived, but it painfully reminded everyone in Washington, about death’s inevitable arrival. Thus began a period of American history where everyone surrounded an aging, senile leader to sign off on increasingly reactionary policies.
This timeline is going to be a leftist wank, undoubtedly. For me, alternate history is always about bending strange truths as much as possible to form a completely different world. Sometimes, I’ve blended the truths too far. When you grab attention for crossing the line, you’re sure as hell to jump over it in time.
Socialists have always been met with pressures from liberals about compromise, and being told that our goals aren’t possible. Many Democrats are staying up all night thinking Joe Biden won’t deliver changes that have popular support. These constraints never seem to be put on Republicans, who keep moving down a road to authoritarianism. Looking back, we see Clinton and Obama as disappointments who could have done so much more, even with the constraints they were given.
For socialism to work, it seems that there needs to be a dramatic failure on the part of the political establishment, a strong leader who the people can rally behind, and down ballot coattails. Us Against The World wasn’t originally one timeline - it was three different ideas that morphed into one. For a while, I had thought about how bad a post-9/11 America could get, and how would the President Thurmond 2001 scenario actually play out. For an even longer period, I looked at how the Democrats could have avoided the filibuster gridlock if they won a few close races in 2006 and 2008. Taking this to the extreme accomplished the near collapse of the GOP downballot.
All I needed was a figurehead for the movement. I had already tried to catapult Jello Biafra into the mainstream with Alan Keyes’ End of History, Jesse Jackson in 1992 wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, and it was almost impossible for Mike Gravel to beat Clinton and Obama in 2008.
These ideas had been buried into the back of my mind until I stumbled across a 1992 MTV interview with Tupac Shakur. I had never seen such a strong condemnation of wealth and a capitalist society. This was the final piece of the puzzle. One of the most mocked tropes in alternate history is placing a dead celebrity into office - but Tupac was different. At the age of 25, he had become an icon. The fighting spirit and the Panther mentality of Tupac was exactly what this socialist America needed. Like Trump, he would use his fame, but unlike Trump, he’d use his fame to lift others up.
Before we get started, I’d like to thank @Gonzo, @Gentleman Biaggi, @Mumby for letting me bounce some of my ideas off them. I’d also like to give my appreciation to all the members of the Squat and everyone else who has liked my lists. With that, let us begin.