Alternate History

An Independent in 2000

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The Point of Divergence of the An Independent in 2000 Timeline is discovery of a lost little boy in Mt. Rainier National Park by Seattle couple Lisa and Forest Edwards on November 14th, 1963. Upon seeing these strangers the boy, no more than a year old and covered with dirt looking half starved, crawled toward them in an obvious effort to plead for food. Lisa Edwards immediately picked up the toddler, who was too skinny to put up any sort of fight, and turned to her husband knowing only one conclusion. They took the boy to the ranger station and asked if anyone had reported a lost child. There were no reports. Devout Christians and more than aware at how cruel the world would be to someone who would be seen as an outsider, for them being black, for the boy being without parents, elected to take him with them back to Seattle.

A month passed and the Edwardses quickly grew to love the child. Having nursed him back to health and cleaned him up, they found that he was quite energetic and curious about anything he seemed to come in contact with. On January 15th, 1964 they decided to adopt the boy, and named him Charles Malcolm Edwards.

Being Washington residents, a fairly liberal state in the 1960s, it wasn't extremely difficult to secure adoption papers for their child, though both Lisa and Forest knew how difficult it would be raising a white child as black parents, though the joy they gained from little Charlie eclipsed every fear and doubt. It wasn't long before the Edwardses noticed their son's aptitude for nearly anything he attempted. He learned to walk only two weeks after coming to Seattle, and was talking by February. By age two, he was reading at a fourth grade level, and could write full paragraphs. The couple knew they would never be able to encourage their son's gift of comprehension on their own, and so sought the help of their Church to create a savings bond for Charlie so that one day he might be able to rise above his meagre stature. The Edwardses were very much indeed poor, but knew they could not let their son's gift go to waste, and promised themselves that they would do everything in their power to give their son the opportunities that they never had.

At age 4 Charlie entered School, and by the end of the day his teacher suggested that he be moved up to the fifth grade. At age 6 young Charles wrote his first real essay, on the plight of interracial families in America. The paper was so well loved by his teacher and the school that they helped him submit it for publication, where it was picked up by the Seattle Times. By age 9 Edwards had been promoted to high school as a freshmen, where he won the National Science fair for his tilt rotor helicopter concept. The victory caught the attention of UC Berkley which offered him a full ride once he left high school. At age 13 Charlie graduated High School Valedictorian and was accepted into UC Berkley where he entered into the school's Propulsion Engineering department.

By his senior year Edwards had constructed a working scramjet engine prototype, and was well on his way to becoming the next great engineer. That was when disaster struck. Edwards' mother died in December of that year. After returning home and postponing his finals, young Charles soon learned the sinister nature of how his mother died. She had been diagnosed with early stage ovarian cancer in 1973. While treatable even by 1970's standards, she was denied her claim to her insurer on the theory that her disease was related to a previous illness. Lisa hid the truth from her family and for six years fought with her insurer to grant her the treatment she needed to survive, and for six years she was denied. With this knowledge Charles returned to Berkley to change his major to political science, with a new goal in mind: ensuring that the kind of injustice that befell his mother would never happen to anyone again.

Now, no such child was adopted in OTL, Forest and Lisa Edwards are complete composites of just an average African American couple during the early 60s. Charles is just a gifted child, they exist, there is nothing particularly out of place with this situation, but rather the chain of events that follow that make this timeline special.

After graduating from Berkley with a Ph.D. in Political Science and Propulsion Engineering, Edwards spends a year abroad and upon returning is hired to teach at Seattle University in his home state, where he meets Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos while giving a talk on civilian applications for scramjets. In 1988 with funds from Gates and Bezos, Edwards founds Seattle Dynamics, a propulsion firm that specializes in scramjets. He quickly signs a contract with the US military to develop the AGM-129 Stealth Cruise Missile. In 1989 he announces his company's IPO making him billions. Following his research into hypersonics, Edwards continues to work toward more advanced jet engines and signs a series of military contracts and research grants over the next few years. He is given a column at Newsweek's Politics section where he writes alongside George Will in his spare time.

In 1992 Edwards reveals the world's first Pulse Detonation Jet Engine, a propulsion system that makes it possible for any aircraft to fly subsonically to supersonic to hypersonic on one engine while using very little fuel. The first aircraft to test this revolutionary device is the X-30 NASP. This is the act that launches Edwards into the public light, and makes him a household name. The PDE speeds the development of almost every major aircraft, from the Boeing 777 to the Air Force F-22 now the world's first hypersonic fighter jet. The V-22 Osprey receives the necessary funding in 1993 and is completed by 1999 with the PDE acting as the main power plant. Seattle Dynamics grows into a major corporation, acting as a catalyst for economic growth in Seattle, and forcing Boeing to stay in its home city instead of moving to Chicago. It is this boom in Seattle's economy that made Edward's election as the city's mayor in 1994 so easy, and it is what allowed him to foster a Dubai-esq boom in the city. Those are the moments that elevated Edwards to the national stage, and that made him a viable candidate for president in 2000.

YourNews NewsBar- the latest World Headlines

YourNews Archives (An Independent in 2000)

+++January 16th, 6:38pm ET: With just days away from the inauguration President-elect Obama has just announced the American Economic Growth and Reinvestment Plan. The Plan is to begin redistributing the surplus funds from the asteroids to citizens and companies to encourage economic growth across the nation as a whole. The plan expands on the State Reorganization Act, in that it provides funds to the new states to bring them up to first world socioeconomic status.

+++January, 28th, 9:34am ET: We have just confirmed that the House has passed the American Economic Growth and Reinvestment Plan.'

+++February, 25th, 3:29pm PT: Secretary of State Biden is meeting with European president Blaire today to discuss a UN invasion of Zimbabwe to remove Mugabe from power. Currently internal unrest in Zimbabwe is higher than ever before, with riots and multiple attempts on the life of President Mugabe. The European Union has been one of the greatest critics of the Mugabe regime, and Prime Minister Sarkozy has stated that if the US commits to sending in troops, the UN will follow. President Obama responded today when asked about a possible invasion, "while it is the policy of this nation to never go to war unless provoked, should the UN invade to remove President Mugabe from power the US will commit ourselves to seeing that Zimbabwe is left an economically stable, and politically free nation as was the policy in Afghanistan and Kurdistan."'

+++March 13th, 7:39pm PT: We've just received word that President Edwards has been sighted in Paris this weekend by local photographers. The president is apparently traveling incognito, and has apparently grown a full beard to disguise himself.

+++March 17th, 7:36pm ET: Pope Benedict XVI has stated while in Cameroon today that he feels that condoms will not solve AIDS in Africa, and that only abstaining from sex will stop the spread. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated today that, "While I do not wish to criticize his holiness, the US has no intention on changing its policy of supplying Africa with contraceptives any time soon.

+++March 28th, 3:24pm PT: Astronauts at Taurus Littrow are beginning construction of Cernan Base. This is the third permanent human colony to be constructed on the Moon.

+++July 8th, 9:21pm PT: President Obama is speaking in Ghana today on a plan for a massive infusion of American funds to develop the continent.

+++August 2nd, 10:08am ET: Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi, and Chairman of the African Union has announced plans to hold a forum on November 21st of this year to discuss the creation of a United States of Africa.

+++August 25, 3:46pm ET: Secretary of Health and Human Services Ted Kennedy has just been pronounced dead after his year long struggle with brain cancer.

+++October 2, 4:23pm PT: The Senate has just confirmed Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services, filling the late Secretary Kennedy's seat

Cultural Differences from OTL

  • Due to the continued international popularity of American culture:
    • English is much more widely spoken around the world.
    • Bollywood never gained world wide popularity as it did in OTL.
    • France never had to withdraw support from Iraq, thus causing less French jokes in America.
  • Thanks to the birth of a YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook-like entity in 2000, social networking and P2P got a much earlier start.
  • The Toyota Prius never became a status symbol due to the higher CAFE standards forcing the Big Three to make high milage vehicles.
  • The US obesity rate is much lower than OTL due to the High Fructose Corn Syrup Ban (this was lifted later in the 40th Amendment when corn was reduced in calories making corn syrup much healthier).
  • Thanks to the development of a Pulse Detonation Jet Engine in the early 90s:
    • Global travel is much more common as it now only takes three hours to fly from Tokyo to New York.
    • International Trade has grown significantly in the poorer regions of the world.
    • Space tourism is now a major industry.
    • There are three privately owned hotels in orbit around the Earth, and one being built on the Moon.
    • Burt Rutan built SpaceShipTwo as an SSTO, instead of an air launch system.
  • Due to William Oefelein's long duration in space due to the Eros mission, as well as his participation in the subsequent goodwill tours, Lisa Nowak does not get into an obsession with him and remains in the astronaut corps, preparing for the the first Mars mission, of which she will be the pilot.

Political Differences from OTL

  • The term "9/11," is used as an argument for expanding and preserving liberty along with security or military action.
  • Independent candidates are the largest political group in the United States, and are beginning to grow in Europe.
  • Liberal is no longer a political taboo. As such liberal candidates never began to call themselves progressives.
  • Rush Limbaugh is considered a very respected talk show host along with Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilley
  • Ann Coulter was never able to gain publication of another book beyond "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right."
  • "Liberal Fascism," never gained publication.
  • Following NeoConGate, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reily were never able publish any of their books.
  • Book Banning has been defined by the Supreme Court as illegal.
  • Kanye West doesn't ever have to say, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Sparing himself of awkward looks from fellow actors and the ridicule from the rest of the world.
  • The term Axis of Evil is never coined beyond David Frum's independent publications.
  • The US never opened the GITMO detainment facility.
  • President Edwards had to deal with both 9/11 Truthers, Birthers and ultra right wing conservatives who use the world "Socialist," or "Nazi" to describe any policies they don't like; though he was more aggressive toward these groups than Bush or Obama; going so far as to give a speech during his healthcare battle in 2002 about the power of words and the responsibility of the people.
  • Freedom is no longer just some arbitary rally cry for conservative fringe groups, it has truly become the symbol for all that the US stands for.
  • Under the Edwards administration, the term "Corporate Media," is used instead of liberal media.

Entertainment Differences from OTL

  • Bill Maher never produced, "Victory Begins a Home," as under President Edwards, sacrificing for the war on terror was actually happening.
  • Al Gore never made "An Inconvenient Truth."
  • Michael Moore never made "Fahrenheit 9/11" or "Sicko," but "Capitalism: A Love Story," was made, but it was more of a rallying cry for the Second Bill of Rights.
  • "V for Vendetta" still had as much of a cultural impact as in OTL, but it was considered less controversial in some respects.
  • Emo and Goth cultural trends never make it into the mainstream, causing bands like Green Day and Three Days Grace to continue Punk Rock.
  • The television show "The West Wing" is written as a satirical comedy, with Charlie Sheen playing the president instead of his father.
  • The success of the new space program triggers a boom in science fiction entertainment. The TV series "Firefly" goes on to four seasons and is made into a much larger blockbuster movie of the same name; The Odyssey series is made into a remake of 2001, and the remaining three books follow.
  • Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival becomes a smash hit after the North American Union Act, though the book is much less controversial due to the almost non-existent involvement of the US in Iraq. His followup, Failed States, does not do so well.
  • George Carlin maintains his sardonically-upbeat style during the Edwards Administration. He still dies in 2008, but a statue of his likeness is built outside of the FCC with the seven words on a plaque.
  • South Park lampoons President Edwards in almost as many episodes as Clinton. This is largely due to the fact that Edwards is much more liberal than Bush in OTL, as Matt Stone and Trey Parker are both "conservatives."
  • Family guy is never kicked off the air to the the much more liberal FCC rules. American Dad is never made.
  • The Watchmen keeps the squid in the ending of the movie.
  • Bill Maher still moves to HBO in 2003, but this time for speaking out against McCain's advocacy for war in Iraq. President Edwards would later use Maher and Moore in a speech on how it is the duty of the citizenry to question their government.

Racial Differences from OTL

  • Due to the incorporation of Latin America and Canada into the US.
    • The Minutemen disband, and some of their more zealous members join the KKK.
    • English, Spanish and French are taught and spoken all over America.
    • Racism is much less acceptable with half the population being Hispanic.
    • Catholicism becomes the largest denomination of Christianity in America.
    • Interracial marriages are much more common.
    • The KKK begin to attack hospitals and schools in the Mexican states, leading to them being deemed a terrorist organization. Their meetings are raided by police and they are charged for crimes against humanity.

Statistical Difference from OTL

  • The US ranks much higher in various poles relating to its status as a nation (causing Bill Maher to never give his New Rule on the subject.)
    • Overall Health: 1st
    • Infant Mortality: 2nd
    • Freedom of the Press: 1st
    • Literacy: 4th

New Stuff

New Maps, Updated Nations Pages and Organizations, with New Flags--YNot1989 18:46, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Start a Discussion Discussions about An Independent in 2000

  • Continuation

    • Having really enjoyed the alternate history. I would love to see it continued and even refined. I would love to take this over if that would be okay.

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