Saturday, September 25, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

They say that it cannot happen but I remained unconvinced.  True, the political division between so-called Red and Blue States has always been there, but never before has the rhetoric been so vehement, the epithets so scathing, and the actual risk of physical violence (e.g. the murder of abortion doctors) been even a quasi-reality.  The success of political candidates such as Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle demonstrates that a fair amount of the nation's population are not happy with the change in direction we've had since 2008.  Others among us disagree.  The values of Reds and Blues are so different and the cultures they inhabit are so different that I honestly cannot imagine either population ever seeing eye to eye.  The gulf between the two only gets wider.  

So I must ask: could not the United States break into two different nations in the future?
Walter Williams of the Washington Examiner wrote a most intriguing piece on this theory.  While he comes at from the far right and ultimately opts for us to remain intact, I'd have to say he makes very valid points.  Right now, the population of the U.S. amounts to a married couple who know that their marriage has been over for a long time, but remain living together out of convenience rather than seek a divorce.  As with many divorce cases, I believe that Reds and Blues simply have "irreconcilable differences."  These differences in values only get more entrenched by the day.  For the Reds, much of this is fueled by religious beliefs.  Just try reasoning with someone when you challenge one of their fundamental viewpoints of life.  It isn't pretty.  For the Blues, there is an air of superiority amongst them.  Just try getting through that.  
So why should one population force its way of life upon another?  History is replete with examples of new nations or states that have formed as a result of peacefully separating from a larger whole.  Williams cites Norway becoming independent from Sweden and Panama breaking off from Colombia.  Just live and let live.  Of course the opposite is true.  The United States was born out of a violent overthrow of British rule and many head once rolled in France.
The problem with this is that the division is not really one of geography but one of ideology.  Let's use my own state of Illinois as an example.  If you look at a county by county map of Illinois from the 2008 election, you'll see that the majority of the state is a deep, dark Red.  Oh there are pockets of blue here and there, but for the most part it is blood red.  Except for the northeast.  That's the city of Chicago and the surrounding counties.  That's where I live and it is where the majority of the state's population lives.  And it is as Blue as the deepest part of the ocean.  It has allowed Democrats to carry the state in every presidential election since I think 1988.    
To call a separation problematic would be generous.  Even so, it may become necessary over the next 30 years or so if such diametrically opposed populations continue to attempt force their way of life upon the other.

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