Blue Skies in Camelot: An Alternate 60's and Beyond

Here's something I think might happen sometime soon...
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The hearing was a formality at this point, but Max Cleland was almost done with his glass of water anyway. It seemed like every single Senator wanted to put his foot forwards and wax eloquent for a few minutes about how much he loved the military, when they were all already voting to confirm Cleland as the first-ever Secretary of Veterans' Affairs anyway. Guess some of the bums have re-election campaigns to worry about.

The guy who spoke next, an unassuming little man with a still-boyish face and a trace of gray in his hair, though--he wasn't one Cleland would expect to have trouble getting re-elected. Ever. After all, when you had all the medals for valor the US Army could award, and a few more besides, it didn't matter what the Sam Hill your policies were because just showing up in uniform to get another medal from the Governor of Texas (who had a re-election of his own to worry about) was enough to make every red-blooded American this side of the Canadian border vote for you on general principle.

Then again, Cleland wasn't Senator Murphy, so what the Hell did he know?

"Captain Cleland, thank you for your service," Senator Audie Murphy (D-TX) began. "I know most of this chamber's already voting for you so I'll try not to waste your time, but I've got one very important question for you. Recently, the American Psychiatric Association published a new edition of their diagnostic guide, defining the conditions previously referred to as 'shell shock' or 'battle stress' as a mental disorder called Trauma-Associated Psychiatric Syndrome, or TAPS. The United States Air Force estimates that this condition affects millions of veterans of World War 2, the Korean War, and the Cambodia Intervention. I myself suffer from this condition, which led me to a painkiller addiction that I only kicked in the '60s by locking myself in a hotel room and going cold turkey, the most Hellish experience of my post-war career. TAPS causes a great deal of mental trauma to our fighting men even decades after they leave the battlefield, and we still know very little about how it can be treated and how it affects the mind. What measures will your Department use to combat this scourge and help our veterans maintain stable, healthy civilian lives?"

He put down his papers, and the intensity of his gaze almost made Cleland look away. Shit. He wasn't ready for a hardball question this late in the hearing, God damn it!

Hokey campaign slogan ("I'll fight for you like I fought the Nazis!") or not, the junior Senator wasn't playing games, and Cleland scrambled to respond. "Uh, Senator, first of all, thank you for your service," Murphy nodded with a touch of impatience at Cleland's delay, "and, uh, I assure you, Senator, as a veteran myself this newly-defined problem is one I intend to attack aggressively as Secretary. I plan to direct a starter fund of ten billion dollars for the coming year alone," a significant chunk of Cleland's budget, at that, "specifically to research into shell-shock, or Taps or whatever they're calling it now. And as we get a better idea of how to treat it, such treatment will of course be covered by the hospital care services that President Udall wants us to set up. I believe very firmly, Senator, that if a man risks his life for his country, his country owes him a Hell of a lot back for it, and I will move Heaven and earth to ensure that our veterans have the very best medical and mental health care on the planet."

Murphy nodded with satisfaction and leaned back in his chair, but Cleland knew he had one more thing to say. "And, uh, Senator, I just wanted to say--thank you, for sharing your experience. There's a lot of good men who've gone through similar things, and hearing you talk about it...it means a lot."

"Do well by us, Captain," the Senator replied. "That's all I ask."
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Thought this might be neat. :D
 
I dread what the chapter named for "Candle in the Wind" is gonna be about.
It’s actually extremely likely, if not certain, that the song would have been butterflied away and would not exist ITTL, since according to Elton John it was about Marilyn Monroe and her death at a young age. Since the POD is her surviving, the song probably wouldn’t exist. Another reason the song is likely butterflied away is due to Janis Joplin surviving, Bernie Turpin (who co-wrote the song) never hears the phrase “Candle in the Wind” at her funeral/tribute for the first time.

So sadly the song wouldn’t exist ITTL. If it did ‘exist’ ITTL, it’d be different than the OTL version, and probably wouldn’t include the words “Candle in the Wind”. At most you might have a similar themed song by Elton John about some other tragic celebrity who died ITTL, like maybe Barbara Streisand.
 
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Good chapter, @President_Lincoln, and waiting for more...

RIP Mal Evans, Keith Moon, and Keith Richards; you keep some alive, others die in their place, it seems...

Like that Nimoy got the Oscar, the Elvis/Springsteen team-up, and Elvis helping Jerry Lee Lewis here, along with the new Philip Dick novel...

At least Staubach is having more success here so far; he had the bad luck to go up against Terry Bradshaw both times, but Archie Manning is a good substitute, methinks...

Looking forward to Act III!!!
 
It’s actually extremely likely, if not certain, that the song would have been butterflied away and would not exist ITTL, since according to Elton John it was about Marilyn Monroe and her death at a young age. Since the POD is her surviving, the song probably wouldn’t exist. Another reason the song is likely butterflied away is due to Janis Joplin surviving, Bernie Turpin (who co-wrote the song) never hears the phrase “Candle in the Wind” at her funeral/tribute for the first time.

So sadly the song wouldn’t exist ITTL. If it did ‘exist’ ITTL, it’d be different than the OTL version, and probably wouldn’t include the words “Candle in the Wind”. At most you might have a similar themed song by Elton John about some other tragic celebrity who died ITTL, like maybe Barbara Streisand.
Maybe Bernie Turpin would hear it at Streisand's funeral
 
Maybe Bernie Turpin would hear it at Streisand's funeral
Maybe, but that would really be stretching plausibility.

Plus, would Bernie Turpin even go to her funeral in order to hear it? That’s without taking into account that the ‘candle in the wind’ phrase was used to describe Janis Joplin herself and her tragic death by drugs at a young age.

There are so many factors at play that you really can’t just throw in another celebrity like Barbara Streisand and just replace the moment Turpin heard the phrase like it’s easy.
 
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What happened with Fritz the Cat ITTL? Is it the same? or does it get butterflied or changed?
Fritz the Cat is released under largely the same circumstances as IOTL. Though much of TTL's counter-culture has been less violent and more hopeful toward the success of peaceful protest and the like, the influences for Fritz are still largely in place, thus I see it likely that it is still made more or less the same.

Here's something I think might happen sometime soon...
----------
The hearing was a formality at this point, but Max Cleland was almost done with his glass of water anyway. It seemed like every single Senator wanted to put his foot forwards and wax eloquent for a few minutes about how much he loved the military, when they were all already voting to confirm Cleland as the first-ever Secretary of Veterans' Affairs anyway. Guess some of the bums have re-election campaigns to worry about.

The guy who spoke next, an unassuming little man with a still-boyish face and a trace of gray in his hair, though--he wasn't one Cleland would expect to have trouble getting re-elected. Ever. After all, when you had all the medals for valor the US Army could award, and a few more besides, it didn't matter what the Sam Hill your policies were because just showing up in uniform to get another medal from the Governor of Texas (who had a re-election of his own to worry about) was enough to make every red-blooded American this side of the Canadian border vote for you on general principle.

Then again, Cleland wasn't Senator Murphy, so what the Hell did he know?

"Captain Cleland, thank you for your service," Senator Audie Murphy (D-TX) began. "I know most of this chamber's already voting for you so I'll try not to waste your time, but I've got one very important question for you. Recently, the American Psychiatric Association published a new edition of their diagnostic guide, defining the conditions previously referred to as 'shell shock' or 'battle stress' as a mental disorder called Trauma-Associated Psychiatric Syndrome, or TAPS. The United States Air Force estimates that this condition affects millions of veterans of World War 2, the Korean War, and the Cambodia Intervention. I myself suffer from this condition, which led me to a painkiller addiction that I only kicked in the '60s by locking myself in a hotel room and going cold turkey, the most Hellish experience of my post-war career. TAPS causes a great deal of mental trauma to our fighting men even decades after they leave the battlefield, and we still know very little about how it can be treated and how it affects the mind. What measures will your Department use to combat this scourge and help our veterans maintain stable, healthy civilian lives?"

He put down his papers, and the intensity of his gaze almost made Cleland look away. Shit. He wasn't ready for a hardball question this late in the hearing, God damn it!

Hokey campaign slogan ("I'll fight for you like I fought the Nazis!") or not, the junior Senator wasn't playing games, and Cleland scrambled to respond. "Uh, Senator, first of all, thank you for your service," Murphy nodded with a touch of impatience at Cleland's delay, "and, uh, I assure you, Senator, as a veteran myself this newly-defined problem is one I intend to attack aggressively as Secretary. I plan to direct a starter fund of ten billion dollars for the coming year alone," a significant chunk of Cleland's budget, at that, "specifically to research into shell-shock, or Taps or whatever they're calling it now. And as we get a better idea of how to treat it, such treatment will of course be covered by the hospital care services that President Udall wants us to set up. I believe very firmly, Senator, that if a man risks his life for his country, his country owes him a Hell of a lot back for it, and I will move Heaven and earth to ensure that our veterans have the very best medical and mental health care on the planet."

Murphy nodded with satisfaction and leaned back in his chair, but Cleland knew he had one more thing to say. "And, uh, Senator, I just wanted to say--thank you, for sharing your experience. There's a lot of good men who've gone through similar things, and hearing you talk about it...it means a lot."

"Do well by us, Captain," the Senator replied. "That's all I ask."
-------------
Thought this might be neat. :D
This is fantastic! :D Thank you so much for contributing it, @Worffan101! :) This is a welcome addition to the TL, and definitely a portent for things to come.

I also like the idea of renaming PTSD "TAPS" ITTL. Is that something you're alright with me stealing?
 
This is fantastic! :D Thank you so much for contributing it, @Worffan101! :) This is a welcome addition to the TL, and definitely a portent for things to come.

I also like the idea of renaming PTSD "TAPS" ITTL. Is that something you're alright with me stealing?
Thank you! And yes, go ahead! I figured that given Murphy's OTL activism that he'd spend a lot of time advocating for mental health issues.

Which, honestly...America's most famous war hero (he's a Senator and has a buttload of medals, he's going to be much higher profile than OTL) talking openly about his battles with PTSD and mental health issues in general? That's probably going to lead to a lot more attention coming to mental health issues much earlier, in a good way. :)
 
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