The old guard was in flames. The only thing that slowed the conflagration was the two months until the inauguration. It would be hard to argue that Jefferson didn’t have a mandate. You could argue with him, but he knew and that’s all that mattered. Senator Esposito was on board with Jefferson and his quest for personal freedoms. I was on board with Esposito. If the money I threw at Esposito’s campaign didn’t buy me influence it certainly bought me inclusion.
The first hundred days were scripted out. Inauguration Day was hyped up as a symbolic start to the wave of change. Immediately after the swearing in, Jefferson walked to the Capital, his party members from the House and Senate in tow. They introduced a bill to repeal the entire Coal Elimination Act. Both houses of Congress passed it. There was no debate. Jefferson signed it.
An entire, massive bureaucratic government structure came crashing down. FemCad was dissolved. The Green Caps were dissolved. Felonies were removed from the books. Meisner’s propaganda machine was dismissed. The atmosphere of the entire country changed. Parties and celebrations occurred everywhere. Methane collection units were burned in massive piles. Sweet release.
The un-nationalization of supermarkets and the food supply was a little trickier to dismantle. It would take time to literally replant for the new market. To ease the strain Jefferson opened up the import market to bring back much needed and desired diversity to the food market.
The repeal did not come without heartburn. The biggest pain that came from the repeal was the 100,000-plus jobs that were eliminated. Even I lost my job, though I hadn’t needed it for a long time. Unemployment was available to the workers but the economy still took a hit. Even the drug traffickers took a hit. Alvarez and his gangs had nothing to offer. Their reason for being was wiped away with the stroke of a pen. Back to selling real, good old-fashioned illegal drugs.
The energy sector of the economy had to re-tool as well. Not enough methane supplies were available to power all the new methane equipment that had been built. The price of methane available skyrocketed. Replacement of methane took time. Roving energy outages occurred.
The economy survived thanks to a renewal of tourism. For six years tourism to the US had ground to a halt thanks to the travel requirements of the Coal Elimination Act. If you were visiting, you had to wear a methane collection unit. Only foreign dignitaries were exempted, a rather far stretching application of diplomatic immunity. Tourism was back and the influx of foreign cash propped up the economy.
The repeal was a huge success by any standard. Jefferson’s party now had huge stockpiles of political capital. Capital that had to be spent. Jefferson’s challenge was that the party had solely run on the repeal of methane collection. There was no other platform. So Jefferson turned to his real passion: personal accountability.
Jefferson believed personal accountability was hard. You had to work at it and for it. You had to man up, if you will. But because it was hard it also had a reward: personal freedom. The freedom to act and behave as you liked as long as your behavior did not infringe upon the rights of others. You were master of your domain as long as you didn’t harm others. For Jefferson these philosophies were tightly bound together. If you infringed on another’s rights or caused harm you owned up to it, you took accountability. This was the code that allowed these freedoms to exist, to mean something.
But sometimes people do not own up. That’s when the law steps in, but not until then. That’s how freedom worked. Your behaviors were your own. They were your own until you broke the code. The code was a big circle around you. It protected those inside it and those outside it. Jefferson was going to draw the line hard and bold.