Wide, bitter rifts show no signs of ebbing

A couple of years ago we lightly suggested that, if we can’t live together, the Red and Blue states should just form separate nations and be done with it. We facetiously suggested how the new map of North America might be drawn to accommodate those on either side of the philosophical divide, and we got quite a reaction.

Today, we’re wondering if mutual secession might actually be the best long-term option to keep the peace and allow most Americans to become at least content with their government.

You have to wonder with the immediate nastiness of reactions to any number of Red-Blue issues whether any form of compromise will ever again be possible. Make no mistake: These rifts are wide and bitter and show no signs of ebbing.

One side is pushing a laissez-faire economy, the other a strong social safety net and business regulation; one side talks of “traditional values,” the other individual rights for all, tolerance and modernity. One side has a traditional religious outlook, the other a mostly secular, scientific view.

Face it, these two views of human existence have never coexisted peacefully, and it is a good sign for our democracy that we are still looking to the ballot box to settle these volatile issues.

In a sense, though, we’ve already seceded from each other. States like Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Oregon, most of New England, California and the upper Midwest exist in a different political universe than the one found in the South, the middle Midwest and the mountain states. The number of true toss-up states is right around a half-dozen out of 50.

Which brings us to the idea that perhaps there is one issue the entire nation might come together over and support enthusiastically — state’s rights. Who would have thought?

Of course, we’d have to find a way to increase those rights while still treating smaller states fairly — perhaps allowing them to work more with populous, like-minded states.

As for governmental approaches that might lead to discrimination against one group or another: Well, people would be free to move, from Red to Blue and vice-versa. Today, moving doesn’t always make much of a difference.

Or we could all decide to start acting as if we are Americans, in every state, as we have when it counted in the past.

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