The paper he held in his hand was meaningless. The proposed partnership was just another attempt to draw the country into a legal mire. Long ago the country refused to acknowledge the high court’s of other nations. And they no longer respected many of the nations themselves. The President’s chuckle masked a deeper frustration. Politically, he was being pressured to enter into alliances, treaties, and agreements with the persistent neighbors to the north. The ties that bind ran deep. Families, businesses, and traditions shared by the two countries were centuries old. The money was also centuries old. However, the memory of the struggle to regain independence was fresh in his mind. Although bloodless, the five years of bitter transition from the lone star state to the lone star nation was hard fought in courtrooms, boardrooms, media outlets, and foreign nations. Enemies were forged and rivalries were born. One can only speculate when the point of no return was reached, but it was reached and any argument to remain part of the United States after the point of no return was easily defeated in debate. “The Yanks want us to put the squeeze on Microsoft. They want us to join in a legal battle to break the geek monopoly. How ‘bout we let that monopoly run out of Austin. Pay attention to this wisdom folks—don’t tick off the techies. I learned that the hard way.” President James T. Barnes was familiar with the benefits of presiding over a true capitalistic system. Let the best thrive in your economy and you will win the global competition. If they eat everybody up, so be it. Make sure they follow the law and don’t compromise with compromisers. Winning the global competition is what allowed Texas to become a sovereign nation. It is what allowed the union of Texas and Mexico and the eventual establishment of Texico. But competitive complacency could never be tolerated and after thirty years the Texico nation had grown into the 2nd largest economy in the world. For a nation whose economy was driven primarily by energy, agriculture, and financial services, the chance to be the host of the undisputed technology giant of the world was a discussion President Barnes and his cabinet placed at the top of his weekly cabinet meeting agenda. No other agendas were in the room as he surrounded himself with his most trusted advisors, his most thoughtful rebukers, and the man he called his right hand man. When his cabinet was formed two years prior he carefully selected the five individuals that made up the powerful group. He then contacted all of them directly and made a few demands. “Be who you are. Give me the advice you want to give. I’ll make or not make decisions behind closed doors taking your counsel into consideration. We leave the room unified and on message. No politics in the inner circle.” If they could work under those terms, along with a healthy salary and generous benefits, they could have one of the most powerful jobs in the world. Only one declined.
The Vice President was Julio Francisco Del Rosario. He was a patriarch of old Mexico and, despite his advanced years, was a vigorous and genuine Texican patriot. His inclusion in the inner circle was a given in light of his long and mutually respectful association with President Barnes. He was universally known as Fran. And he was not timid.
Maggie Graham was a master campaigner and a major land owner and real estate developer. She had benefited greatly from Texico-style pure capitalism and was eager to spread the gospel. She was the President’s main advisor on economic issues. She was a wealthy woman. And well traveled. As Secretary of State she was responsible for relations with other nations. She was the voice and messenger. Not as same-minded with Barnes as the others, she was quick to offer dissenting opinions but had held to the pre-conditioned demands of the job. Her talent abroad was obvious and she had recently made major progress with the Brazilians on an energy agreement. It amounted to a Monroe Doctrine of petroleum. The OPEC dinosaurs were reeling from the loss of most of the North and South American continent markets. They still manipulated the American economy, but were losing their iron grip and some of their power on the world scene. Canada’s inclusion in the agreement the prior year had given the effort momentum and Brazil was the desperately needed final dagger in OPEC’s heart. Along with Canada’s and Brazil’s energy resources, advanced electric automobile technology, wind power, massive off-shore oil field discoveries, and the abundant natural gas fields of West Texas, the energy alliance could provide for the energy needs of the rest of the hemisphere and be competitive in the Eastern part of the world as well. Global competition extended to energy and the Texicans played to win. The Arabs could drown in their oil. Or sell it for a buck. We no longer cared and Graham made no apologies.
Mitchell C. Parrish served as Secretary of Defense. His was a broad job that included military defense, technology defense, disease defense, and defense of the Texico Papers, the governing documents of the nation. Parrish was a shadowy figure to the media and others, but within the cabinet and in powerful circles from Dallas to Mexico City, he was heavily sought after and listened to. His easy smile and boisterous nature equipped him with the ability to hide the disastrous affects the job was having on his health. Those in the room were not fooled as his slight frame and sunken eyes betrayed his attempted deception.
Travis B. Whitney was the Attorney General and pleaded the case of the administration in the courts of law and the court of public opinion. He was the likely successor to Barnes’ leadership in the election of 2040. Able to debate any side of any issue, his brilliant mind was legendary. However, his motives were questioned by some. His pro-American rhetoric and nostalgic writings of previous years left him a bit vulnerable, but he had proven his Texican credentials with hours upon hours upon hours of law arguments on behalf of Texico in foreign nations. The vast majority of those arguments he won. Those he didn’t, Texico ignored. The courts were just another competition. Travis B. Whitney was a winner.
I served as Secretary of Truth. The Texico Papers clearly outlined the functions of the government and along with maintaining pure capitalism, defending the nation’s interests, and determining and enforcing laws, the Papers mandated freedom of religion. Not from religion--of religion. This creed grew stronger and stronger over the years and is now widely credited with the current harmony, peacefulness, and joy that make up the Texico culture. A true servant mentality has infected the nation of 250 Million. Government sponsored missionaries from Texico were scattered all over the world. Feeding, teaching, mending, building, listening, and spreading the Word. At home, churches of all kinds thrive and benefit greatly from the hard earned prosperity of the people. In response, and compelled by love, the churches have taken over the traditional responsibilities of education and healthcare. Needless to say, Christianity dominates, but there is plenty of room for other beliefs. The local Christian evangelizers have to have somebody to convince. Cultish, imposter religions trading off the good name of Christianity are welcome too, but risk exposure due to shaky theology. The well educated population sniffs them out quickly and convincingly. My role is to make sure nothing gets in the way of the truth. “It’s true until proven wrong”, was written into the Texico Papers 30 years ago at the insistence of one of the original cultural revolutionaries, General Elias T. Woods . His foresight grows his legend each decade. Some call him an apostle and schools, hospitals, and national holidays bear his name. Dead men become legends. Live a long life and become Secretary of Truth. “Fitz, what do you think?” the President asked me. “We should meet them in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and offer them the moon. The land of plenty has plenty of room for another monopoly and the tech boys love gambling and jazz.” Everyone nodded in agreement. I was the President’s right hand man.