by Jonah Begone

It was a peaceful April day at Appomattox. The sun was shining, the birds were singing - and General Grant was surrendering. Faced with overwhelming odds by an army who could muster all the resources of a great agricultural nation, the Yanks were quietly signing their parole passes in an orderly but resentful fashion. The South had won this great fratricidal conflict and now, 125 years later, things are different. How?

1. The former United States are broken up into four unique countries, each serving the economic and political interests of their regions. There are countries formed from the states that fought the old "War Against Northern Tyranny," of course: the United States of Northeastern and North Central North America and the Confederate States of Southern North America. Western expansion and "Manifest destiny" have also created the new United States of Western North America as well as the People's Republic of Los Angeles, California (a shaky political proposition at best since the people living south of Sunset Blvd. are considering secession). The 1990 edition of the "Rand McNally Atlas of North America" includes the disclaimer, "NOTE: North American geo-political boundaries subject to change due to political chicanery, fortunes of war, sectional fervor or whim."

2. While the poverty-stricken North cannot afford to buy Alaskan territory the South can, and the area is quickly named "Mahone's Folly" after the C.S. Senator who engineered the purchase. The South discovers, however, that the region is not well suited for agricultural use and sells it back to the Russians, who use the area for major missile bases. The "Alaskan Missile Crisis" thus forms one of the pivotal events of the administration of C.S. President Jimmy Carter (who doesn't have the Panama Canal to give back since it was never constructed by the poor Northern states).

3. In 1977 the Confederate States declares Elvis Presley a National Landmark by Act of Congress. In 1978 the Northern States retaliate by declaring Bruce Springsteen a National Landmark, and in 1979 the Western States declares the Village People "Gay Spokespersons of the Year." In 1980 Los Angeles makes Cheech and Chong ambassadors to the Soviet Union. The cycle begins again when in 1989 the C.S.A. declares Roy Orbison a National Landmark.

4. As soon as a Confederate House or Senate bill is passed as law it is immediately declared "nullified" by the opposing political party and the whole issue is given over to the McDonald's Corporation lawyers - the strong central power required in any government - to arbitrate. As a result there are no interstates or public services in the South, but there are plenty of McDonald's restaurants. (In a notable lobbying effort the Corporation manages to get its secessionist motto "You Deserve a Break Today" on the C.S. flag, and in defiance of the current health and fitness movement declares "Heritage, not Hate - Fry it!" in their television commercials.)

5. "If the North Woulda Won Weda Had It Made" and "Grant Surrendered But I Didn't!" bumper stickers are seen on rusty Biscaynes all across picturesque New England, and the phrase "Damnsouthron!" is heard from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire.

6. Lobster and baked beans are called "Soul Food" and the term "the Blues" refers to the woebegone, depressed attitude of the postwar Union veterans (whom you will remember wore blue). Along with the music of the Carpenters and Pat Boone, "blues music" becomes enormously popular among the disenfranchised WASPs living in the North. Elsewhere on the music front, it becomes evident that Southern Man does need Neil Young around as he is voted in as the first Canadian-born President of the Confederate States.

7. In 1941 the People's Republic of Los Angeles declares that a state of war exists with Japan, Italy and Nazi Germany and becomes embroiled in a bitter World War. The Confederacy initiates a "lend-lease" program with Los Angeles, and offers support by supplying hundreds of battleships all named "C.S.S. Alabama" and "C.S.S. Shenandoah" (causing a horrible mixup in Naval communications). They also send the Codes and Ciphers Division of the L.A. Signal Corps Slim Whitman recordings, which becomes the basis for successful enciphered communications based on yodelling. The great World War is only ended when teams of elite reenactment shock troops (dismounted cavalry) are parachuted onto the Normandy shore. The date is termed "D-Day" (for "Dismounted cavalry day"), and the operation is code-named "Operation Just Igloo."

8. TV Cow Roseanne Barr becomes nationally discredited when she "performs" the C.S. national anthem "Dixie" on TV for millions of jeering Southrons. She is immediately adopted as a cult hero in the North, and a great statue of her holding on high a bottle of "Northern Comfort" is erected in New York harbor.

9. In 1987 U.S. President Marion Barry is disgraced when it becomes known that he has traded cotton for hostages from Iran.

10. "War Against Northern Tyranny" reenacting becomes hugely popular, and Federal reenactors - with Lost Cause fervor - usually greatly outnumber the Confederate reenactors. However, one group, the 50th Maine, prepares for a mega-event by hoisting a giant Northern U.S. flag over its camp. The flag is ordered removed by local police as it is deemed an annoyance to the neighborhood and disruptive to minority groups (whom the C.S. Department of Labor now designates "Developing persons"). The 50th Maine declares a boycott and leaves the event. In sympathy so do most of the remaining Northern reenactors, so the public is treated to the spectacle of seeing 150 Northern reenactors take on 4,000 Southern reenactors in battle. (In this way, the course of history is exactly the same as if the North had won the war!)