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What would happen if the United States government instantly dissolved and each state became a sovereign nation?

Back Matter

At least 33 of the requisite 34 States [1]can be considered to have called for a Constitutional Convention as of this past May (according to this article).

Further there is both a balanced budget amendment effort (currently 28 states have affirmatively indicated the desire to do so) – until last year (2017) 32 of the requisite 34 states had affirmed accordingly. Two states were all that stood between a Balanced Budget Amendment convention being required of our Congresscritters.

A second better orchestrated and financed effort is underway that calls for a new Constitutional Convention dubbed “The Convention of States”. As of this month (Sept. 2018) [2] 12 states have already affirmed within the past 3 years while another 37 states have a Convention of States resolution introduced for consideration.

As of this year a mock constitutional convention held sometime during 2016 in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia [3]… and it apparently spurred at least 27 propositions to do so in its aftermath. All for the cost of a million dollar “dress rehearsal”. Video here [4].

I was unable to quickly ascertain when these are to be considered or under what circumstances the 27+ state legislatures would consider them.

Third is the Wolf PAC effort to overturn SCOTUS’ Citizens United decision. Only 5 states have signed onto this resolution so far. Currently this is the least likely event.

FUN FACT: Technically each State is an independent nation. The Constitution is, keeping it very simple, an interstate compact between all of the member States. A more modern execution of part of this can be found in the European Union.

FAIR WARNING: this is (hopefully) fiction and not future-fact.


Prologue – the Calm before the Storm

7th November 2016 – 5th November 2018 – smoke-filled rooms across the country attended by no journalists and few secretaries not deemed trustworthy by the Deep Pockets of the American political landscape. What substances create the smoke in these rooms remains subject to conjecture.

Persons as yet to be identified during this time hold a series of meetings masked behind other gatherings of conglomerate and/or corporate importance across both “sides” of American political discourse. Despairing of the rapidly accelerating divisiveness and unwillingness of their puppet politicians at the federal level to get the things done that they want done in a timely manner, at least two different groups of people with deep pockets and similarly deep political conviction independently arrive at the same conclusion: the United States must be saved from itself.

Anonymous sources of money screened behind lawyers and accountants of great skill and expense set this into motion, moving faster and more effectively than the typical party machines do. After all, they control many of the lobbyists and by extension know where many closeted skeletons rest and whom is more susceptible to timely campaign contributions at the less-well-examined state and local government levels. During this time a dozen or two skeletons are “accidentally” let loose from choice closets at the federal level – often with minimal substantiation that eager journalists and overeager internet slacktivists jump on without so much as a “why?” – with the objective of paralyzing their opponents’ parties with a projected end result of a truly vapor-locked Congress.

Each anonymous monied faction believes that they have enough influence and wealth to successfully sway, by hook and by crook, the delegates of the 50 States at a much lower cost than they’ve been collectively paying at the federal level since 1945.

6th November 2018 – Election Day Results, 11: 59 p.m. Eastern

Both the House and the Senate are evenly divided between the Democratic and Republican political parties – Congress has 217 Democrats, 217 Republicans and 1 Independent Congresscritter. Vice-President Pence looks forward to exercising the Vice-President’s power of casting more deciding votes in the Senate.


Chapter One – Twizzard 2019

3rd January 2019 – 116th Congress of the United States begins its first year

435 Congresscritters, 100 Senators and 6 non-voting delegates are sworn into office. The first order of business is a solemn one:

A solemn procession of men and women of almost every ethnicity and political persuasion from 39 States, more than the requisite of 34, present to Congress a resolution calling for a Convention of States to Amend the Constitution of the United States. 39 States is also 1 more than the number necessary to ratify any Amendment of the Constitution regardless of Congressional opinions to the contrary.

Fueled by the accelerating corrosive divisiveness of political ideology, the 39 States in question feel that this is the best way to resolve their differences “for the good of all Americans, indeed the world, as was necessary to establish the Union during the first Constitutional Convention of 1787–1789.”

The decision is driven home with a well-timed quote from George Washington’s Farewell Address:

“If in the opinion of the People the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates.”

As with many such timed quotes the entirety of it is not utilized, “just the part necessary to get the job done,” according to one delegate.

There are no committees in the House and Senate as the language is clear as regards Congress’ duty in this matter.

One Congresscritter is noted as bitterly remarking “Twelve thousand proposed Amendments to the Constitution with but seventeen of these ratified since 1789. 230 years this Republic has weathered a brutal civil war and both of the World Wars. For the past 74 years an uneasy peace across the globe has been maintained at great expense of blood and treasure. Within five years and quite possibly much sooner than that all of this, our beloved house of cards, will crumble before our eyes. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it.”

Congress attempts to delay the convention but the delegates are not having any of it. The Second Convention of States is to convene once more in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia on Friday the 15th of March 2019.

4th January – 14th March 2019

POTUS’ inevitable tweet storms and the 116th Congress’ inability to cooperate towards governance of the country swiftly bury the Convention of the States alongside a miserable winter. Every now and then either of the deep pocket groups backing part of the 39 states’ delegates shake loose another “federal closet skeleton”. Mueller’s investigation continues apace, indictments continue and further trials are held with great difficulty at times in securing as close to an unprejudiced jury as is deemed possible throughout the D.C. Beltway region.

Congressional vapor-lock stymies attempts to get a formal federal budget passed before the looming deadline of 22nd March 2019. They do manage to eke out an increase of the debt limit during a relatively violent series of “floor debates” mere minutes before the 1st March 2019 deadline with the Independent Congresscritter breaking the vapor-lock in the House and Vice-President Pence (wisely) doing the same in the Senate.

15th March 2019, Friday, 9 a.m. EST, Williamsburg, Virginia

The Convention of States’ delegates gather for a half-day to outline the agenda and collate proposed amendments for further deliberation by the States’ delegates. The Convention of States puts to motion, passed unanimously, to begin deliberations proper on Monday the 19th of March at 10 a.m.

16th-17th March 2019 (Saturday and Sunday)

POTUS tweets his brains out, setting a personal record for the number of tweets sent in a 26-hour period around a campaign rally near his resort in Mar-a-Largo, Florida before taking a McDogmeat’s break.

During the so-called “Twizzard 2019” POTUS manages to disparage and insult almost every delegate to the Convention of States. 800 misspelled words and 475 tweets later the mockery is matched only by the furor of the talking heads across the internet and the Talking Head Networks, aka “opinion-based programming”. Chris Evans calls POTUS “Biff” 47 times before he gives up.

Alex Jones endures an apoplectic aneurysm ranting about chem-trails during a “greatest hits” re-enactment stream with no one vaguely important noticing until he keels over during a live stream, foaming at the mouth in front of a fraction of his former viewership. POTUS attempts to call in, but just off-camera someone can be seen rifling through Jones’ pockets and desk drawers for loose change, a fifth of cheap bourbon and a bag of hand-rolled cigarettes before dialing 911 on his phone and setting it on the side of his head. No one answers the phone in the studio. Luckily for Mr. Jones the 911 operator figures out that he needs medical attention, dispatching an ambulance to the studio in time to save his life.

18th-22nd March 2019 (Monday – Thursday), Williamsburg, Virginia

What starts out as a bi-partisan effort to address the perceived grievances by the 39 States degenerates rather swiftly into 100 bickering fools that make little headway against each other’s entrenched, rancorous positions. Enterprising sorts quickly realize that ratings gold are to be had during the viperous debates that break out into open fisticuffs with some regularly. First streaming on the internet the live coverage expands to C-SPAN before the first day is out, then across the news-hungry networks as the heated debates continue unabated.

Journalists of all stripes having busied themselves during the weekend are positing various takes on the delegates and assorted political know-it-alls, some of whom actually know what they’re talking about, chime in to lap up their minutes of fame.

Not to be outdone POTUS and Congress have their own versions of this liveliest awfulness. Spin doctors in the White House and Congress camp out in the building, crates of pizza are delivered along with cases of donuts and beverages, and the supply of coffee in the building is nearly depleted.

“Twizzard 2019” continues during these days, with aides at the Convention of States showing POTUS’ tweets to their delegates. Delegates, some at least, gleefully take advantage of the live cameras to give “American rude eagles” and harsh rebukes to POTUS. All of this feeds the viciousness of this ongoing media circus while simultaneously stymieing progress during the convention.

Congresscritters do not deign to fisticuffs in the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill. Their aides and interns, however, are not Congresscritters. Fights do break out as tempers flare and water-optional glass pitchers are only occasionally smashed into the sides of the heads of their nemeses. Ratings gold transmutes into platinum.

22nd March 2019, 10:47 p.m. EST, Williamsburg, Virginia – a thunderstorm roils outside, knocking out power. Back-up generators cough, sputter then rumble to life in the media trucks surrounding the Convention’s building like a school of white bristly prehistoric piranha. Emergency lights cast the harried and scruffy appearances of the delegates in grim lighting with the rumble of thunder and blue-white flashes of lightning strikes outside add to the palpable atmosphere of loathing in the chamber.

Congress, infighting over the FY 2019 (23 March – 31 Sept 2019) federal budget cannot spare much attention to the Convention of States in Williamsburg, VA. Aides and interns throughout Capitol Hill and the White House are paying attention as best they can. POTUS is asleep as he expects to awaken at 5:00 a.m. to continue the awesomeness of “Twizzard 2019” into its eighth consecutive day.

Throats raw, black eyes, bruises, assorted sprains and a few broken bones have not dissuaded the delegates from their task.

Someone proposes that since the Convention of States cannot come to any agreement that the Constitution of the United States is forfeit and the federal government along with it. A brawl almost erupts before the Chairperson bullhorns the delegates into some semblance of order.

Cell phones buzz in pockets, texts are read, faces are alarmed but exhausted, battered heads nod in agreement.

“We few gathered here in historic Colonial Williamsburg cannot agree to anything save that the federal government of the United States has come to fail all Americans.

“The motion is put forward to dissolve the Constitution of the United States and thereby the federal government of the United States, that the sovereign States therein exercise full and due independence from this dissolved government, including all treaties and agreements with other nations and extra-national bodies such as but not limited to the United Nations, effective immediately to be implemented on the 23rd of June in the Year of Our Lord 2019.

“All States for, answer ‘aye’ in the affirmative.”

A hundred Ayes by roll call vote, a process that takes 25 minutes. Gasps and whispers through the Convention building once the ayes count past 75 at 11:06 p.m.

Silence, punctuated by lightning and thunder, ticks off another sixty seconds.

“The motion is carried by unanimous vote. The ayes have it.” the Chairperson stares daggers from dark baggy eyes that would slay if such a thing were viable, “and may you all burn in Hell for what you’ve done.”

11:13 p.m. Eastern Time

Washington, D.C., Capitol Hill, 23rd March 2019, 11:07 p.m. EST

Congress hashes out a continuing budget resolution to finance the federal government for the rest of FY 2019. The Independent Congresscritter and Vice-President Pence slightly slump in their chairs, sipping water and quietly talking.

11:08 p.m.

The buzzing of a thousand cell phones interrupts the sullen murmuring on Capitol Hill.

The ayes have hit 76?!

38 States have agreed to something at last! – Wait, what is it?

Dissolution of the Union by way of dissolution of the Constitution.

Are you kidding me?!

Dumbfounded. Furious. Heartbreak. Some collapse to the floor, sobbing, inconsolable. What have they done?!

11:12 p.m. Eastern Time – silence; the shock and dismay of the media; the flensing stare of the Convention chairperson; stony faces of the Convention of States delegates proof against that lethal gaze.

11:13 p.m. – “… may you all burn in Hell for what you’ve done.”


Chapter 2 – Amerexit (91 days)

23rd March – 22nd June, 2019

All 800 U.S. overseas bases are permanently closed. All material and vehicles that cannot be loaded and returned to CONUS within the operational window are sold to soon-to-be-former allies or are destroyed in place. If financial agreements cannot be reached demolitions are utilized to reduce “sensitive structures” into rubble. Some hardware assets may be dumped over certain oceanic trenches if demolitions are unavailable in sufficient quantities.

Surplus “hardware” (vehicles) might be offered in lieu of debts owed to many – but not all – nations on the tattered remnants of friendly relations with the soon-to-be-formerly United States. Europe, Japan and South Korea are especially eager to accept this arrangement, thus sparing the USN and USAF from having to haul many thousands of tons of assorted stuff back to CONUS.

294 embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions are emptied of all “classified” materials – most are simply imaged for archival purposes with their physical copies incinerated with the critical items couriered back to CONUS via diplomatic pouches – and closed by the latest of 20th June 2019 with agreements to sell (largely at fire-sale prices) to the hosting nation. Failing to reach an agreement sees the buildings are demolished in place by the latest of 21st June 2019.

HUMINT assets that are American citizens are extricated to the states. Everyone else is, unfortunately, left high and dry with few exceptions.

Immigration and refugee paperwork that cannot be resolved within the 90 day window is summarily rejected without recourse. There is no alternative and no answers available … they’ll have to wait and see what happens after Day 91.

International debts that are not settled by military hardware “exchanges” are exchanged with debts owed to us by other nations or, in some cases, voided as hostile and of no value to the component States themselves. Debts owed to authoritarian and theocratic hostile states are mysteriously “paid off” by way of “donations” to Israel. They’re going to be on their own for the most part pending European intervention. All technical dates of effect are on the 91st day.

Federal employees, including Homeland Security and by extension the Department of Defense, are “mustered out” to their home states or states of choice at a staggering pace, averaging nearly 100,000 personnel per day.

‘Federally-owned’ lands are to become property of their States effective 23rd June 2019 to do with as they see fit.

Warships and aircraft are returned to their home ports and bases, divided in apportionment to the States by population proportion (for aircraft) or by port capacities (for warships). The Coast Guard is divided among its operational structure among the hosting States.

Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Marianas/Samoan Islands and the assorted Pacific Islands not mentioned are granted full independence and autonomy from the United States on 22nd June, 2019 – whether they want it or not.

The District of Columbia is ceded to the State of Maryland effective 23rd June 2019 with the “National Park Service” areas designated by agreement as property of Maryland’s Parks and Recreation. Maryland incorporates Columbia County on the same date. On the upside former D.C. residents can no longer complain about taxation without representation. Several national memorials will not be completed anytime soon.

The States are not – cannot – be idle during this 91 day countdown. Tax structures are revised, absorbing their “mustering in” populations are accounted for (to varying degrees of competence), currencies are devised and preliminary plans are made for fifty different State Departments.

Given the generally ridiculous amount of redundancies of federal, state and local agencies where the workloads have to go is less chaotic than one might expect. Training and space to accommodate the greater workloads present the greater logistical problems.

Fearing the probable chaos and noting the looming currency catastrophe before them many non-citizens either return to their countries of origin or simply travel elsewhere, legally or otherwise. Legal emigration from the U.S. probably becomes effectively impossible, excepting certain highly sought-after skill sets.

Quite a few of the Filthy Rich quietly leave the country for places they either own outright or that they perceive to be far safer havens. More remain, determined to see things put to right.

Many people are going to be stuck where they’re at at the end of the 91st day.

Through Herculean efforts and diplomacy the world keeps its poo together for 91 days, waiting with baited breath to see what happens to the United States.

Every person in the U.S., in the final act of the U.S. Treasury, is issued one (1) troy ounce of gold bullion. Foreign reserves are returned to their owners.

(Note: I am short-cutting this a bit. I believe that while there would be some panicking and general horribleness, a lot of people would step up and work towards holding things together, however hard it may be, from the bottom up.)


Chapter 3 – B-Day (Balkanization Day), b.k.a. “Hell Day”

23rd June, 2019

The U.S. dollar ceases to exist, and with it anything and everything valued in the now-extinct currency. Treasury bonds, stocks and everything else valued in dollars is worth the paper they’re printed on. At least it’s pretty, more or less.

Well, okay, the notes are hideous, but they’re reasonably useful as kindling.

The entire federal government is gone.

The War on Drugs is over. So is the cash cow for the drug czars.

Illegal immigration across the Canadian and Mexican borders becomes a problem for Canada and Mexico.

International travel is measured in distances of not more than a few hundred miles. In much of the former U.S. you can reach an international border in an hour by car (in New England) or at most a day (especially west of the Mississippi), with many now-international borders within 200–250 miles.

There is no air travel across these borders. The FAA went away. It will take time for the States to hammer out accords, agreements and so forth, a process of years.

The States promptly nationalize the internet and their military assets, incorporating them into their State National Guard and Reserve units.

Previously national-level companies become international entities overnight. Most likely they’ll have to individually incorporate offices in each State.

Hopefully the logistics wizards at Wal-Mart and Amazon – alongside the internet brains running Alphabet, Apple and Amazon Web Services – will step up to make things as smooth as possible for the “fifty new countries”, probably wrangling some reasonable concessions in the bargain. If they uphold their end of their corporate citizenship, however, the likelihood of being summarily nationalized by one or more States is greatly reduced, making such “patriotic cooperation” well within their own best interests.


Chapter 4 – The Dogs of War

Internationally “the Great Satan” has fallen to its hubris. Jihadists rejoice for a time before proceeding to attempt to obliterate each other over dogma.

The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China might sign a larger military and economic alliance with each other for a 25-year period in light of the balkanization of CONUS.

China and Russia almost certainly faces asymmetric warfare in the vast swath of ‘stans around the Caspian Sea stretching from the Kazakh steppes all the way south to the ever-cooperative (and nuclear-armed) Pakistanis.

Iran absorbs Iraq, recreating Persia in all but name, jump-starting their nuclear weapons program in a hurry.

Turkey, Syria and perhaps the Kingdom of Jordan form an alliance, perhaps in a partnership of convenience with Russia (especially if China and Russia can’t hash out a more extensive agreement).

Islamic Northern Africa continues to be a hot mess, although Egypt is highly motivated to calm things down in their neck of the woods.

The Arabian Peninsula likely results in a gory bloodbath in Yemen with war potentially breaking out between the now-unsupported by NATO Sauds and Iran. Missiles and planes streak across the Persian Gulf. Michael Bay would be proud of the conflagration were it not for the human carnage.

Europe ratifies a European Defense Treaty out of necessity, all concepts of re-balkanization discarded during the previous 91 days, although Brexit still happens. The rest of Europe, buoyed by Germany, France, Scandinavia and Italy, comes together and deals with their Syrian refugee problem one way or another. Note that this may not be especially … pleasant for these incredibly unfortunate refugees. 😦

China will easily fulfill its short-term geopolitical goals with the USN no longer a going concern in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean. The Australian and Indian navies are another matter … but China has an aircraft carrier or two, whereas India might have one.

China acquires Taiwan aka Formosa aka what-was-once Nationalist China. China very likely establishes economic hegemony throughout the western Pacific.

Russia moves swiftly to annex the Ukraine in its entirety. Odds seems likely that they’ll gobble up Belarus and Moldova before Europe firms up its membership to include Finland, the Baltic States and much of the rest of the pre-WW2 border with the Soviet Union. Refugees attempting to flee the carnage in the Middle East are far less likely to make it across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Central and South America are a mess. Either they pull themselves together or degenerate into internecine warfare … and I’m not optimistic about the former. Venezuela completely devolves into anarchy, acting as a massive destabilization factor in South America since China no longer needs to concern themselves with Venezuelan oil when they have ready access to local resources of same within the Chinese Co-Prosperity Sphere that dominates most of the Pacific Ocean. Mexico is able to finally crush the drug lords who no longer have a cash cow to the north, although the pseudo-civil war is a bloody, costly affair.

All of this takes some 15–20 years’ time, during which the U.S. has fallen off of the “bad actor’s” geopolitical radar for all practical purposes.


Chapter 5 – Mending Fences

During the years of global carnage outlined above the Fifty States reorganize and “re-calibrate”, forced to attain either substantial or total self-sufficiency whenever at all possible. The Second Great Depression results in a lot of deaths and economic destruction before emerging into a necessarily balanced economy.

After a few years of this, probably including a few skirmishes over strategic resources such as fresh water sources, air travel and the like, they eventually come to the realization that the Old Ways weren’t so bad, more or less. A Third Constitutional Convention is held in a series of meetings. Initially over the internet eventually a series of meetings is held at each of the fifty States’ capitol cities.

During this period of 10–15 years import dependencies are, by requirement (lacking anything in the way of valued currency – state-issued and/or corporate script isn’t worth much compared to the incredibly stable Swiss franc these days) a non-issue. “If we can’t grow it or make it ourselves, we don’t need it. Figure out another solution.”

The northern States become good buddies with Canada, as do most of the States while the southwestern States figure out a way to get along with Mexico – probably quite well, necessity forcing the issue. The Gulf states cultivate better relationships with their Caribbean neighbors, helping each other out as best they can while enduring the repeated batterings from multiple hurricanes every year.

Eventually a new United States of America is fashioned from the crucible of separation. This time there is greater cultural distinctions between the States, but the hindsight of B-Day and the ensuing carnage and chaos has reforged a stronger America. A strong federal government has proven necessary to facilitate powerful interstate economies unified by a single currency, interstate travel without checkpoints and tariffs every 50–500 miles or so and an aggressively defended internet as well as fostering and maintaining a capable military force that finds itself taking on a rapid updating of armaments program across all branches of defense.

Most of the “old Constitution” is reconstituted in plainer American English 250 years after the First Constitutional Convention.

Perhaps we find ourselves in a position once more to aid old allies and to those who have endured 20+ years of chaos and carnage without intercession or intervention.

Footnotes

[1] Counting to Two Thirds: How Close Are We to a Convention for Proposing Amendments to the Constitution?

[2] U.S. Constitution Threatened as Article V Convention Movement Nears Success

[3] How a mock convention is helping fuel a movement to change the Constitution

[4] Convention of States Action