So, Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene wants a National Divorce? “We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government,” the Georgia Republican Greene wrote in a separate tweet on Presidents Day.
Say what? “Separate by red states and blue states?” “To avoid a civil war?” Hon, the last divorce caused the Civil War: custody dispute over Fort Sumpter. Separate into what? Different countries? Who gets custody of the armed forces? Who gets Dollywood? I assume Washington DC would go with Blue, but since woke folks don’t approve, maybe all the statues can be moved to Red America.
Divorce decree for the USA wouldn’t be easy. At least in 1860, all the slave states that wanted out were grouped together in the same place. It made things easier with borders and stuff. But the Blue states are all over the map, and so are Red ones. How do Cali and the Left Coast make a common border with New York and Illinois?
When the USSR broke up over irreconcilable differences, the only weird patchwork bit was what used to be half of East Prussia where the Russkies wanted to keep the harbor. But mostly Russia likes to keep all of itself together, as well as anything else next door they can grab.
If we’re going to separate, who decides which states are Blue and which ones Red? Cali and NY? Blue. Texas and Florida? Red. But out in Oregon, a large part wants to break off from Weird Portland and become part of Idaho. Ditto for inland Washington. Non-coastal Cali might go with non-Vegas Nevada. Most of Illinois would be happy to invite out Chicago. Upstate New York says “bye, bye Gotham.”
And not all states are deep Red or Blue. Here in Michigan, we’re purple, which means we regularly veer back and forth. If we tried to divide Michigan up, we’d have little bits here and there. Maybe the Blue-ies could unite with Chicago. Some places could conceivably unite with Ohio, but even the most ultra-Maga Michigander would choose rule by Castro than be a Buckeye.
Personally, I got a problem with this idea. It sounds to me like secession, and that’s treason in my book. I have an ancestor who fought in Mr. Lincoln’s army, and I don’t need him coming back in his Union uniform calling me a ‘dirty Reb.’ Interesting that the lady talking national divorce hails from Georgia. That ancestor of mine actually got to hike through her lovely state, stopping at picturesque local plantations along with a tour guide named Sherman, with a special visit to beautiful downtown Atlanta. Rep. Greene: I’d counsel ixnay on the ecession-say talk if I wuz you.
Now the Blue-ies do seem bound and determined to make us all Cali or Weird Portland, playing by Dirty Chicago rules, no matter where we live, using the national government as their instrumentality. I do see her point. Pity we don’t have a system that would allow individual states to basically run their own affairs, with a loose overall structure taking care of foreign affairs and interstate stuff. Maybe one that treats each state as a separate constituent republic. Actually, we do. It’s called “Federalism.”
If only we had some sort of blueprint about how such a nation would be set up and operate! Actually, we have one: the U.S. Constitution. That’s right. The United States is not a unitary 50% + 1 democracy, but technically a Constitutionally limited Federal Republic. It’s a union of states. Now the limits of state sovereignty have been pretty well tested–both in the Supremacy Clause: Article V, Section 2—and in the National Unity Debate of 1861-65.
But the real change that turned the states into mere flunkies of the Federal level were reactions to the challenges of the Great Depression, WW 2, the Cold War, and the mid-century social upheavals. Centralization of power is a very 20th Century thing. It seems like a simple solution to a big problem: give the Feds a lot of power and let them solve the issue.
But power concentration creates its own problems; it’s the enemy of personal freedom and autonomy. Plus all manner of virtuous folks figure if they seize the Federal power, they won’t have to voluntarily convince people of their utopias, just order them. Or take over the big cities in the big states and push the little ones around.
So maybe the answer isn’t a divorce from a Federal power owned by states and elites seen as hostile, just a return to our underlying structure: a federation of states. If California wants to become Venezuela on the Pacific, so be it. Try Florida instead. If Colorado becomes a one-party Blue state, try Red Texas. The states were historically called “laboratories of democracy.” So let one experiment with Blue, another Red. Others can muddle along with Purple. Let people decide which one works better.
A Federal United STATES of America? What a concept! I know it sounds really weird, but we should try it. It beats the Disunited States of Divorce any day of the week. Call 1-800-MAD-ISON, for Dr. Madison’s Federalist Marriage Counselling. After all, he wrote the American Marriage Pre-Nup Agreement.