Tuesday, November 09, 2004

One Nation, With Liberty Etc.

Since the election, I've given serious thought to the proposal Andrew Sullivan made on his website about shifting responsibilities for many social issues to the states - so that people in "blue" don't get steamrolled by people in "red" states (and vice-versa).

But I got to thinking: wouldn't it be great if we could do that on economic issues as well? Statistically speaking, those in blue states pay more in taxes, while those in red states receive more in welfare - how is that fair? But this underscores the whole red/blue dualism I've seen people helpfully trying to shatter by providing the so-called "purple" maps, where the colors blend, showing us really as one happy rainbow country.

Except we're not one happy rainbow country. Bush ran as a uniter, not a divider, and he has managed to divide the country in a way that we haven't seen since the years before the American Civil War. The kind of vitrol I linked to a couple of days ago is a fine example of this; neo-cons want to curbstomp us. I refuse to use the term conservative, because I believe most real conservatives are as appaled as us lib'ruls of the Bush administration, its fiscal irresponsibilities, and its disregard for personal liberties.

But where is it written that red and blue have to get along - Liberals are from Mars, Conservatives are from Venus? It's true that America has a history of compromise, but we also have a history for killing each other when we're divided, a la 1861-1865. For such a young democratic nation to have such a bloody conflict is unique, especially considering the principles upon which the country was founded.

I think we gave the relationship a real shot, and it failed. My proposal: let's divide the country into two countries. Seriously.

I'm not the only one who suggested this, as this conservative columnist shows. My proposal is a little different than his, so let me outline.

Our states would include California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, D.C., and the New England states. Since the fundamentalist Christians would only ruin Vegas, I also propose that we get Nevada. For ease of travel, we'll also divide Idaho into two areas: we'll get the panhandle, along with North Dakota and Montana. They get everything else.

For two years, the government gives tax breaks to Reds who want to leave Blue states, and Blues who want to leave Red states.

After those two years, we agree to part ways. They can become their own country and run it how they wish, and we can become our own country and run it how we wish.

The hell with "coming together" and "finding common ground." If they really really want to run their country this way, let 'em. But we should not have to suffer. And if they feel our way of doing it is suffering, I see no reason to force them into it.

1 comment:

Wolfgang Baur said...

As long as both sides agreed to it, I think secession would be a beautiful dream. But realistically I don't think it will happen unless things get a bit worse.

The reason isn't so much that the nation couldn't split if it wanted to. It's that even a peaceful secession would be a huge logistical and diplomatic nightmare to make it happen. Who gets the army? The debt? The machinery of government? The tax revenue during the transition? The treaty obligations? The embassies overseas? And so forth.

If it does happen, you would need to add (very, very blue) Illinois, Hawaii, and (mostly blue) Pennsylvania to the blue state roster. And possibly Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado.

States like Florida and Ohio won't be happy no matter who gets them. I suggest trading New Mexico and Colorado for Ohio and Indiana, just to get contiguous states for Blue. And to piss off Indiana. :)