The End of the USA
The NAR offered to provide food and medical supplies to the state of Oregon, but were initially refused out of pique and anger at the NAR for its aggressive dispossession of American citizens from their rightfully homes.
Yet, the acceptance of NAR status in eastern Oregon, just as it had occurred in Washington, attended by loss of revenues and resources, had a profound affect on the government in Salem.
The governor complained to his wife at dinner, "These people seem to have no idea how weak we really are."
His wife, Marie, understood he referred to the state senators and representatives.
"They say raise taxes, but taxes can't be raised anymore than they are now. People can't pay 'em. The economy's been stagnant for over two decades as it is. The eastern state is completely beyond our control. Washington screams at me about sending the taxes we owe them. Everyone cheats on them . . . talk about black markets, gray markets, barter markets, there's no end. Every time they raise taxes we get less revenue. You'd think they'd learn, but they just pass another law against tax avoidance."
"What about the refugees?" she asked. The initial trickle from Bellingham had become a flood.
" 'Destroy the bridges!' many proposed, but how can we? Especially now with traffic flowing south into the state night and day. Blow the bridges? While people, fellow Americans, are on them?"
"Halt the traffic and clear them."
"Seal them and send the people back north."
"You don't think the NAR won't seal their end, too, and dare us to blow them up with people on them?"
"Yes. That's what they would do, wouldn't they."
They'd begged the President for army support, but all he'd done was to ask California to mobilize their National Guard and send it north. That governor refused to do it, though. He could neither pay for it nor spare them.
Every relief agency there was had come to Oregon to help deal with the flood of people -- the Red Cross, Salvation Army, various international groups like Doctors Without Borders, CARE, Feed the Children, and so on, but no one had ever seen such a mass of people before.
The United Nations and every first, second, and third world nation publically condemned the New American Republic and created trade sanctions to oppose them, but Canada, while officially condemning the NAR, unofficially maintained economic ties and was a conduit for transporting their goods, resources, and agricultural surplus.
Nor were there any interruptions of their oil and gas exports.
"Six million people. That's what they estimate. But why don't we just ask those bastards. They know the exact number and I'll bet they'd be happy to tell us," the governor grumbled. He was right. General Bruster had an exact figure of the people being expelled and would have given it.
"I have to take their food. There's no way around it. We can't feed so many people even with the world helping out. And you don't think Russia and China aren't laughing up their sleeve at us? By God! What have we come to? And those idiots in the legislature don't think we're next. Not only do we have to absorb these people, we'll be on the road soon enough as it is, too."
"They can't push everyone out . . . can they?" his wife asked.
"They can and they will. Who's to stop them? I can't. The President can't. No one can. I told the Commandant of our National Guard that we should grab a hundred thousand able bodied men, arm them, train them and fight when the time comes. Know what he told me? Christ, he looked like he was about to cry."
"And he said what?" she asked.
"He told me they had no arms to give them. No ammunition to give them, and almost no qualified staff to train them. Nor feed or house them. He said they might be able to buy the rifles and ammo, but that the only manufacturers who could do the job in the amount of time needed were where? You guessed it. The NAR! But we don't have the money to buy it from them or the Russians or the Chinese or anyone. Do you realize what a good rifle costs? Even at wholesale prices, $1000 times a hundred thousand. That's a hundred million dollars we don't have. To field our own militia would take billions . . . and you know what else he told me? The NAR would mow 'em down in a matter of days with no likely casualties to themselves . . . say that we had artillery. We do. A few pieces, and used them. Well they have mobile laser systems that would destroy any shell we fired in a nanosecond. Then they'd kill the weapon with one of their little guided missiles . . . of course, if we had lasers, we could knock out their drones and missiles, too, but we don't, of course . . . then he told me about a whole array of these robots and little drones like insects, and spider things that are simply moving mines that can run or fly across the terrain and blow up wherever they want 'em to. It's unbelievable what they have, he said. We're like Stone Age people throwing rocks or sharpened wooden spears at 'em . . . even so, even so, you'd think people who are going to be driven out of their homes and their country would put up a fight, wouldn't you? But we've bled them dry. They don't have much more money than it already takes to live on, to just get by what with unemployment so high. It's a ridiculous crying shame, is what it is. Nobody ever thought such a thing could happen. Nobody. These bastards are just running roughshod over us. And here's the final straw the commandant told me -- the NAR have been persuading our best men to join them. To desert ranks and join them, and they are, the white ones, and that's most of them, in droves. They're driving across the Columbia and signing up. That means their families are protected from evacuation. And they're not the only ones. Young men, hell, middle aged and older men are crossing over and joining up. They'll keep their homes and businesses. Screw their neighbors. What have their neighbors ever done for them except to vote to tax them more. How can we defend ourselves when the people who are going to be driven out can't or won't fight, and the people who can and would fight are joining the enemy?"
"You know, I read or was told something a long while ago about how the citizens of the Roman Empire didn't resist the barbarians who destroyed Rome, but that they welcomed them with open arms because living under Roman emperors was worse than living under barbarian kings. They had more freedom and kept more of their money even if life got a bit more crude. But it isn't more crude in the NAR. It's high off the hog, and people are starting to notice. The people in Pendleton and Wallowa have never made so much money now that they hardly pay any taxes. Same thing in Lakeview and Burns."
"But why should we absorb these, these Washington refugees? Why not send them to California?"
The governor stopped eating and put his fork down. He felt thunderstruck. Why hadn't he thought of that? Then he realized it was because his first reaction had been humanitarian. Yes, yes, you poor people let's see what we can do to help you out.
Send them away? That would be cruel, but it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. Screw California.
"My dear, you're a genius. That's exactly what we'll do. Funnel them down I 5 and let them be California's problem."
It wasn't easy, once relief agencies had set up tent cities and facilities, people didn't want to leave their shelters and the sense of being taken care of rather than on their own, alone in a cruel world. The NAR provided supplies of gasoline to the governor while law enforcement agencies adopted the tactics of sealing the Interstate exits and on ramps and keeping traffic flowing south into Siskiyou County in northern California.
An observant driver, passing through once prosperous towns and regions of the state, would have seen that little had changed in the last forty years except everything was a bit shabbier. Basic maintenance of buildings had declined. Roofs weren't replaced as frequently, repainting was delayed or simply ignored, landscaping went to being wilder, less cared for, more stores were boarded up, cheap looking discount retailers predominated, and there weren't a lot of new cars.
It was worse in California.
It took three months to get the Washingtonians to move on. There were many deaths. Armed refugees who thought their chances were better in the state tried to fight their way out to the cordoned off roads, being killed or killing police, others preyed on fellow travelers -- robbing, raping, murdering. Many died due to medical problems and lack of prescriptions for serious ailments, their bodies left by the road. Small children were abandoned by parents, many teens ran away. Lack of sanitation caused sickness, streams and rivers were polluted with human waste wherever people camped.
People with enough money had already passed through or joined friends and family in the state. But the poorer often had vehicle breakdowns and nowhere else to go, nor people waiting for them elsewhere. They were rounded up and treated as criminals, forced onto buses and delivered across the state border.
Had there ever been a greater migration of people (forced or otherwise) at one time in the history of the world?
The governor of California sent National Guard units to Siskiyou County to close all the roads leading into the state, which alarmed the governor of Oregon, but the NAR anticipated it and had commando units deployed. The first night the Cal. Nat. Guard was on station was their last night. Mosquito drones immobilized the battalion, commandos then disarmed them, acquired their vehicles, and equipment, and sent them on their way south on foot except for those who decided to change sides.
NAR agents and missionaries had been working in Northern California for a few years, meeting with farmers, ranchers, loggers to extol the benefits of low taxes, and had promised them that they would become a separate state, no longer ruled by bureaucrats in Sacramento who had long destroyed native industries such as timber mills and mining, and had regulations heaped upon them that destroyed capital investment and any hope of economic growth, not to mention that most of the north was owned by the Fed and State govts.
"Imagine if you could develop your land and resources, owned all of it privately. Do you think you might be better off then?"
Thus, with the help and acquiescence of the local towns and county seat, the NAR protected the north state by maintaining the highway cordon and moving people south into the Central Valley below Redding with gas, water, and food provided along the way, including medical aid stations.
The dispossessed people of Washington were California's problem now.