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It is defined as a ‘Wiccan State’ in its Covenant, and is the only Wiccan theocracy in North America, and is, by far, the largest Wiccan theocracy on a global scale, larger than even some of the various Wiccan states that developed in Africa after the Heaven Wars.
The Matriarchy also lays claim to parts of Northern California directly south of its borders with the New California Republic, and has been in dispute with the NCR over these territories for years, although the dispute has, up to the present, remained at a low "disagreement" status, which is due in large part to mediation by San Francisco.
The Matriarchy currently borders the Nation of Deseret (Utah) to the southeast—with which is has been in near-constant conflict with since the Threefold Reformation and the resulting Heaven Wars—the People’s Cooperative and the American Federation to the northeast, the New California Republic and the Commonwealth of Greater San Francisco to the immediate south, and Canada and Alaska to the north and northwest respectively. The Matriarchy was first new theocracy to secede from its parent nation during the Threefold Reformation and the resulting Heaven Wars.
|The Threefold Reformation and the Heaven Wars brought much suffering, but now, with the blessings of the Horned God and the Lady. We have arrived.|
—Queen Athena I (Alexandra "Athena" Gardener), founder and first Queen of the Matriarchy
The Matriarchy was founded shortly after the Republic of New England seceded from the United States, shortly after the Threefold Reformation. Although primarily founded upon the principles of a Wiccan theocracy; the Matriarchy was also founded on the beliefs of democracy, federalism, socialism, social equality, racial equality, and basic human rights. It was these beliefs that the Matriarchy’s founders felt that the United States federal government had forgotten or disregarded at the beginning of the Cold War and the outbreak of the Vietnam War.
Initially composed out of the former areas of Washington State and Oregon, the region’s dense forests provided for excellent camouflage for Cascadian forces from attacking Federal forces during the Second American Civil War, by granting them the ability to use guerrilla tactics and allowing them to gain a significant foothold in the Pacific Northwest and quickly encourage Vancouver Island—part of the Canadian Provence of British Columbia—to join the new nation.
By the end of Second American Civil War and the resulting balkanization of the United States, portions of Northern Idaho, Western Montana, and Northwestern Wyoming, along with Vancouver Island were ceded to the Matriarchy, with the stipulation that control of Vancouver Island would be jointly shared by both the Matriarchy and Canada, with the city of Victoria remaining as the capital of British Columbia. As the Nevada War between the New California Republic and the Nation of Deseret broke out soon after, the Matriarchy served as a mediator between the two nations, assisted by San Francisco.
Today, the Matriarchy is seen as one of the most peaceful of all the North American nations, focusing on strengthening its economy through technological innovation and a thriving international trade and tourism industry, this partly due to the fact that both Boeing and Microsoft are headquartered in Seattle. The Matriarchy is also known for being one of the most socially progressive nations, having granted universal suffrage and equal rights to African-Americans and legalized same-sex marriages almost immediately upon gaining its independence, and later legalizing multiple marriages for people of both genders, women also serve in full combat roles in the Cascadian military. However the Matriarchy also boasts a small, but strong and highly effective military in the form of the Cascadian Defense Forces, meaning that any nation that has decided to attack the Matriarchy would be foolish in doing so.
Society and Culture
Cascadian society is largely open, equal, and free, with universal suffrage. Despite having a hereditary monarchy, Cascadian society is largely meritocratic, meaning that positions and privileges are awarded to those who stand out and denied or revoked to those who do not; this rule also applies to the Cascadian nobility and hereditary titles may be denied to a noble who performs in a shameful or ill-advised manner, and although the term ‘nobility’ is used, the nobility of the Matriarchy have very little privileges or advantages over the ‘commoners’, as Cascadian society strives to practice equality and democracy.
Sexual mores and practices within the Matriarchy are fluid and open. Homosexuality is commonplace and is generally seen as being perfectly acceptable and same-sex marriage is completely legal under Cascadian law, as is bisexuality, and polygamy, and is it not uncommon to see people married to multiple spouses of both genders, including the current monarch, Queen Artemis, who herself has two husbands and one wife. Prostitution is also fully legal and is regulated by the state, as in the Netherlands, and both Seattle and the nation’s capital, Summerland, have rather sizable red light districts.
All prostitutes in the Matriarchy must be issued a license by the state and comply with regular health checks, failure to do so will result in their license being revoked and a possible arrest. In exchange they must pay a percentage of their earnings in the form of a so-called ‘sex tax’ which goes back into the system to pay for the health checks and in lieu of a license fee.
Operating a brothel is also legal, and in opinions of some, a safer environment for ‘first-timers’, as it provides a larger safety net, since many of the staff look after each other. Recently (2011) legislation was passed in the Ministry making it mandatory that all newly licensed prostitutes are only able to work at a licensed brothel for one-two years after obtaining their licenses, after which time they may go into business for themselves if they wish, this law was passed to curb cases of violence against solo operators new to the business.
Polygamy is also legal, but is only allowed under Cascadian law with the stipulation that one person may only have four spouses at any one time (although the gender of the other spouses is not an issue), and must be able to support and provide for all of them and any children financially on an equal basis. The majority of Cascadians are either homosexual or bisexual, or polygamous, or at the very least, accepting of the concept. The transgender are also a large minority within the Matriarchy, and are generally accepted with open arms by Cascadian society.
As a whole, Cascadian society is known for being highly artistic, and the Matriarchy boasts several world-renowned schools of higher learning, including the prestigious Royal Academy of Science & Technology. Environmentalism is strictly enforced, both by Cascadian society and the government, and the Matriarchy is one of several North American nations—along with San Francisco and the New California Republic—that are classified as a ‘Green-nation’. All vehicles must have a city rating of 35 mpg (miles per gallon) for trucks and other large vehicles and 40 mpg for highways, whereas sedans and other small personal automobiles must have a city mpg of 40 and 45 for highways.
All vehicles must also have a low emission standard before being allowed to be sold within the Matriarchy’s borders and most vehicles that are built and sold in the Matriarchy are electric or run on some type of alternative fuel, like hydrogen or bio-diesel. The Matriarchy also has an extensive mass transit system, primarily limited to railways, trams, and bus services due to the nation’s small size. Bicycles are also common forms of transportation within smaller urban areas, as are trams.
The Cascadian Defense Forces (CDF) is also unique in that women who join the CDF serve in positions equal to those on men, and serve side-by-side with men in unisex units, provided that they are physically and personally suited for the job, the definition of what ‘suited’ entails is largely determined on a case-by-case basis, i.e. the prospective soldier’s talents and abilities rather than gender.
Although officially a Wiccan theocracy, there is surprisingly no official state religion within the Matriarchy, unlike other North American theocracies, such as the Nation of Desert (Utah), the role of Wicca in the Matriarchy’s founding was more along the lines of using the values of Wicca as a guideline. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right under Matriarchal law, and although a majority of Cascadians are Wiccans, including most members of the Royal Family, there are also an equal number of Christians (of Catholic, Protestant, and other denominations), Jews, Muslims, as well as Buddhists and Hindus within the Matriarchy’s borders. Accreditation is given to religious groups that fulfill a set of certain requirements. Currently there are four main officially recognized religious bodies within the Matriarchy.
- The Church of Witchcraft — a Wiccan group, and the closest the Matriarchy has to an official state church
- The Cascadian Church of Christ — a Protestant group
- The Cascadian Church of Our Most Holy Lady — a Catholic group
- The Muslim Order — an Islamic group
- Zionist Society of Cascadia — a pro-Israel group with no ties to any one faith
There are also several other religious groups, including a Buddhist temple located in the capital city of Summerland, and several Mosques throughout the nation. There is also a group known as "the Order of Our Most Holy Green Lady of Roses" (more commonly shortened to "the Order of the Green Lady" or sometimes the "Order of the Green Rose").
The Order of the Green Lady is a group that seeks to further religious tolerance by attempting to combine aspects of both Wicca and Catholicism, specifically the reverence of the Virgin Mary adhered to by Catholics and the belief in a mother goddess by Wiccans, the Order claims that the Virgin Mary and the Goddess that Wiccans honor are one and the same, with the Virgin Mary having been a physical incarnation of the Goddess, and while this claim is largely disputed outside the Order’s ranks, their efforts at fostering religious tolerance have been very successful. Although originally founded on a merging of Christian and Wiccan ideologies and sought to bridge the gap between Christendom and Wicca, the Order of the Green Lady has since helped to foster peace between Christians and Muslims,
The Matriarchy also sadly is host to an eco-terrorist group with religious overtones known as the ‘Gaia’s Resistance Army’ or the "GRA". The GRA is responsible for several attacks against Christian, Judaic, and Islamic groups both within the Matriarchy and elsewhere, most especially Utah, and in recent years a bomb blast near the Great Hall in the Matriarchy’s capital of Summerland. Both the Church of Witchcraft and the Matriarchy’s government have unanimously labeled the GRA as a terrorist organization, as have a majority of the North American Commonwealth member-states, most prominently the Commonwealth of Greater San Francisco.
The Matriarchy of Wicca is a constitutional unicameral meritocratic parliamentary representative theocratic federal republican elective monarchy with universal suffrage. The current reigning monarch (in this case Queen Artemis) serves as both Head of State and Head of Government, supported by a Cabinet of advisers who act as go-betweens between the monarch and the legislative body, the Ministry.
The Ministry operates on the Westminster system, which is copied from the United Kingdom, as is the basic structure of the monarchy, including prohibiting the monarch—and by extension any member of the Royal Family—from voting in any elections at the Provincial or Federal level, as it is believed that this would conflict with their duties as Heads of State and prevent them from viewing governmental matters impartially.
However, the monarchy also copies aspects from the United States Constitution, such as the reigning monarch receiving a monetary compensation for their services to the State, as well as granting the monarch the command of the Cascadian Defense Forces (although de facto authority of the CDF is in the hands of the Ministry and the Cabinet).
Although the monarchy is hereditary, no Cascadian monarch may ascend to the throne unless first nominated by the Ministry in a national referendum which is then confirmed by the vote of the people, with a two-thirds majority being necessary to confirm the ascension. If the ascension is not confirmed by the vote of the people then the Ministry will hold a referendum and continue nominating a new candidate for the throne from the next in line of the Royal Family until a new monarch is chosen.
The monarchy currently rests, as it has since October of 1969, with the House of Gardener, the family lineage established by Alexandria "Athena" Gardener, the founder and first queen of the Matriarchy.
The monarchy is also unique in that the Covenant of the Matriarchy does not specify that the reigning monarch must the firstborn male heir, only that it must be the oldest child; this means that any of the current monarch’s oldest children, male or female, has the right to be elected to the throne.
Although classified by some as an absolute monarchy, the monarch’s powers are still largely determined by the Ministry and the Cascadian people. For example, the monarch can, with the advice and/or consent of the Ministry, bestow titles of nobility, such as knighthoods, and has the power to make or break treaties with other powers and nations, and by extension receive foreign ambassadors, but cannot declare war without the prior consent and approval of the Ministry, as exemplified during the Gulf War, when Queen Artemis asked the Ministry for—and was initially denied—a declaration of war against Iraq until a year later.
The Ministry also has the power to remove the monarch from the throne by a unanimous vote of ‘no confidence’, but only in such cases where the monarch has either, committed treason, taken or given a bribe, or committed some other form of high crime or misdemeanor, the Ministry can also just as easily restore a monarch to the throne if such crimes are found to be false.
The monarch may also abdicate if they so desire for whatever reason, such as illness, as Queen Athena II—the mother of the current monarch, Queen Artemis—did shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, as can the heir apparent—as Queen Artemis’ sister, Princess Hera, did shortly after their mother’s death—although an abdication of either the monarch or the heir apparent is still generally frown upon by the populace as a whole, and Queen Artemis was at first viewed with suspicion and uncertainty during the first two or so years of her reign after she ascended the throne following the death of her very popular mother.
The legislative body of the Matriarchy is in the form of the "Ministry" (also sometimes rarely known as the Senate). The Ministry is a unicameral body which composed of representatives from each Quarter who represent the interests of their constituents in the government and also make laws and national policy on a wide range of interests. The Ministry has been frequently described as a "streamlined version of the U.S. Congress".
The Ministry meets in the Grand Hall, a large building located in the center circle of Summerland directly across from the Green House, the official residence of the current reigning monarch.
Like the U.S. Congress, the Ministry is empowered by the Covenant to make law, print currency and coin money, enforce taxation (including income laws), manage the economy and the national budget, regulate commerce with other nations, ratify treaties with other powers and nations, borrow money on the credit of the Matriarchy, establish and maintain a national military, create and manage the rules and regulations of the military, and declare war. The Ministry can also establish post offices, issue patients and copyrights, and admit new Provinces into the Matriarchy.
Crime and Law Enforcement
Law enforcement in the Matriarchy falls under two categories, Federal and Local. Local law enforcement is limited to police and sheriffs departments in townships and cities such as Seattle and Tacoma.
Federal law enforcement consists of the "Federal Police Services" (also known as the "FPS" or more simply the ‘National Police’ and often referred to in slang of the "Feddies"), the FPS is a paramilitary semi-nationalized police force created to investigate crimes that cross Provincial lines and was created after several jurisdictional issues arose in cases when crimes or criminals crossed into different Provinces.
The FPS is the primary form of major law enforcement in the Matriarchy, functioning as a combined form of the FBI and state troopers and focusing on crimes as homicide, sexual assault, violent crimes, and domestic terrorism, whereas local law enforcement is largely focused on dealing with more minor crimes, such as burglary, assault, robbery, and drunk and disorderly.
The legal system of the Matriarchy is copied largely from the United States’ legal system of common law, which is turn was copied and modified from the English common law system. At both the Provincial and Federal level jurisprudence follows a common law system. Provincial courts typically handle criminal cases, whereas federal courts deal with more high profile cases. Federal law prohibits a variety of drugs to be used, excluding marijuana, the use of which was legalized quite by accident in the form of collective marijuana farms created in the early 1980s to help stimulate the economy. The legal drinking age in the Matriarchy is 21, whereas the age of consent in 16, much like the United Kingdom, and, as stated above, prostitution is legal and regulated by the state. Gun ownership in the Matriarchy is significantly lower than other North American nations, most likely due to the general antipathy towards violence among Cascadians.
The Matriarchy has been classified by some as a nanny state and the ODIN Program ("Offensive Observational Detection Defense and Investigation Network")—whereby a massive series of closed circuit cameras and staffs of analysts are used to monitor the nation’s urban areas—has attracted controversy, most especially in the aftermath of 9/11.
The Royal Cascadian Defense Forces (also abbreviated as the RCDF or more commonly called the Cascadian Defense Forces or the CDF and sometimes called the Royal Matriarchal Defense Forces) is the main military force of the Matriarchy, and consists of three main branches.
- The Cascadian Ground Defense Force (CGDF): Equal to most national armies, responsible for infantry-based attacks and offensives.
- The Cascadian Navy (CN): Responsible for defense from sea and coastal regions.
- Naval infantry: Equal to marine corps, responsible for amphibious assaults, boarding actions, and ship cleanup.
- The Cascadian Air Force (CAF): Responsible for aerial defense and protecting Matriarchal airspace.
The CDF is primarily charged with defending and protecting the Matriarchy from ‘invasion or insurrection, indirect or direct aggression, and maintaining the nation’s independence’ rather than launching a preemptive strike, as well as promoting and supporting the Matriarchy’s international peacekeeping efforts.
As such the CDF is often compared to Japan's Self-Defense Force rather than an actual army, and during the early-1980s efforts were made by the government to avoid an overt attitude of militarism, due to the Matriarchy's peaceful intentions and in an attempt to move away from the horrors of the Heaven Wars, this included an initial attempt to avoid the use of military terms, therefore tanks were often referred to as "transports" and the various branches of the CDF were titled as "Ground Defense Force", "Maritime Defense Force", and "Aerial Defense Force" rather than "army", "navy", and "air force". Although these terms quickly fell out of favor, and the navy and air force were soon renamed as such, with the army only retaining the name "Ground Defense Force".
The CDF officially answers to the current reigning monarch (Queen Artemis), although constitutional convention vests de facto executive authority and power in the Cabinet-level Defense Ministry and the Ministry, but the Queen retains "ultimate authority" over the CDF, and holds the power to prevent its unconstitutional use in both peace and wartime. The CDF is an active and regular participant in NATO operations (of which the Matriarchy is a member) and other coalition operations including the North American Commonwealth (NAC) and the West Pacific Coast Coalition (WEPAC), of which the Matriarchy is a founding-member of both organizations, and, most recently, enforcing the current UN-mandated Libyan No-Fly Zone.
Like most former-U.S. militaries, the CDF was founded from various civilian militias during the outbreak of the Second American Civil War, and like the Israeli Defense Forces, the CDF is considered to be one of the most battle-hardened and highly trained military forces in the world, largely due to being involved in several skirmishes and border conflicts since the founding of the Matriarchy, most especially the Nevada War, where the Matriarchy fought alongside the New California Republic and the Commonwealth of Greater San Francisco against the Nation of Deseret (Utah) for control of the Hoover Dam and in the defense of the city-state of New Vegas.
The CDF largely relies on high-tech weaponry and defenses primarily designed and built within the Matriarchy and some foreign nations, the New California Republic and the Commonwealth of Greater San Francisco are notable foreign contributors alongside the United Kingdom, of which the Matriarchy is a major ally.
The CDF is also unique in that it seeks to "end conflicts quickly and efficiently without large loss of human life or dignity", as such the CDF often seeks quicker and more efficient alternatives to direct combat and open war, frequently using special forces units to infiltrate enemy territory and disrupt an enemy’s war effort from within, as well as using sabotage and subterfuge, such as disabling communications networks and transport lines rather an open invasion and military occupation.
The Matriarchy is a signatory to, and ratified, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and is largely against the development and use of nuclear weapons, and officially maintains a policy of deliberately forbidding the development or transport of nuclear weapons through its borders, much like modern-day Japan, and in 1980 the Ministry passed the "Atomic Energy Act" which limits the development of nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes, as in nuclear reactors and power plants (although, due to its high level of technology and strong economy, the Matriarchy is still classified as a "nuclear capable" nation, as it is widely believed that the Matriarchy is more-than-capable of building nuclear weapons and an efficient long-range delivery system if the political climate were to suddenly change).
Women in the CDF
The CDF is also unique in that women are allowed—and in some regards expected—to serve in full-combat roles in all branches of the CDF alongside men and have done so since the CDF’s foundation in 1970 (much like the Israeli Defense Forces). This was at a time when most women serving in national militaries were usually only allowed to be clerks, nurses, or drivers, and the CDF has been fully-integrated from 1970 to present. This policy of gender equality and integration in the military was initially instituted to help further the idea of social equality in the early Matriarchy, as well as due to shortages in manpower during the Second American Civil War.
During the Nevada War, female CDF soldiers served valiantly in the defense of San Francisco and the New California Republic from the Nation of Deseret (Utah)’s territorial expansion into Nevada and the threat that expansion posed to the vital power supply at Hoover Dam (then controlled by the NCR), and the city-state of New Vegas.
Many female CDF personnel were either killed or captured by Utahan forces during the course of the Nevada War, which raised concerns in the Ministry, and the general populace, about the possibility of torture and sexual assaults on female soldiers serving on the front-lines, as reports of many female CDF personnel being raped or molested, or even being violently tortured and killed by Utahan soldiers emerged, including one confirmed case involving a female Cascadian POW being brutally beheaded by Utahan soldiers.
Despite these concerns, Cascadian women continued to enlist in the CDF and served alongside their male counterparts with honor and distinction throughout the entire course of the war, most especially in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, the final battle of the war, and were considered instrumental in helping to bring an end to the war and forge the resulting Salton Sea Treaty.
To this day, the Deseret government continually denies any allegations that Utahan soldiers may have raped or molested Cascadian female POWs during the Nevada War, and claims that most of the cases involving rape of Cascadian female POWs are either false or are being blown out of proportion, and that the actual number of female Cascadian soldiers being raped or molested—if any such events occurred at all that is—by Utahan forces is far lower then claimed.
Cascadian women also valiantly served in the CDF during the Idaho Scramble, including the current Queen, Queen Artemis, and her sister, Princess Hera, who flew a fighter jet over the Cascadian—Utahan border zone during the conflict and Cascadian women also continue to serve on the frontlines in conflicts overseas in places such as Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East.
Women currently make up a larger percentage of active service members in the CDF compared to men, and frequently ascend up the ranks of the CDF to top officer positions at a slightly faster rate than their male counterparts, including to the rank of General, and from 1979 to 1997 Major-General Irene Fuller was one of the longest serving commanders of the CDF.
In 2012, two female CDF pilots, Majors Helena Wellesley and Sally Dixon, enforced the Libyan No-Fly Zone, alongside British RAF pilot Flight Lieutenant Helen Seymour. Since 1980, sexual orientation has had not been factor considered during recruitment or voluntary entry into the CDF, and homosexuals can serve openly in the CDF, and all branches of the CDF have had a larger number of recruits during Gay Pride events when compared to other types of recruitment drives.
The Matriarchy does not keep any records on the number of gay and lesbian members serving in the CDF, stating that the sexual orientation of its personnel is considered to be irrelevant in regard to their role or position in the CDF and is not monitored. Married same-sex couples are also fully entitled to military pensions and death benefits.