For several months now Slate has been publishing a column called ‘if it happened there.’ It writes about events within the US in the way the American media reports on other countries.
Under his control, the city has grown wealthier, safer, and healthier (though with a level of income inequality rivaling that of Honduras), and he has left his mark with a number of popular public works projects. Intriguingly, this native of the hated rival city of Boston—who makes regular but mysterious visits to his walled-off estate on a tropical island off the country’s shores—has managed to cast himself as a consummate New Yorker, respected by wide segments of the city’s population.
However, the billionaire politician has also courted controversy by ramming through new election laws to keep himself in power and turning the city’s security services into a vast intelligence apparatus empowered to search citizens without warrant. He has also provoked amusement with highly publicized campaigns aimed to improve the eating habits of New Yorkers. These heavy-handed efforts were often resisted by large swathes of this ethnically diverse city known for its greasy street-corner sausages and carb-heavy bread-based delicacies.
Robertson’s low-brow public image might make him seem an unlikely leader, but after all, this is a country where a professional wrestler can become the governor of a populous Northern state, and an actor who once co-starred with a chimpanzee could become president. The events of the past month could be an indication to the nation’s elites that this backwoods insurgent with a massive popular following and extensive access to firearms may now have become too powerful to stop.
The current rebellion has been led by Sen. Ted Cruz, a young fundamentalist lawmaker from the restive Texas region, known in the past as a hotbed of separatist activity. Activity in the legislature ground to a halt last week for a full day as Cruz insisted on performing a time-honored American demonstration of stamina and self-denial, which involved speaking for 21 hours, quoting liberally from science fiction films and children’s books. The gesture drew wide media attention, though its political purpose was unclear to outsiders.
The Scottish have long had a strong presence in this island nation. Local legends describe a Scottish chieftain called James seizing the English throne, which doubtless explains the antipathy between the two groups today. The last two premiers of the UK, Brown Gordon and Anthony Tony Lynton Blair, were both of Scottish background, and depended on support from Scottish voters to retain their grip on power. However, current Premier Dave Mister Cameron is considered English, despite his ethnically Scottish name.
Now, a growing separatist movement, led by the charismatic demagogue Salmon Alexander seeks to change the status quo. Tensions have bubbled up, and though no violence has yet been observed, concerns are growing. Given that the army is divided on tribal lines, with ethnically Scottish and English regiments, the possibility of civil war cannot be ruled out.