The Piedmont Republic is a group of four counties in northwest South Carolina that barely avoided annihilation because of a tactical decision by the Soviet Union to destroy power stations with conventional warheads. The Oconee Nuclear Power Plant was severely damaged in the attack, but by 2000 technicians were able to restore partial operations to the plant after nearly two decades of alternative fuel options in the area.
The college towns of Clemson, Greenville and Spartanburg having successfully groomed the original student bodies of six colleges and universities (mostly on campus, and representing much of the rest of the pre-doomsday USA), have developed into an independent republic with around 500,000 citizens. The present governor is James Warren "Jim" DeMint, a local businessman who had served as Lt. Governor from 2006 through 2010.
Greenville, South Carolina, had been on the verge of a downtown renewal. In nearby Mauldin, a new baseball stadium had just been finished, anticipating the coming season of the Greenville Braves, a farm team for the Atlanta franchise. The main industry in the area was still textiles, though that industry was starting to be lost to cheaper labor in Mexico and Asian manufacturing facilities.
Clemson University in Pickens County was known for its engineering and agriculture departments, though most locals seemed only to think of its powerful football team (National Champs in 1981, but under probation for recruiting violations). Baptist affiliated Furman University and North Greenville College are in Greenville County, and Christian Schools Bob Jones University and Holmes Bible College both thrive inside the city limits. In Pickens County lies the campus of Central Wesleyan College represents the best of Methodist higher learning. Over in Spartanburg County there is Spartanburg Methodist College, which is a two-year college with students in residence on campus. These schools, among many others, were housing as many as 10, 000 students from around the state and the nation on the day the missiles fell.
Greenville county, as the largest in population and area, was the natural leader in the upstate. But there was much to offer in these counties along Interstate 85. That thoroughfare had lead some to attempt a national marketing program for developing the "GreenSpAn" of South Carolina. However, those in Anderson vetoed the idea, thinking that Greenville got top billing and they only got two letters on the end! Anderson county, though, did not have the "flavor" of the border counties. Three of the four touched the sky as it sloped toward the plain upon which the capital city of Columbia sat. Spartanburg County, on the other hand guarded closely its small town identity while seeking to be urban enough to attract visitors before they reached the "big city" to the southwest!
Tied to the past, looking to the future, the towns had racial tension. The Democratic party always seemed to have a lock on the minorities (both the African-Americans and the Hispanics), while the Republican party held onto a slim majority of the white majority. The area had helped the state to put Ronald Reagan in the White House after he had come to speak to the Fundamentalist Christian population at Bob Jones University. Things were looking up, for the area had been able to send their former state representative to the House of Representatives in Washington. Carroll Campbell showed promise in national politics as well -- the first in what the Republican leadership was sure to be a long line of conservatives to change the face of governance in national politics.
The Aftermath of Doomsday
Newly-elected Greenville Mayor William D. "Bill" Workman III, having taken office June 13th, was the major political leader in the region. A close ally was Robert R. "Bob" Jones III, president of Bob Jones University. Jones had recently lost a US Supreme Court battle over a policy against inter-racial dating and marriage. This issue, though minor to the belief structure of the University, added to the racial tension of the area. The alliance between the Republican Party and the Fundamentalist school, though, would prove to be the strength that would hold the area together long enough to establish a viable political unit.
On the evening of Sunday, September 25th, 1983, Bob Jones, III, was enjoying a time with his extended family at their home in Greenville, SC. The home was inside the fences of Bob Jones University, designed with living quarters for his father, Bob Jones, Jr. (chancellor of BJU), and mother, as well as an "upper room" for prayer and devotions. Sunday was for God, so no outside media was on in the house. At about 7:55 pm, though, a disturbing call came from campus security. He immediately turned on the radio as the emergency broadcasting system had begun, announcing an impending strike on multiple US targets. By 8:05 Jones was on the public address system with instructions to all students in the dorms to seek shelter in the service areas in the basements of the Founder's Memorial Amphitorium and Rodheavor Auditorium.
Before all the students could be gathered safely, the airwaves went silent. Local power was suddenly cut, and the emergency power system lit hallways dimly. Hundreds of students, without proper authorization, climbed down through manhole covers to the labyrinth of steam tunnels underneath the university "just in case" Greenville was a target. In about an hour, when no explosion had come, they emerged to campus security awaiting them. They were briefed as to what the "doctors Bob" had told everyone else on campus who had gone to the two basement sanctuaries. Though warnings had been sounded to seek cover for up to two weeks in case of fallout, the basements had been "standing room only." Arrangements had been made to utilize the lower and inner rooms of the dormitories and classroom buildings as sufficient shelters.
Interstates 85 (out of Charlotte), and 26 (out of Columbia) had become jammed by 9:30 pm, as older cars (without computers) made it out of the cities. By about 8:45, though, warheads had exploded over both cities as well as over Augusta, Georgia. Some people in North Augusta had made it to Highway 25 on the way towards Greenville. Being the first out proved to be enough for perhaps a thousand cars in all, with occupants being able to get twenty miles or so away from "ground zero." These vehicles, though suffered much damage as the heat of the fireball reached them. Though some of the vehicles survived the assault, others were blown from the roadways. Few survived the resulting crashes. Fewer than five hundred vehicles, in fact, reached safe haven in Spartanburg and Greenville than night. From vehicles fortunate enough not to be overturned, though, about two hundred survivors climbed to finish their trek on foot.
The next day, City and county councils were meeting all day, as were student bodies in the auditoriums of the area's schools and universities. It soon became obvious that major resources were at a premium. Both the gasoline and natural gas pipelines that went through the upstate had been shut down at their point of origin along the Gulf of Mexico. The pump stations along the way had failed to function after the EMP's had struck. Any product locally would have to be extracted from the pipes themselves, which would take time. Fuel storage facilities in nearby Anderson county had yet to be contacted and fuel deliveries to local stations and larger tanks were uncertain. Travelers from Pickens county reported that a large explosion had been heard in the vicinity of the Oconee Nuclear Power Plant, though no mushroom cloud had been seen.
In the next few days, area hospitals were overflowing with refugees from coming up from the South and over from the Northeast. The nursing homes were beginning to fill up as the nursing personnel in them were being called on to serve the need of the moment. Triage centers were sending the worst cases to the nursing homes to die. The "regular" patients at the homes were being released to their families for lack of resources.
In addition to Greenville, the cities of Easley and Spartanburg were influential in the leadership that developed into a stable government of the four counties. The city of Wahalla, county seat of Oconee county, was isolated, and only came into the republic after a stable government had been established. The city government of Clemson, at the corner of Pickens, Oconee and rogue county Anderson, played a minor part, but it was the coherence of the College there that made a real difference in the survival of the republic against all odds.
The Greenville Protocol
At the first sign of chaos -- that is, when all power went on emergency backup and there was no electronic communications network -- Greenville county sheriff Johnny Mack Brown called all the deputies, as well as the policemen, that were at the Law Enforcement center in downtown into the conference room. The continuing cold war with the USSR had lead to contingency plans kept secret to all but law enforcement and top political leaders across the state. Now was the time to set it into motion. The police cruisers that had been disabled by the EMP's were quickly hot-wired past the computers, and were up and running within an hour of the attacks. The highway patrol in the county that had been on motorcycles had already converged on the Law Enforcement Center to receive their assignments. While the patrolmen went to find the officers already on patrol (now either awaiting help or busy hot-wiring their vehicles), the other officers began to form concentric circles a far out in line of sight as they could arrange along the streets heading out of town. When the officers on patrol had their vehicles running, they took the points further out towards the county line. Using bright flags, they communicated short Morse Code messages (left=dot; right=dash). Before looting could begin, the officers were in position.
Meanwhile, the area hospitals - from Barge Memorial Hospital on Bob Jones University to the large county hospitals - along with the doctors' offices were gearing up for the injured to begin arriving from Charlotte and Columbia. No one knew exactly how many would come in, but it was decided if they made it in, they had priority over all other none-lethal conditions. When the casualties began to arrive, nurses in the waiting rooms had the responsibility to decide if they had a chance of survival. Over the course of the first six months tens of thousands of victims would come in, only a few hundreds would survive to see the founding of the new Republic. By the summer of 1984, in fact, all disposable medical supplies had been exhausted. As burn and radiation victims died, their beds came available for the sicker of those that had been "evicted" in the beginning. Hundreds of elderly residents of nursing facilities, for example, had been released to their families when the beds were needed for the disaster victims. Few of these ever reclaimed their beds, most having died at home.
Meanwhile, the colleges and universities in the counties had first priority for survival. The young people were in no way pampered, but it had been determined that they were the best hope for the future. Bob Jones University and Furman University, and to a certain extent North Greenville College, became self-contained communities. Armed vehicles guarded trucks hauling food and personal products for distribution to the campuses first and then to community centers where rations were distributed until such time as private gardens could begin to produce in the summer and fall of 1984. Draconian curfews and harsh punishments kept the unsavory looters and plunderers at bay. Local manufacturing plants looked for ways to use the chemicals and other materials they had to produce simple products that could serve the community need. Old equipment containing few electronic elements was taken out of storage. Emergency generators began to use rationed fuel to produce numerous everyday items.
Automobiles began to be collected for parts needed to keep essential vehicles - law enforcement, medical transport (personnel carpooling), and public transit - in working order. What jobs that were available began to be filled by those who lived within walking distance in many cases. Others who had jobs began to relocate to houses closer to work. The people of the upstate of South Carolina, especially in Greenville, knew there were probably many others that had survived as they did. But in the beginning -- until January 1, 1986 in fact -- strict adherence to the "Greenville protocol" kept this little corner of the world alive.
Building a Republic
Thanksgiving day of 1984 was a day of reflection. In the fourteen months since what was called "Armageddon" by some, and "Doomsday" by others, the upstate had seen much suffering. However, with options being limited with conventional medicine, a wider use of alternative medicine was not only allowed, but encouraged. As a result of such an approach, death by radiation poison brought on the winds up from Atlanta were few. Since care to the elderly had fallen to the families for over a year, the mean age in the region went down as the weakest among them died of natural causes. The harvest of the gardens had been a good one, and everyone had plenty to eat. The future looked good.
Election day two weeks earlier had seen one hundred delegates (25 from each county) chosen for a convention to be convened on January 7, 1985 at McAllister Auditorium on the campus of Furman University. Mayor Bill Workman was elected chairmen of the convention. After the festivities of Christmas were over, these delegates got down to the business of building a sovereign state. Sovereignty was something many in the former South Carolina held dear. However, probably ninety-five percent of citizens felt in their heart that even under President Reagan they were losing freedoms once thought eternal. Now was a chance to "start over." Since the state constitution had become so long, the new constitution patterned itself after the historical US constitution. The changes they made, though, were carefully designed to not conflict with the original federal document. The delegates, by and large, were optimistic that some day the United States of America would once again be united. Opinions were divided, though, on whether the government should return to its former state.
On March 8, 1985, the delegates signed the document and carried copies back to their home districts. A campaign would ensue for ratification on election day in November. The convention had voted to have Mayor Workman serve as interim governor, with Spartanburg mayor Robert "Bob" Rowell as interim lieutenant governor. The constitution had included provisions not explicitly spelled out in the US constitution -- such as the right to life for humans in all stages of biological existence (whether in the mother's womb, or in their children's care).
1985 Election Day
Out of the estimated 150,000 eligible voters, 92,417 voted in voting booths from Wahalla to Spartanburg. A staggering 71,287 voted to ratify, or 73 percent. In a separate vote, 63 percent of the voters agreed that the interim government was doing good enough to be placed on the ballot for the general in 1986. With that "head start," it was assumed that they would probably hold those seats for another two to four years (depending on the office). For the most part, that proved to be true, with only about a third of the delegates not returning to office in the bicameral Assembly in January 1987.
On January 1, 1986, the Provisional Republic of the Piedmont, commonly known as the Piedmont Republic, officially came into existence. Its official title relayed the hope that the state of South Carolina would one day rejoin a reunited United States of America, but with a less centralized government. The next step would be to find out who else had survived.
The Republic has a bicameral assembly of 25 Representatives and 12 Senators. Election is every two years. All citizens of the republic 18 or older can vote, but an assemblyman must be at least 25 to serve. There is no discrimination as to the gender, race, or ethnic background. The executive branch consists of the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the governor's cabinet. As in the former South Carolina, the lieutenant governor and most of the executive officers are elected separately from the governor. The executive term is for four years, with the option of serving for another four. There are two major parties, a hold over from the former US state. However, in the new constitution set a strict code of honor, requiring candidates to run, and govern if elected, according to the principles of the party platform. Any other party represented must also have a stated platform of basic beliefs. Independents are subject to the same scrutiny, being expected to lay down their own "platform" in order to be elected. Bills must pass both house of the legislature, with the Lt. Governor serving as "president" of the Senate. The presiding officer of the House of Representatives is known as the "Speaker," who rarely casts a vote (acting as a moderator and not "needed" unless a tie of those voting requires it.)
The House is responsible for the spending of the Republic's funds -- drawn mostly from fees and property taxes. It was decided in the beginning - with a necessarily "socialistic" economy - that an "income tax" was not feasible, so the republic's revenue is from fees levied on all goods and services (a cost passed on to consumers) provided by a tightly controlled number of competitors. At the outset of the republic, in order to consolidate resources, land ownership had become "universal," assuring a constant revenue stream for the government. The taxes were based on the use of the land, for the most part, and thus were affordable for most citizens. The only reason land would normally "change hands" was if the owners of the land (families owned land based on the citizens eighteen and older in 1983 (including the college students) could not pay the taxes. Then part of the land might be sold to the government.
Government owned land (which included by default all "corporate land"), then, could be used at its discretion to produce its own income (usually agricultural as greenhouses became a popular way to optimize land). Sometimes such land would be traded for land adjacent to other government land allowing for the expansion of manufacturing facilities (the plants themselves being owned by the corporations).
All banks were closed for weeks as the Greenville Protocol was in effect. US currency and coin in circulation at the time was allowed to be spent on commodities until the end of 1986. At that time, the provisional government called in all currency to be credited and then revalued. This was done by determining the total amount in circulation, and then estimating the total value of goods available. After that time, the money was put back in circulation, having been marked by the seal of the republic's treasury department. Any non-certified currency would from then on be worthless. US coin, though, remained the same being tied in value to the new currency.
It was determined on January 1, 1986, that a flag would be designed to distinguish the provisional republic from the old state of South Carolina. The sovereignty flag of 1861 provided a general design, but cool heads prevailed and the colors were changed to reflect the main schools of the old State of South Carolina. The bars became crimson to reflect the University of South Carolina, while the background was to be Clemson orange. Though Clemson remained and USC was gone, it was decided that the prominence of the orange was showing undue preference to Clemson, so the upper left and lower right panels were returned to the bonny blue color of the old flag. The palmetto tree, though rare in the upstate, was retained, but moved out of the panel it had shared with the crescent moon. The stars that had been prevalent in the sovereignty flag were taken out -- except for the center star, for unity, and four smaller stars for the four member counties of the republic.
The flag was approved by the Assembly and first raised over the state house in Greenville (the old Greenville County courthouse) on June 14, 1986.
Religion and Law
The prominent religion in the Republic is protestant Christian -- largely Southern and Independent Baptist. However, significant other religious traditions continue -- both Christian and non-Christian. Freedom of religion continues for the founders of the Republic agreed that it was faith in God that saw the survivors through Doomsday.
Some public policies though, deemed to be overly religious in nature over the years, were reinstated, and even strengthened:
- Sunday once again was revered as a day of rest and worship. Other religious traditions were granted the full right to observe their own day (without fear of reprisal), but the "official" Sabbath would be Sunday.
- Divorce became a lot harder. Though it was still allowed, restrictions on its use promoted reconciliation and required legal proof of infidelity.
- The legal drinking age was raised to 25 years old.
- The legal age for smoking was lowered to 16, but with requirements for anti-smoking education.
- Abortion for any reason other than to save the life of the mother was strictly forbidden until such time as the US government was re-constituted.
With electricity on emergency supply after Doomsday and electronics "fried" by the EMP's, radio and television stations were practically useless. The local newspapers began producing limited editions for they did not know how long their supplies would hold out. In Greenville, for instance, the Greenville News and the Greenville Piedmont (morning and evening dailies, respectively) merged into the Piedmont News. This paper went to being published on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In 2001, after power had been restored to most of the republic for daytime operations of essential businesses, makeshift telegraph and telephone services sprung up to replace the regional services that had ruled pre-doomsday. Ham radio sets, drawn out of storage, were being utilized as they became available. As contact was made to other survivor city-states and nations, hope began to rise that there was hope for the world again. It was not until 2006 that area television stations were able to consolidate their facilities into WSPA, a low-powered station run out of facilities in an old bank building in Greer, RoP. Its first broadcasts were of the election results of the 2006 gubernatorial race.
TransportationThe state of emergency in 1983 had led the leadership in Greenville to impound about half the automobiles in the upstate. The newer vehicles, that had had their electronics rendered useless, were refitted with parts from older cars to allow at least some of the efficient late model engines to conserve the fuel older "gas-guzzlers" would have wasted. Existing fuel in the tanks of local gas stations was strictly rationed, and citizens were encouraged to use the bus system whenever possible. Locally, production of tires at three Michelin Tire plants continued on a very reduced schedule (for the manufacturing facilities were a huge drain on energy and raw materials).
Air travel, in small planes, resumed on very short flights around the Republic. Again, it was not known how much fuel was available, so larger planes or longer flights were felt to be unnecessary. Even with the recovery of fuel from storage tanks in the provisional county of Williamston, transportation remained limited to within known bounds of the four member counties. Newly expanded Greenville Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is kept open and operative, but no attempts have been to fly any airliners out due to both electronic failures in the planes and lack of fuel necessary to return the large craft to the air. The Piedmontian military, though, has reserved the right to use the runways in the case of international conflict. Its primary base of operations is the recommissioned "Donaldson Air Force Base," known now as the Donaldson Military Air base (DMA).
Presently, the Piedmontian navy and coast guard patrol the rivers of the Savannah River basin in the west and the Santee River basin in the east. Due to the civil unrest between the Islamic Republic of Anderson and "Toccoa, CSA," and the general shortage of fuel for powered return upriver in the east, no known travel down river into unsettled territory was attempted by either private or government teams until 1991.
After the influx of refugees in 1984 and 1985, the population of the Republic of Piedmont began to shift to lower median age. With the health care rationing, the weaker citizens tended to die of the lingering effects of radiation from the fallout that had come up from Atlanta on the prevailing winds in 1983. However, with the introduction of alternative medicines once shunned by federal -- and state -- medical practitioners, the healthy population that was exposed seemed to have few lasting affects. As a consequence, the population between the age of 18 and 50 held a healthy 60% over other age groups. However, the birthrates dropped as an assessment was made on available resources. By the 2000 census, though, those coming into the child-bearing age were encouraged to have more children. Their older contemporaries, meanwhile, began to attempt to have another child while they could. The present population, based on these trends, is estimated to be 420,000.
This population is 86 percent white, 12 percent black, and one percent each of Asian and "other." Of this population, about 12 percent claim Hispanic (Latino) heritage. The median income per household is around P$ 36,000, with a per capita income of about P$ 19,000. The unemployment rate, according to December 2009 figures, is 8.7% -- including full time students on government scholarships.
1987 through 2000
The Anderson-Toccoa War
(see main article: Anderson-Toccoa War)
In early winter of 1987, refugees began to arrive in Clemson from the south and from the west. Stories of unimaginable atrocities were met with some suspicion, but the victims showed many signs of trauma and emotional distress. There had been the takeover of two campuses in neighboring counties -- Toccoa Falls College in the former state of Georgia and Anderson College in the county to the south of the Republic in the former South Carolina. Both had seen bloodshed -- including the presidents of both colleges -- but the worst case was in Anderson.
Before authorities in the Republic of Piedmont could respond to either atrocity, war broke out between the rogue city-states. Two racist cities, in affect, were warring against each other with the RoP in between. Without waiting for a draft, students at Clemson University were joining up to the new army that had been formed in 1985. Both the ROTC and the football team was wanting to "liberate" the oppressed people in Anderson, just twenty miles away.
For four months, from March through June, the "peace keeping" forces from all four counties of the Republic stood in the gap between the warring factions. Though they did not receive many casualties, peace proved hard to achieve. Finally, though, a ceasefire was agreed upon and demilitarized zones were established to keep these enemies at bay. Furthermore, a buffer zone was established between the former Anderson County and the counties of the Republic that it bordered. As a result, five of the county's towns were occupied.
The Lake Hartwell Accord
On November 11, 1987, the warring parties in Anderson and Toccoa were compelled by the Piedmont military to sign a cease fire. The armed forces established a three mile wide Demilitarized Zone, 1.5 miles on either side of Lake Hartwell. Though the conflict would continue as each town attempted to liberate the slaves in the other, they would have to circumnavigate the lake's southern end, out of range of the patrol boats on the lake. The Piedmont Coast Guard kept 1200 guardsmen on rotating shifts of 400 to maintain peace.
Civil rights groups in the Republic, though, have lobbied the Assembly, and fought in the courts, to have the army forcibly liberate the slaves in both Anderson and Toccoa. Most recently, in Irwin vs. RoP, Athenian survivor Barry Irwin lost in a case brought before the RoP Supreme Court. Irwin had argued that the rogue states had violated the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution in holding slaves within the bounds of the United States. However, associate judge Bill Watkins spoke for the majority:
- Since the United States of America has been officially dissolved, the citizens of that larger nation are no longer held by the provisions of its constitution. Although the constitution of the Republic of the Piedmont indeed does have a similar provision for civil rights of all people, that constitution does not apply to those states outside its jurisdiction. Until such time as these adjoining counties become either a part of this republic, or under international contract are liable to such civil laws, this republic may not interfere with the internal affairs of said states. Irwin vs the Republic of Piedmont, Aug 13, 2009.
To date, 674 Piedmontian troops have died in this ongoing conflict. Most recently, on Dec. 12, 2009, a patrol boat was bombed by a small plane believed to have been out of Toccoa. Survivor Lt. Gerald Johnson reported that the bomb appeared to be a Fuel Air Explosive (FAE) device that exploded in two stages - first releasing a fine mist of gasoline and then igniting it a fraction of a second later. Authorities in the DoD of the Republic would not comment on whether they had a similar weapon in their arsenal. Lt. Johnson was the only survivor, the rest of the crew are presumed dead.
Aftermath of the war: Establishing boundaries
Although Royall Jenkins had claimed all of former Anderson County, the "Supreme Leader" had to settle for a greatly diminished territory. This turned out to be abetter "deal" for him, for he did not have the power to control the remaining populations of the small towns in the northern part of the county. All these towns were near the border with the Piedmont Republic, which had occupied those towns inside the demilitarized zones. When he was forced to withdraw into the city of Anderson, it had relieved the tension of continual occupation of what accounted for about half of the Republic's southern border.
Before the final lines were drawn, as the government of the Piedmont Republic considered the former Anderson County to be the "rightful boundaries" for its present government, the "battle lines" represented quite a drain on the budget of the fledgling republic.
Conditions were far from ideal with these arrangements. The "old rules" about county lines had to be reconsidered. The Andersonians held onto most of the small towns only by intimidation. Even the most libertarian among the Piedmontians were demanding that the threat in the south be contained. And so, new lines were drawn, and Royall Jenkins had to settle for a much smaller territory, which he called the Islamic Republic of Anderson. His territory became the city of Anderson plus the land up to Lake Hartwell.
Scouting teams would find all towns south of Belton to be completely abandoned, having been ransacked by fleeing refugees coming up from Augusta and Columbia. Belton had held out a bit longer, but had been found by Piedmontian troops to be near death due to unsanitary conditions and disease. The remaining towns of the county, apart from the suburbs of the city of Anderson, were annexed to the RoP. The new borders of the Republic of Piedmont extended to the borders of the IRA on the north and the east, for it had been determined that the line (34 degrees 29 minutes North) from the southern tip of Greenville county to the border of the IRA could be safely administered. The new territory is to be renamed Williamston, after the largest town annexed. Elections in November 2010 formed a new government for the new county.
While having considered themselves the heir to the original state of South Carolina, the citizens and leadership of the Piedmont Republic had found it against their nature to seek to annex counties that had no government to agree to such an annexation. In this case, they had expanded as the result of a "civil war" in the heart of the old south itself. Search parties in 2010 are seeking refugees or settled governments in the former Laurens, Union, and even Newberry counties for possible incorporation into the republic as counties.
The Piedmont "Oil Rush"
Even with the rationing of fuel to essential vehicles alone, officials knew that it was only a matter of time before the tanks would be dry. This became even more apparent as the Anderson-Taccoa War raged. In late 1987, as troops were stationed in the DMZ, it became evident that a source of gasoline and diesel, as well as kerosene, had to be found. The fuel depot in Anderson County had been seized by Piedmontian troops when it became known that Royall Jenkins knew of them and had begun making raids to extract fuel as that of the stations in and around Anderson city were being drained.
Though the fuel depot had enough to supply the area for several years, it was known that they, too, would run dry. This was because no more fuel flowed into them through the fuel lines that came up from Texas. Pumps along the way had stopped working soon after Doomsday, and the oil fields and refineries in Texas were years away from coming back to even partial production levels. But there was fuel in the pipes, sitting unused due to lack of power. It was hoped that by the time this oil was used up, survivors in Texas and Louisiana would be providing some sort of trade agreements for more.
However, before Governor Workman could get the Assembly to act, private attempts had begun to make claims on what seemed to them to be an "endless" supply of fuel. These same individuals, it seemed, had their own fleets of vehicles that had not been confiscated in what had been thought to be a complete consolidation program in 1984. It was not known if any successful attempts were made before the "Valentine's Day Catastrophe," but on that fateful night -- February 14, 1988 -- the worst explosion since the bombing of the Oconee Nuclear Plant on Doomsday almost destroyed the town of Simpsonville.Rather than risking detection draining the pipes that were above ground, the ill-fated expedition had sought to drill into the line in southern Greenville county. The fuel in the pipeline at the time of shut down had been gasoline, the most volatile of possibilities. Having been sitting for over four years, the vapors the gasoline had reached their peak filling a space of perhaps ten percent of the area inside the large pipe. Once the pipe had been breached, the heat of the drill to the pipe was enough to ignite not just the escaping fumes, but that within the section of the pipe hundreds of feet in both directions. No one was ever able to find the remains of the drillers.
The resulting explosion was felt in most of the county as a plume of smoke blotted out the stars. The town of Simpsonville was in flames and the regional food distribution center in neighbouring Mauldin was in danger of being engulfed. The evacuation of the food and household products from the Bi-Lo facilities was second only to the citizens in the still intact neighborhoods. An estimated 700 people perished that night. Volunteer crews worked for the rest of the month of February burying the affected area under tons of sand brought in from around the republic. Utility crews had secured the ends of the pipe that had been sealed off at unused pumping stations, assuring that no more gasoline would seep into the ground. Attempts had been made to isolate the saturated sands and clays after the accident, but experts estimate that at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline were lost into the ground water.This disaster and the subsequent cleanup earned senior journalism student Robert Jones ("Bob Jones, IV") accolades and his first "real job" at the Greenville-Piedmont News. His detailed report not only earned him top grades at Bob Jones University, but a name of his own in a town which expected him to follow in his father's steps. Twenty years later he would go from chief editor and commentator to governor of the Republic.
By the beginning of June, the Assembly had passed legislation that nationalized the remaining gasoline within the borders of the Republic of Piedmont and negotiated with the provisional government of Anderson County at Williamston to control the gasoline in their lines as well. The fuels in the tanks near there, though, was determined to be the property of shareholders of the oil companies holding the fuels. The administrators at the fuel depots were quite willing to work with the governments of both the county and the Republic in crediting the accounts the stock holders known to be alive within the bounds of the Republic, including the provisional county of Anderson (to be renamed Williamston county) with the exclusion of those living in the Islamic Republic of Anderson. Those in the IRA were entitled only to the gasoline within the pipes that passed through its boundaries.
After the laws were into effect, privately run transportation companies were shut down unless they could be refitted to run on bio-fuel, an up-and-coming industry in the Republic. In Anderson County, farmers were becoming wealthy as they began growing soybeans for fuel rather than as feed or food protein products. Chemical plants in Greenville were being converted to transform soybean oil into diesel. Privately owned firms began to trade their gasoline fueled vehicles to the government in order to procure diesel-powered ones. This worked out well because of the discovery that the pipelines contained only gasoline. However, because so many vehicles ran on gasoline rather that diesel, a gasoline substitute -- not alcohol, which was far too expensive to make -- had to be developed. Chemists at Clemson University found that fuel grade gasoline could be made from algae. The water treatment plant in Greenville turned out to be a great place to grow this algae. By the time the fuel from the depot and the pipeline was used up, the Republic was able to begin increasing the number of vehicles on the roads.
1990 Gubernatorial Race
Bill Workman decided late in 1988 to announce his candidacy for re-election after the winter session of the General Assembly had closed in March. Lt. Governor Rowell, though, felt that ten years would be too long in office. Local businessman Knox White won over contenders from Spartanburg to run as a Republican for the second spot.
In a surprise move, Assemblyman Theo Mitchell, of Greenville, decided to run for the Democratic nomination. He had previously served in Columbia as a Representative in the SC House. He was in office in 1983, but commuted from Greenville where he had a law practice. He had run for election for the new government in 1984 and had served on the Piedmont Corrections and Penology Committee in the Assembly. Assemblyman Mitchell was the first African-American to ever seek the office. Mitchell's work as a civil rights lawyer had made him popular among the large African-American community in Greenville and he was able to use this to his advantage.
The primaries in May had set Workman against Mitchell in November. Leaders in both parties hoped that neither candidate would play up the "race" card. But Mitchell had been a vocal opponent of the war in Anderson, saying that he wanted no part in a "white man's war" against a black republic. However, he supported the continued peace keeping forces in the DMZ. Workman meanwhile, ran on his record. And that was good enough.
The Search for Survivors
With re-election past, Workman made finding more South Carolina survivors a priority. He authorized National Guardsman and some Navy personnel to venture down the Pacolet River out of Spartanburg county in search of surviving villages down toward Columbia. It was felt that anyone along I-26 and I-385 would have long ago reached Greenville or Spartanbug counties. However, as the river widened in Union county, it was supposed that small groups may have survived. The first search parties set out on June 21, the first day of summer, 1991. It had been almost eight years since Doomsday.
On the same day, along the Saluda River south of Greenville, a team of soldiers with two civilians along, set out on a similar expedition. Like the Spartanburg team, they would mostly float down river, using poles and oars, and preserve their fuel for the trip home.
First Contact: United Christian Church, formerly Lockhart Baptist Church. Meeting place for a survivalist community of 80 adults and 200 children - on the banks of the Pacolet River. Town leaders include the pastor of the church. The area is sustained by gardens and livestock, as well as hunting for wild game.
No Trespassing: Henderson Island, faded signs, but obviously meant to be taken seriously, found on trees along the banks of the island. Evidence of recent activity along the banks as well, but no contact made. Inhabitants seem to have been hiding.Hurricane: Significant damage is seen due to the hurricane of 1989, which had skimmed past Spartanburg's eastern boundaries. The expedition wondered if the survivors they had encountered in Lockhart had dealt with refugees from that storm, for they had seen little evidence of damage in the town. As the expedition got closer to Columbia, the once green ground became as bare as a moonscape, radiation levels, even after seven years, were dangerously high. All hope was given up for human settlement any further down stream. Having used up most of their provisions, the team powered up their motors and headed home.
Putting in at a boat landing just outside of the military outpost in Pelzer, the team "set sail" in three medium size canoes. Each canoe held three people and a light-weight bicycle which was folded into a carrying case. Each also was equipped with an electric trolling motor.
Vandalized: A private estate only a little over five miles south of Greenville county is found in charred ruins, the buildings seemed to have been looted before being torched.
Power Plant: A little farther down the river, the team reached their first portage. The dam at Ware Shoals. This facility had provided power for the town and much of the surrounding area for over 75 years. Unfortunately, the powerhouse downstream had been knocked out with the EMP and needed to be rebuilt before any of the electricity could reach the area's homes and businesses.
Fiefdoms: Just beyond the southern most point of the Piedmont Republic is the small town of Ware Shoals. The town is reduced to barricaded city blocks each supporting a single family or commune. There does not seem to be much interaction between neighborhoods, and distrust abounds. Several people voice the opinion that no outsiders need intrude. Among members of the expedition some express the view this may be an attempt to become less of a target to outlaws and raiders. The water treatment plant on the river outside town, having set unattended since losing power seven years earlier, overflows with sewage, contaminating the river all points south. Despite this, the plant appears to have been kept intact.
Squatters: The pollutants disperse as the river fills the man-made Lake Greenwood. The banks of the lake have begun to wash up against the mansions and lake houses as very little water is getting through the dam due to lack of power to allow the controlled flow. Many of the formerly luxury accommodations are occupied by squatters living off the land.
Since the dam was only letting a trickle out, the expedition leaves a team at "base camp" as they take bicycles down highway 34 as far as Newberry. They find the town abandoned, possibly by some of the squatters that ended up on Lake Greenwood. The super markets had apparently been gutted of all their wares in the first months after a flood of refugees arrived from Columbia, some forty miles away. The Geiger counters measured significant amounts of radioactivity in the soil and dust on structures everywhere. Little hope was held out for any survivors being found south of Newberry, so the team members rode back to Lake Greenwood for the motorized trip upstream to Greenville.
Having traveled south along the rivers, the Workman government began to follow up on reports from private explorers from the northern villages of the Republic. It had been known for years that there was a thriving community centered in Asheville, a mere thirty-five miles from Traveler's Rest. In fact, the town of Hendersonville was a popular trading center for most of the rural population of northern Greenville county. It was not until March 30, 1994, though, that Lt. Governor Knox White had personally flown in a Cessna twin engine plane to survey Henderson and Buncombe counties. As the plane approached the air space of the Asheville Municipal Airport, however, it was intercepted by two larger planes bearing what looked to be a the Buncombe county seal. What appeared to be barrels of several guns were mounted on wings. The two planes converged to fly beside one another in front of the Cesna, and then began to bank into a descent towards the air strip.
The pilot, Lt. Richard Shaw of the Piedmont State Police, began a descent with the Cessna, which like it's northern counterpart was bearing its government's flag, behind the "escorts," figuring correctly that this was an "invitation" to land. Upon landing, White and Shaw were escorted by armed officers into the terminal building where they met with the leadership Asheville and Buncombe County. The counties in North Carolina had not yet combined their governments into a formal state, but the Asheville government seemed to have be de facto head of the region's political affairs. The mayor of Asheville had been impressed by the report of such an organized state to the south. Requesting a private audience with White, the mayor traded "war stories" and pertinent strategies that would lead to a formal organization of the "Provisional Republic of Blue Ridge" four years later.
In June, a series of meetings were held in Hendersonville in which the governments of both Piedmont and Asheville expanded on the informal trade agreements that had been going on for a decade between that town and rural residents of Piedmont.
1994 Gubernatorial RaceThe race for Piedmont governor began early in the Democratic Party, with Assemblyman Nick Theodore, of Greenville, pitted against fellow Democratic Representative Elizabeth "Liz" Patterson of Spartanburg. In the Republican party, Lt. Gov. Knox White faced token opposition which he easily defeated.
Expecting a tough fight in the fall against fellow Greenvillian Theodore, White was as surprised as most everyone to find that Liz Patterson had apparently won by a slim margin. A recount would find that late voting in the Simpsonville district had made the difference. White thought that he would breeze through the November race. But he was wrong.
In November, voting was heavy. Democratic Party chief had run an intense voter registration drive among minorities. He had been to Toccoa, and had seen the oppression that the regime there waged against the African American community (some called it slavery). He warned that such could happen in the cities of Piedmont if White were elected. The continuing occupation of Anderson county was another point he played up. And so, the energetic "black vote" was greater than the lethargic Republicans. A low turnout in the counties was overwhelmed by a high one in the cities. Patterson won by three percentage points.
The Expulsion of Theo MitchellIn 1995, Assemblyman Theo Mitchell had run afoul of the developing tax laws of the Republic of Piedmont. Having spent heavily on an unsuccessful campaign for Lt. Governor in 1994, Mitchell had sheltered some of his expenses in what he thought was a loophole. He had not reported a total of P$ 10,000 of personal income that he had used to support himself. The courts thought otherwise.
Since he had been convicted in a court of law, the assemblyman faced jail time. The General assembly debated for 36 hours straight until Lt. Governor Bob Carr (R), of Easley, closed discussion and called for a vote. When the vote went against him, Mitchell had to be restrained. He was escorted out of the chamber to a waiting jail cell. Gov. Patterson commuted his sentence to a fine plus time served and called for a special election as soon as possible. Local editor and political activist, Robert Jones, IV, was elected by a slim margin over Nick Theodore, former Assemblyman from Greenville.
Mitchell, seeing that his political fortunes were dashed in the Republic of Piedmont, sought and received citizenship in the Islamic Republic of Anderson. He had received assurances from Royall Jenkins that he would have freedom to practice his Christian faith, though he would not enjoy full citizenship if he did not "join the nation." That was good enough for Mitchell. He moved to a lake house on Lake Hartwell, offering his legal services to any who would accept the license issued by the Jenkins' regime.
The Great Drought
Weather patterns being the way they are, a drought in the upstate was expected. However, the Piedmontian government had not expected what began in the summer of 1998. The abundant crops had sufficed since mandatory gardens and then commercial greenhouses had produced far more than the population could use. Canned and dried produce, prepared the "old fashioned way," had become a prime bartering media throughout the republic. The farmer's markets in Traveler's Rest and Wahalla had been exporting produce to Blue Ridge for years. This commerce would be curtailed significantly, though, beginning in the winter of 1998. The output of farms from Long Creek to Pacolet was reduced by fifty-five percent in the fall of 1998. Commercial greenhouses began to demand more water from the aquifer. Prices for commercially grown food increased at the very time that the need for it was growing. Some poorly run family gardens had failed altogether.
The Patterson Administration did what it could to stem what it saw were inequities in the distribution of food. More government programs were started in September just as it became obvious that the crops were failing. Taxes on businesses of all kinds went up, pushing the prices of all kinds of goods up as well. The home gardeners, seeking to beat the system, bartered with canned goods, lowering the emergency supply that had been set aside. Facing re-election challenges, Patterson reversed herself on the tax hikes, seeking to use price controls instead. She went down in defeat in November, but pledged to do what she could before leaving office on January first. Former Lt. Gov. Knox White won the rematch promising less government and lower taxes. This time, the middle-class white vote had come out strong, reversing the results of the 1994 Democratic victory.
The drought would define White's first term. As the drought continued, "international relations" became crucial. With some of the watershed that fed the republic being in what had recently become the Blue Ridge Republic, the neighbors to the north became essential to the health of the Piedmont Republic. As White continued his contacts with the new government of Blue Ridge, he learned of East Tennessee and the larger nation-states of Kentucky and Virginia. Contact with these governments built trust and assurance of survival in the coming years. By the time the 2002 elections come around, he was assured re-election having saved the Republic from the greatest threat since Doomsday.
Rising to the Challenges of the New Millennium
The Terrorist Threat
Though the hostilities had ended between Anderson and the Toccoa Falls regime, the Tocooans had never stopped fighting the peacekeeping efforts of the Piedmontan government. While troops remained in Williamston and Oconee counties, terrorists acting as political refugees, were able to penetrate the defenses. Able to find support among the criminal elements of the Oconee county, the terrorists had begun sporadic attacks on citizens and government facilities in Seneca and Clemson. However, the attacks seem to have been only a diversion.
On December 31, 2000, the last day of the twentieth century, a capacity crowd had gathered in Greenville Memorial Auditorium to celebrate the coming of the twenty-first century. Governor White and his family had opted to attend the public fireworks display across town at the Municipal Stadium, but was scheduled to give an short address at 12:45 AM, January 1, 2001. The explosions that took down the auditorium had been timed to coincide with the opening fireworks that marked the new year.
The screams of hundreds of surviving victims were muffled by tons of rubble as the auditorium imploded, falling in on itself. Over four thousand died, and most of the survivors had life changing injuries. There was immediate outrage, but no one claimed responsibility for the travesty. The White administration ordered an immediate investigation by the Piedmont Bureau of Investigation (PBI) and authorized the Office of International Intelligence (OII) to begin investigating both Toccoa and Anderson for possible links to the atrocity.
Though no immediate claims were made, the results on the populace of Greenville and all of Piedmont were apparently just as the terrorists had wanted. All roads leading into the state - even from friendly Blue Ridge - were "closed" to open travel. Guard stations were added and a system of identification papers was introduced that had once been considered unnecessary among American survivor states. Citizens were advised to dress conservatively, including groomed haircuts for men, to avoid being stopped by authorities. This was in response to the perception that Toccoans tended to have longer unkempt hair and beards.
By 2008, agents deep in the Toccoa Falls regime had been able to gather enough information to call in additional help from willing intelligence agencies around the southeast. Agents from the Virginian Bureau of Investigation, in fact, had been recruited to train men and women throughout northeast Georgia in covert operations. It was hoped that by the end of 2010 a popular uprising would be able to topple the aging dictators and their lieutenants and set up a new government.
Governor White, reluctant in some ways in the measures taken to assure security, signed the laws into effect. His popularity saw dips and his opponent in the 2002 primaries was able to play on the fears of some. But overall, the population was supportive of the increasing role of government in the way their lives were lived. The measures taken, though, strengthened the conservatives in the Republican party allowing Assemblyman Robert Jones to rise to power in 2006. As a curious consequence to the security measures, Jones would become the first governor in the republic's history to become internationally recognized. The re-introduction of television in 2006 made Jones' weekly addresses visible even as the transmitter towers were being improved.
The Election of 2006
As early as 1990 efforts had begun to restore modern technology to a state comparable to mid-twentieth century standards. The EMP from space, along with those from the bombs over many of the capitals and industrialized cities around North America, had effectively destroyed much of the solid state and transistorized electronics. Old style electronics, that depended on tubes and capacitors, and such, had survived intact in attics and basements, but these required more energy - a commodity that was rare in the early days. With little or no trade with the industrialized world, however, "American Ingenuity" thrived. Equipment was salvaged, and backward engineering produced equipment similar to that which the fortunate family might have had in 1960. By 2000, television sets were showing up in community centers and churches - old sets donated and fitted with new tuners capable of pulling in locally produced material. However, there was not much to see on the small screen. Movie cameras and theaters were more commonly the way to get the videos of news and entertainment to the people.
Radio, however, had been in use since the first early transmitters had been restored in 1986. As with TV's, though, receivers were far from common. The major form of communication, even into the new millennium, was the printed page. And the premier publisher in the Republic of Piedmont was Robert R. Jones, IV. Having graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in journalism, he had begun working for the Piedmont News. He continued in school, receiving a Masters in Communications. Although he was the son of the president of the University, he had received very little support in his choice of study and subsequent career. It had been assumed that he would one day take over for his father, Bob Jones III. When the younger Jones went into politics, plans went ahead to prepare Jones' younger brother Steven for the position. The brothers, consequentially, took leading roles in two realms in the same year. Steven Jones easily became the fourth president of Bob Jones University in 2006. His brother ascended to the position of governor of the Republic of Piedmont on the first day of 2007 after a far more contested "race."
Despite the support Bob Jones University had been in the building of the republic, politicians on both ends of the spectrum, and from all over the republic, rose up in opposition to what was seen as a proxy religious government ruled from the corner of Wade Hampton and Pleasantburg by the outspoken chancellor Bob Jones III. His son had fought an uphill battle to distinguish himself as an independent voice ever since his graduation. Having laid his soul into the newspaper, he began speaking out on the local secular radio stations as well. His political commentary in the years since "1-1-1" built support for the White Administration's draconian efforts to prevent any more terrorists' strikes. In the fall of 2005, Robert Jones had begun filming his radio talks for presentation in theaters. He began working with technicians to move the process toward live broadcasts to television sets as soon as possible. Despite resistance in the primaries, Jones went on to a narrow win in November, becoming the republic's fourth governor. As paper ballots were unpacked at the Greenville court house from voting places all over the republic, live television cameras caught all the action of the counting of the votes. Every available room in the building had workers counting votes, each running the results to the control room after independent teams confirmed the counts.
It was not known how far the signal carried that night, but by the time word reached Greenville that contact had been made with the "outside world" in the fall of 2009, people as far away as Rome, Georgia, had reported having received an occasional signal. The twentieth century had been reclaimed. Now the twenty-first could not be far behind.
The Demint AdministrationThe election of 2010 proved a successful transition from Lt. Governor to Governor for Jim Demint. It had been feared that Gov. Jones would run as an Independent and put the result in question - or at least into a rematch in December. But Robert "Bob" Jones, IV, had decided that losing to his more popular lieutenant in the primaries was a message that personal freedoms were valued over security. Demint, though, has promised to continue a vigilance on the Republic's western border would be a major priority for his administration.
Republicans held onto both houses of the legislature, as expected, though there were some Democratic gains in both the legislature and some city governments.
At ceremonies in Greenville, James Warren DeMint was sworn in as governor of the Republic at noon, January 1, 2011. The activities of the day were all held at the new Memorial Federal Building on the grounds of the site of the terrorist attack ten years previously. The twenty-story structure had taken most of the decade in planning and building, bringing in labor and materials from as far away as Delmarva and Kentucky. The dedication ceremonies, in fact, had preceded the inauguration of DeMint as Governor Jones' final official act. The Memorial chapel on the ground floor was the site of a non-denominational service on the morning of January 2, 2011 featuring the Rev. Billy Graham and Dr. Bob Jones III in a show of unity unknown in the days before Doomsday.
Re-election in 2014 was seen as a mandate for DeMint to continue his campaign for a strong economy in the Republic. However, when the Jenkins regime threatened expansion against the international sanctions handed down from the League of Nations, government spending for military increased dramatically.
When the threat from Toccoa had been neutralized when Virginian forces were sent in to unilaterally destroy the neo-nazi regime in northeast Georgia, the Republic had hoped to become a regional economic powerhouse. With war looming in the south, though, officials in Pickens County begged for federal troops. The tax increases of 2015 have caused a rise in calls to join the USA.
The US Reunion Movement
Back behind the microphone and at his typewriter, Bob Jones, IV, has taken to the cause of reunion with the reconstituted United States of America. Having served in politics in the Republic, including the governor's office for four years, the publisher and news commentator is well versed in the constitution of both the United States and the Republic of Piedmont. Therefore, he has been working for years to make sure that the Republic can easily become a part of a bigger America.
However, there have arisen some factions among the Republican Party that fear a return to a mettlesome federal government "ruling" from afar. These spokesmen for state sovereignty have made arguments that have reverberated among the populace that is satisfied with the minor changes towards conservatism that have been made to the existing state constitution.
On the other hand, there are those who fear the influence of the Committee to Restore the United States of America (CRUSA) upon local politics. The activist group, though well meaning, is seen as "liberal rabble rousers" that want the return of "big government." The Democratic Party, however, has no official stand on reunion, nor on the CRUSA. Individual politicians, though, have stated their support for the cause.
As word came from out of Torrington, where the chairman of CRUSA made an appearance on Saturday, March 19, 2011, before the US Congress before continuing his tour of American nations, excitement has arisen in the unofficial cells of CRUSA supporters and unionists alike. Reports on March 21 have come from many states, though the activities in the Caribbean have drawn the most notice in the newsrooms of the Republic's main media centers.
The enthusiasm for reunification waned over time. By the reelection of Governor DeMint, very little activity was making the news in the Republic. The offices of CRUSA had closed, though contacts in Torrington kept in touch with local supporters. In the halls of Congress in the USA, there has been little interest in the expansion.
Not directly or indirectly related to the reunion movement, the establishment of the Piedmont Braves baseball club as a Major League team in 2011 has been seen as another sign pointing to the revival of America.
The Braves had been scheduled to begin as a minor league team in 1984, following the completion of the Municipal Stadium late in 1983. The stadium had become an emergency staging area for refugees in the winter following Doomsday. One of the first things the new government did in 1986, though, was to establish the return of semi-pro baseball at the stadium. The first season for the "Greenville Braves" was in 1987, with three members of the team being players that had moved to Greenville the summer of 1983.
Other teams of the old SAL ("Sally league") located in the upstate and western North Carolina, along with teams made of college graduates who had played at schools such as Clemson, created the Piedmont Baseball League in 1986 with three teams - The Greenville Braves, the Spartanburg Spartans, and the Clemson Orange. This would be joined by the Asheville Tourists and the Morristown Smokies in 1988.
In 2010, baseball club managers from all over the southeast began communicating with the idea to begin "Major League Baseball" all across the region. As a result, key teams from regional leagues were chosen to compete in the inaugural season in 2011. The Greenville Braves officially changed its name to the Piedmont Braves to reflect its new "national" stature.
The Braves became one of the charter teams in the Southern League that began play in 2011, hosting the season opener at Municipal Stadium in Greenville, drawing large crowds eager to see their home team compete in the sport that is considered pre-DD America's "national pastime."