|A Tale of Two Orbs
Author: Magnulux PM
An article from a December 2012 issue of "The Economist" from my fictional realm. It reports on a culture war the nation is going through, being fought between the right-wing Traditionalist party and the left-wing Liberal party. Rated K because there's nothing objectionable in it; just political satire.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama - Words: 831 - Published: 12-16-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3083566
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A Tale of Two Orbs
Nestled between the United States and Canada, the Orbin Federation is facing its worst enemy—itself.
The Orbin people have always been an independent bunch. Their entire country came into existence out of a fear of "cultural invasion" from outsiders. They have always kept to themselves. Orbins travel about often, visiting Bermuda, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Tahiti, while doing business in the United States, Europe, and Asia; but outsiders seldom visit Orb. To many, speaking with an Orbin is a unique experience. Due to a combination of stricter education and social mandate, Orbins generally have a larger vocabulary than other English speakers, and often sound more formal. Their mannerisms can sometimes come off as quaintly dated.
But all that may be about to change for the small country; a culture war is raging in the tiny nation and tearing it down the centre. Ever since Premier Roger Vivix was removed from office in 1999, the country's government has been dominated by the conservative Traditionalist party, who favour an isolationist foreign policy, economic protectionism, and large government for "cultural enforcement"—the last being the key issue in Orbin politics today.
A shift in power
On 1 January, 2009, Orbin politics made a hard left—literally. Parliament elected Liberal party candidate Roger Simmons, noted social and economic reform activist during the 1990s and early 2000s, Premier of the Orbin Federation, as opposed to George Tuttle, the Traditionalist party's darling. For the first time ever, Orb's Liberal party held the most powerful office in the nation.
Straight away, Simmons was ruffling the Traditionalists' feathers. For his inauguration, Simmons, a Reform Jew, asked to be sworn in by a rabbi, and not the Archbishop of Good Port, head of the Church of Orb, as every previous Premier had been. After much debate, the Premier-elect was permitted to be sworn in by his rabbi—provided the Archbishop was also present, "just in case," to quote the Traditionalists.
And only 32 days into his regime, Mr Simmons managed to push through a bill that legalised homosexuality (previously, just admitting to having homosexual feelings could potentially warrant 15 years in prison). This sent the Traditionalists into a rage, and it became clear that a power struggle would exist between the Liberal Premier and Traditionalist-majority Parliament. Simmons has since done almost nothing except but heads with the very government he heads. In early March 2012, Parliament called an election, and Premier Simmons found himself competing to retain his title against two other candidates. These candidates were: Lawrence Greyleaf, an energetic, charming man with a large powerful family, promises of "a return to the good old days", and the Traditionalists' blessing; and Gordon Greene, a hot-headed, moustachioed man who spoke of building an "iron wall 50 feet high to keep out the American menace", among other things, whom the Nationalist party had chosen. However, the election proved anticlimactic. Parliament re-elected Simmons in early July and life in Orb continued as normally.
But the peace would not last, however. In mid-August, the province of Gomez's parliament voted to legalise civil union for homosexual couples. This caused an instant backlash in Poncet, the capital. Only national Parliament, it was argued, has the right to make such decisions, and that provinces may not attempt passing new laws of genuine impact without consent of the national government. This caused a massive debate in regards to provincial rights vs. national control.
The beginning of the end
One fact that the Traditionalist party know full well, yet do not wish to acknowledge, is that their grip on the Orbin government is slowly crumbling. In the 2010 Parliamentary election, several Traditionalists who had been in office since the 1980s, lost their seats to young Liberals. And in October 2011, Premier Simmons, now with more support, was able to repeal the decades-old law requiring every citizen with an address to belong to the Traditionalist, Nationalist, or Liberal party. In the three weeks that followed, both the Traditionalists and Liberals lost members (the Nationalists having been reduced to only die-hard members after Vivix was deposed lost no members), but the Traditionalists lost 10% of its membership.
During 2012, Orbin parliament has seen a string of desperate attempts on the part of the Traditionalist party to hold on to—and maybe regain—power, each increasingly absurd. Such bills include a law prohibiting anyone from being Premier who isn't a man over 50 with a net worth of over ₱15 million (12 million USD) and whose family can be traced back at least five generations; raising the voting age to 30, or in some districts, 40; and, most audaciously, outright banning Liberals from being involved in politics altogether.
If any meaningful information can be gleaned from these events it is this: The Orbin Federation is at a fork in the road and must decide if it is going to stay the isolationist country it has always been, or join the rest its fellow nations on the world stage. ◊