Look, we had a good run.
Well, maybe “good” isn’t quite the right word … but certainly it’s been interesting. These United States were a grand experiment. But the experiment has gotten out of hand. It’s time to peacefully dissolve the union.
I know, I know. This is not what good Americans are supposed to suggest. “Four score and seven years ago” and all that. But to borrow a lesser-known phrase from that brief address, it seems to me we have tested whether this nation “can long endure,” and increasingly it is clear it cannot. It’s just not working. Do you really disagree? Do you like the way things are?
We are fresh off a midterm election which has guaranteed two years of gridlock and rancor. But the issues that animated this campaign season are in no sense resolved. David Brooks’ recent diagnosis of “two electorates” conducting entirely separate conversations and motivated by entirely different primal fears remains equally perceptive. Mutual partisan hatred is still nearly total. It is still the case that the sort of person who would attend a Trump rally and one who joined the Women’s March do not wish to share a country with each other.
They may not explicitly say so, but they do come very close. How else should we interpret, “If you don’t like it, leave,” or, “If [candidate] wins, I’m moving to Canada”? However unserious, these are basically expressions of a desire for separate nations.
So … what if we did that? What if we stopped demanding that people with fundamentally different value systems who live nowhere near each other constantly fight about politics so they can develop temporary political compromises that are unsatisfactory to all?
That sounds nice, doesn’t it? I suggest it’s appealing because this nation is just too big to function. We have 325 million people flung across 3.8 million square miles. A majority will always feel forgotten by Washington, because they are. Consider that the House of Representatives has one member for every 747,000 Americans. In the first Congress, that ratio was 57,000 to one. One person may be able to fairly represent 57,000 others, but I doubt it. Representing 13 times that is impossible.
And even if real representation were feasible at this scale — even if we enormously expanded the number of seats in Congress and made other major structural reforms to how our elections work — that would only highlight the depth of our disagreements. What strikes someone in California or Vermont as a necessary freedom may herald the breakdown of society in Mississippi or Utah. One American’s noble mission to spread democracy is another’s war crime.
But practically, could we really divide the United States of America? How would it work?
A quick Google search will summon proposals for slicing the United States into two, five, seven, a different seven, eight, nine, 11, 12, or 13 smaller nations. I don’t have a particular favorite, though I suspect simply …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics