“Good morning everybody, I am Professor Lisa Rodgers and this is Governmental Theory 3410.”
“Have you ever had her before?” Mica quietly asks Marian.
“Nope, but I heard she is really good. She’s not very popular among the faculty, being more conservative than most. It’s why I signed up for this class actually. I like having a different perspective on stuff like this. Plus she’s my aunt.”
“I’m assuming every one of you in here belong here. If not, please leave quietly.”
No one budges.
“Good. Let’s get started then. Does anyone know when the law stating that a President of the United States could only serve two terms was discontinued?” As she expects, nobody raises their hand. “It was in 2020. Okay. Let’s see if you know this piece of historical information: Who here has heard of the electoral college?”
Very few know the answer but no one raises their hand.
“That was not a rhetorical question.”
Marian shoots her hand into the air.
“Yes.” Still no expression, despite Marian’s enthusiasm.
“Wasn’t it how we elected the president in the late 20th century?”
“Yes it was and it even lasted a few years in this century. Do you know how it worked by any chance?”
Marian, impressed with herself, nudges Mica and nods her head like a boss.
“Marian.” Mica nudges her back and points to Professor Rodgers.
“Sorry,” Marian begins to blush. “Can you repeat the question?”
Despite the scattered chuckles, Rodgers masks her embarrassment for her niece. “How did the electoral college work?”
Stumped, Marian shrugs her shoulders. “I don’t know, Professor.”
Mica is the only one who reluctantly raises his hand.
“One person. That’s more than I expected. Yes, go ahead Mister…”
“Rouge. Mica Rouge.”
“Go on,” Professor Rodgers says.
“Well it’s kind of complicated,” he begins, “but I guess in a nutshell, every state had a certain number of votes that went towards electing a president.”
“How many votes did each state get?” Professor Rodgers asks.
“On what? What determined the number of votes a state got?” She asks again, trying to get to the root of it all.
“The number of Senators and members of The House of Representatives.” He really wishes that somebody else knew this stuff. He looks to Marian for some support but she just shrugs her shoulders again. As soon as Mica turns back to Professor Rodgers, Marian smiles, charmed by the man sitting beside her.
“And how did a presidential nominee win the votes of a state?” Just a few more questions and the Professor will get her point across.
Mica picks his brain for this rarely used information. “Wasn’t it by a popular vote of the people in that state? All the registered voters voted and whichever candidate got the most votes won all of the state votes? It was a winner take all system.”
“Yes, that is exactly how it worked. Well kind of. It was a winner take all system in forty-eight of the fifty states. Maine and Nebraska were the sole exceptions. Why did we have a system like this and not the system we currently have?” She asks Mica, but the question is opened to the class.
“Doesn’t our system of Congress being the ones who elect a president work better?”
Mica doesn’t wait for someone to take the answer; he knows it and he knows exactly where the professor is going with this. “It’s more efficient yes, but less democratic.”
Professor Rodgers is slightly impressed with this young man. Maybe Carter was right about him.
“How so?” she asks. “We elect our Senators and Representatives. The idea of a Republic is to elect officials who we think will put our ideas forward and into action.”
“Yes, but it comes down to checks and balances,” Mica argues, finally getting to the point Professor Rodgers was aiming for. “If Congress is the one to elect the president, they can skew the results, creating a lot more room for corruption in the system. They are held less accountable by us, the people.” Mumbles and silent gasps fill the room.
“He has a point.” The Professor patiently waits for the class to calm down. There are more and finer details to this law, she thinks, but he’s brought the discussion to where she was directing it. “Senators are now in office until they die, which wasn’t always the case. The amendment that changed the way we elect a president also changed the way we elect Congress. Before we turned to the election system that we have, there were people trying to create a constitutional amendment where when we the people voted, the person with the most votes won, period, in what is called a ‘popular election.’ They wanted the voice of the people to be heard from the people themselves, not Congress and not from electoral votes.
“In 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000 all those who lost the election won the popular vote and had the most citizens voting for them. Seems pretty unjust, huh? The Electoral College was like a popular vote mixed with a congressional vote, but instead of being a democratic process it became more of a game, some might say, to win the states and not the people. But that’s politics for you.
“Back to what Mr. Rouge was saying about checks and balances and how a lack of that can create corruption. There are some that argue that the idea behind checks and balances is inefficient. It slows down progression. Too many people’s opinions in the political ring,” Rodgers folds her hands, “can cause the system to lock up.”
“And that’s a problem because?” a student asks.
“Because the government can shutdown like it has, time and time again. So,” Professor Rodgers continues, “people tried to simplify the election process in hopes of simplifying the checks and balances, but they went about it in the opposite way than most were hoping. Instead of having a popular vote from the people, the voting changed to Congress, giving more power to the Government and less to the people.”
“Why?” Marian asks herself.
“Exactly.” Professor Rodgers says, overhearing Marian’s whispered question. “So why do I bring this all up?”
Change affects everyone and it is no different for Jackson. Living in Area 38 for as long as he can remember, he knows of no better way to exist than under the tyrannical rule of Christopher Stone, son of Stewart Stone from The Nine of The United Governmental Areas, aka The UGA. This all takes a dramatic turn when Jackson finds a red, metal box buried in his yard, filled with illegal artifacts—journals, a Bible, CDs, etc.—that are from a man of whom he has no recollection of: Mica Rouge.
The year is 2036 and Mica, unlike Jackson, does know of a better way of life but is torn apart as he sees his country, The United States of America, crumbling from within by group known as The Political Mafia. The Mafia has infiltrated levels upon levels of governmental resources and it is up to Mica and a vigilante group known as The USA Division to stop them and their dark Utopian vision. To their demise, and at the country's expense, The Division fails and has no choice but to watch The Constitution dissolve and transform into The UGA.
In a final stand, having not given up hope, Mica and what is left of The Division, give one final fight in Colorado, or better known as Area 38. However, all is lost as The Division is betrayed by one of their own, Stewart Stone. Mica is left with no choice but to hide in exile, leaving what little history he can of himself and the great United States of America, with his wife, long time friends, and newly born son in hopes that they will one day finish what he could not.
Jackson, having found this legacy twenty-seven years later, decides to start the war that will end The Nine, and he with an outcast group known as The Raiders, begins his fight with Christopher Stone in Area 38. Filled with betrayal, unity, despair, hope, hate and love Area 38 follows both Mica and Jackson in their attempts to restore what they believe to be true freedom, and where one fails, the other rises to the seemingly impossible challenge.
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Genre – Dystopian Thriller
Rating – PG13
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