I never thought I’d be writing about secession or anything close. Not in a million years. “America, the Beautiful” is my favorite national song, bringing tears to my eyes with its “sea to shining sea.” Giving up the magnificence that entails would be heartbreaking on so many levels.
But the times being what they are and the man occupying the presidency being who he is, not to mention those surrounding him being who they are, plus the issues that divide us from national defense to education to immigration to race to public safety to the pandemic to values in general being so intractable, I feel compelled to discuss secession or division as if they were a real possibility worth considering.
Maybe we have reached a point that the most patriotic act for our country, for both sides, is to break up, even if it would be extraordinarily difficult.
Ironically, this calls to mind, of all things, Neil Sedaka’s classic American popular song “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” rerecorded across generations for a reason, because such a division would, in great part, be entirely personal with families, friends, and co-workers interspersed across the land.
Indeed, it would be very hard to do. It could be we would need a “trial separation” with a chance to reconcile before the formal “divorce.”
Whatever the case, I know I’m not alone in thinking about what was once unthinkable. Indeed, from what I’ve heard, even in the halls of Congress there are those so concerned with the inability of the red and blue to speak or reason together, who see a gulf between both sides so wide it will never be bridged, that some of our politicians are beginning to whisper about secession or the like as well.
So here I am writing a very tentative, very early, article about how we might achieve this separation, partial or complete, as the case may be, or at least think about it.
Please understand what I have in mind is not a civil war, anything but. Part of my intention is to diminish the violence that’s escalating throughout the nation, dial down the hatred, and certainly to avoid deaths.
It’s a peaceful, gradual, and negotiated separation I wish to explore based on two societies recognizing they have different goals and approaches and deciding to go their separate ways.
In other words, if a serious majority of blue state residents want to be “woke,” teach their children critical race theory, allow them to choose their sex at age eight and so forth, much as I abhor these things, they should have that ability, just as the majority of red state citizens who wish to preserve our constitutional republic for future generations should be able to do that as well.
This division shouldn’t be all that surprising at this point, considering what Jefferson said about a revolution being necessary every few decades. The United States of America has grown into something so large as to be nearly ungovernable, an unwieldy nation of some 330 million, a number far greater than the Founders could have conceived in the late 18th century.
Nevertheless, if states’ rights were honored to the degree those same Founders intended, it’s doubtful we would even be having this discussion.
But they’re not and we are.
Okay, let’s start with the proverbial elephant in the room. Our principle adversaries, China and Russia, are not about to break up. Quite the contrary—they’re looking to expand geographically and grow their militaries, especially China under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party.
At first glance, this argues for the importance of our sticking together, but the recent botched exit from Afghanistan makes the opposite case. Working entirely under “blue” control—executive branch, State Department, and a bizarrely “woke” military—this was a disaster of historical proportions leaving the Taliban (and therefore China) in control with virtually the same terror masters in positions of authority who enabled 9/11, only this time seemingly with more power, including their own air force, and al-Qaeda, ISIS-K, and similar groups unchecked.
It’s hard to see how two separate military commands, red and blue, could possibly have done worse. More likely they would have done a lot better with the red state leadership able to counter, and ameliorate, the odd, virtually inexplicable, behavior of the blue in this instance.
It’s the old adage of two heads being better than one (a lot better, in this case).
Several NATO nations appear to have also managed the situation better than the Biden administration. Why not make the two new red and blue USAs two separate members of NATO?
But before going any further, I have obviously skipped over the most basic conundrum of all—just how would you, even could you, divide the United States of America when, as is well known, there are so many blue enclaves in red states and vice versa?
I’m not going to suggest any maps in this piece. But let’s be honest, no matter how you do it, people will be unhappy and many will end up moving. Large numbers of facilities and businesses will also have to move. The whole enterprise seems too daunting for words.
But is it? We have seen all kinds of things rebuilt, and rather quickly, after national disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. An ordered restructuring, if there’s the will to do it (big if, I know), would not be much more difficult and might even improve the infrastructure.
Ordered or not, this restructuring has been happening for some time with the migration from blue to red states for reasons of taxes and lifestyle.
This migration may be on the brink of a significant increase, depending on the result of the California Recall election this week. If the Democrats succeed, by whatever means, in blocking the recall and blunting Larry Elder’s candidacy, thus keeping Gavin Newsom in office, we may be looking at the largest outflow from California yet. (Were Elder to succeed, the converse could be true.)
But whatever happens in California, we are left with an American population at odds with each other in very basic ways, far more important than the usual political disputes about moving tax rates up and down 5 percent.
We’re living through a war of values at the deepest levels. Breaking up may be hard to do, but, painful as it is to say, and it certainly is, the time has come to examine it.
But maybe, just maybe, in that examination we may find a route back. Corny as they are, it’s also worth remembering Sedaka’s last lines:
“I beg of you don’t say goodbye.
Can’t we give our love another try?
Come on, baby, let’s start anew.
‘Cause breaking up is hard to do.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.