As we all know, rows on the Chrononauts timeline generally contain eight cards. if you're suing the Gore Years, there's an extra row that's only five cards long. This must be an invitation to add three more cards.
I began to wonder about the last five years. What things most deserve attention? What events could a lone time traveler hope to overturn? When were there disasters averted?
First of all, I have decided that the Arab Spring is beyond the reach of what a time traveler could accomplish. Just like WW2, you can't prevent it and you can't redirect it. You can only change a few specific details about *how* it goes down. Same with the Great Recession. It's too big and too complicated for a chrononaut to influence.
But I came up with a few specific dates that hit close to home:
2009) Affordable Care Act - Under the precedent set by 1787', 1861' and 2000', it is possible for a time traveler to influence a political phenomenon, one with a narrow margin for the historical winners. The ACA passed the House with only five votes to spare, and would be easy for a chrononaut to tamper with its passage. The ripplepoints would be significant and numerous. Without the galvanizing threat of Obamacare, the Tea Party would never coalesce and the entire domestic political landscape from 2010 onwards would become radically different from what we know.
2010) Deepwater Horizon oil spill - With future knowledge, or possibly with future technology, a time traveler could easily avert this disaster. I'm not sure what the consequences of this would be. Perhaps it would take some of the political urgency away from green energy. Perhaps an eco-time traveler would make it *worse* just to sabotage America's reliance on fossil fuels.
2012) Sandy Hook school shooting - This seems related to Columbine's fate in the timeline. If guns are banned in 1999', then presumably this tragedy is also averted. I guess we found a ripplepoint.
Then I realized that I could infill the Gore Years:
2005) What if George W. Bush had been assassinated by that dud grenade? There is little doubt that the Cheney administration would quickly embroil the US in a Caucuses quagmire, caught between the hammer of Russia and the anvil of Iran. This is definitely something that a time traveler from the other side of the timestream would want to avoid.
I'll leave these thoughts here. What do you think? How would a time traveler see the last five years? Where are the linchpins, and where are the ripplepoints? Which three would you pick?
I've been playing with the same idea...
The one I like is a Superstorm Sandy nexus, with two possible patches:
2012: Superstorm Sandy (Paradoxed if 2000')
A late-season combination hurricane-nor’easter fueled by unusually warm waters does $75 billion dollars’ worth of damage from Appalachia to New England, including flooding large sections of Lower Manhattan.
2012a: Kyoto Accords Succeed (Nullified if 2000)
Successful implantation of the Gore climate change strategy seen in reduced hurricane severity.
2012b: Post-Katrina Infrastructure Push (Nullified if 2002')
The post-Katrina effort to improve coastal infrastructure nationwide proved successful when Hurricane Sandy does only minor damage despite the storm's unusual strength.
and, of course, you need a new ID to play off of this:
(1991, 2000', 2012a)
Earth in the Balance
Despite Presidents Clinton and Gore's success in reducing greenhouse gases, some businesses still pollute in the name of profit. But careful action now and in the past helps to protect our future from ourselves.