I’ve done it. I’ve just solved all of America’s problems.
One word is the answer to the divisiveness and perpetual conflict of visions in the U.S. that has boiled to a fever pitch, and by almost every indicator, only shows signs of getting worse.
I know it sounds crazy and evokes visions of bearded Confederate generals flogging away at their hapless slaves, but would it really be that bad to allow the red states to split off and form their own separate government in order to pursue their small government vision?
For Liberals, think of the awesome states you will get: California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. Do you really want all of those land-bound mid-western and southern states?
You really need to be near the water anyway. You can practice your Keynesian economic policies, enjoy a 50% tax rate, along with free health care and education for all. You can, in short, realize your European-esque vision uninhibited by those creationist, gay-bashing evangelists, NASCAR fans, and people that ride the carts around at Wal-Mart. You’ll have most of the stronger economies and larger cities, along with most of the Starbucks and Gap stores. What’s to lose?
For Conservatives you get the whole rest of the country, almost all of its farmland, the Gulf Coast and part of the East Coast, and most importantly get to freely experiment with laissez faire economics. Is it really better than the European system or will it produce rapacious corporations gobbling up small businesses while paying $2.50 an hour? Now we can find out!
Libertarians, of course, will take New Hampshire. Given that there aren’t more than three million of us anyway, we can easily all fit and prove to the rest of the world that you really don’t need government at all if you can get people to cooperate. To anyone from New England thinking of invading,we would have a lot of guns. Trying to invade New Hampshire would be like trying to invade Israel — ill advised at best.
There would be no more right/left political wrangling, no more budget or debt ceiling battles, no more John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi competing over who can pontificate, lie and pander the best. There would be no more endless articles by one party trying to prove the other’s vision wrong. Liberals wouldn't have to risk their baguettes getting cold while they complain about Glen Beck’s pompousness. Conservatives wouldn't have to have shield their children’s eyes whenever Keith Olbermann appears on TV. It’s a pure win for everyone.
Before you start incredulously typing your comment, realize this: the world is heading in this direction anyway. There are hundreds of separatist movements all over the world by people who want the right of self-actualization without interference from oppressive, ham-fisted governments that will defend their monopoly on power at all costs.
Large nation states are centuries-old dinosaurs slowly descending into obsolescence thanks to improved technology, education, culture, economic activity, and the changing nature of warfare. For the first time in human history, war and conquest have taken a backseat to voluntary commerce as the principle means of acquiring wealth for a society. With the lightning-fast information provided by the internet, barriers between cultures are gradually breaking down as knowledge and understanding improve. It’s a terribly slow process, but it is happening.
Assuredly, there will be transitional problems, as well as long-term sacrifices by permitting secession. Many lower-income southern states may not fully appreciate how much they free-ride off of the wealth generated in New York and California, dispersed via federal grants. Similarly, without an opposing party to provide a counterbalance, blue states may overpromise tax money to schools, the elderly and the poor, and run into serious debt problems, which may necessitate borrowing from oil-rich red states.
We will no longer speak as one “United States.” But contrary to Lincoln’s claim in the Gettysburg Address, the great experiment in self-governance will not only continue, it will actually improve as governments are able to both localize and homogenize their visions, limiting unnecessary conflict, gridlock and animosity.
It may be time to realize that our current system isn’t going to work anymore. The country is split down the middle politically. Electoral gains by either side prove small and temporary, leaving politicians ever more desperate to carve out and hold on to power as long as possible so they can ram unpopular bills through Congress (such as Obamacare) before they lose their majority again to politicians who will work their fingers to the bone to repeal it. Our conflicting visions are not reconcilable — they are diametrically opposed. They cannot both be realized in one country. Let’s acknowledge this and stop beating a dead horse.