Published 3/4/21 in the Lititz Record
After reading Tim Snyder’s sobering article in the NY Times, I’m beginning to think that America has at last been defeated. Not by external enemies but by our own insatiable appetite for information.
We’ve abandoned our local news sources, as Snyder points out, in favor of “info” channels that reinforce the beliefs we already hold. As he so persuasively argues, “Post-fact is pre-fascism.” And the events of January 6 and afterwards most assuredly demonstrate that we’re living in a post-fact world. So, if America is truly going to hell, why fight it? Maybe it’s time to let America go.
Since we’ve devolved to sets of alternate values and alternate realities, couldn’t we revert to a version of how we actually began. In case you don’t recall, our first “constitution” was the Articles of Confederation, which governed our nascent democracy for fully eight years at its founding. Yes, it was shown in time that such an arrangement between the states was unworkable, but that was then and this now. Perhaps a new confederation of “values segments,” replacing our current 50-state setup could provide a workable solution to the current divide.
We could build this on the European model, breaking the continental US into individual regions that would more homogeneously reflect the values and morals, even the patois, of the citizens within those particular areas. I’d imagine the following could work:
Eastopia: Comprising the area east of the Appalachians, from Maine to Coastal Georgia.
Greatlakia: Western PA, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and the parts of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota bordering the Great lakes.
Redneckia: Everything South of Greatlakia, south and west of Eastopia, and east of the Missisippi.
Farmlandia: Everything west of the Mississippi, west of Greatlakia, north of Texaswholia and east of Mountainia
Texaswholia: Comprising the whole of the current state of Texas. Oh, yeah, and Oklahoma.
Mountainia: All the current states, from Canada to Mexico, which fall along the continental divide.
Marijuania: The current Pacific coastal states.
This arrangement would provide relocation opportunities for people whose beliefs, values and actual perceptions of reality are oblique to the majority of the rest of the folks where they currently live. By way of example, all the people around here who have loud pickups with confederate flag license plates could resettle in Redneckia or Texaswholia. And all the pretentious, woke, PBS-viewing, Prius owners who live there could move here.
Alaska and Hawaii, already homogenized, would most probably become independent nations. Certainly there would have to be a lot of discussion among these separate regions on issues like trade and national defense. But, in similar fashion to the Cold War-era comedian who said the Russians would never invade New York because there was nowhere to park, how much would some of these new regions really need defending? Who else would want to live there?
Of course, I’m simply being facetious. Hopefully the vitriol that has enveloped this country since Newt Gingrich’s ascendency will begin to subside if we can ever truly lance the Trumpian boil. My real point is that it would be a whole lot easier, and wiser, to turn our energy from dividing ourselves to reuniting ourselves. It would also save a ton in moving costs.