Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Many years ago I read a book titled “The Nine Nations of North America”. It was a look at the various cultural, economic and political similarities and difference among the various states. It may have included Canada and Mexico but I don’t recall. At any rate, it pointed out the divisions based on geography that have existed and persist in the USA. There have been other books along similar themes since then.

Since 1980 the US has devolved into a greater degree of regionalism, in my opinion. The differences between regions have been hardened by politics. Perhaps it is time to change.

We live in a nation of 330,000,000 people. Too big to govern. Too many competing interests. But more importantly, because of the structure of the government we are in a place where minority rule dominates. Rural areas have more power than their population would demand if the system were truly democratic.

To illustrate, the 25 smallest states have somewhere between 11-12% of the population, yet they control 50% of the votes in the US Senate. This is just about equivalent to the population of California, which controls 2% of the Senate. If you include the filibuster into the mix you can see that states representing about 9% of the population can stop any law from proceeding. Untenable for a democracy.

Since a handful of small states hold virtual veto power over the national government this system will not change. It would take a Constitutional amendment, which these states can easily block. This system makes governing 330,000,000 impossible.

Time to break up the USA into 5 regional governments. Perhaps they could support a common military for defense purposes, but other than that they would be independent. Very similar to the original Articles of Confederation, which failed. But in today’s new world this may be the better system for all. It would end many of the regional disputes over immigration, abortion, socials programs, etc.

So, I propose 5 new nations, united weakly, similar to the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A standard military and perhaps currency. But not much else.

What would these nations be?

The Northeast Union. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland (with DC) and Delaware. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Lawrence Seaway, Canada and Lake Erie.

The South Union.Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee. Bordered by the Ohio River, the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Great Lakes Union. Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. Bordered by the Mississippi River, the Ohio river, the 5 Great Lakes and Canada.

The Central Union. Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho and Montana. Bordered by the Mississippi River, various mountain ranges, the Great Basin, the Rio Grande, the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico and Canada.

The Pacific Union. California, Oregon and Washington. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, various mountain ranges, the Great Basin, Mexico and Canada.

All of these unions would have outlets for trade. Most have very similar majorities in terms of social, political and economic beliefs about the role of government. Would this be a perfect system? No. But compared to the current system it would be a vast improvement.

There is no doubt that the major issues confronting 330,000,000 people in the USA will never be settled. There will be a constant battle of philosophies. It is the failure of the “melting pot” concept. Because a “melting pot” and “democracy” both assume a certain degree of flexibility and tolerance. Forget it. Not going to happen. It is only going to get worse as political power swings back and forth, or the forces of authoritarianism become entrenched.

Just imagine living in a nation where every two years there is no ongoing battle of philosophies? Where there is majority consensus instead of minority obstruction? Wouldn’t that be better for all of us? We have to accept that the system designed for the 18th century no longer works. It demands a common belief in democracy. That belief no longer exists in many parts of the nation.

Breaking up is hard to do, but in the long term it is best for all parties concerned.


Filed under Politics

9 responses to “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

  1. whungerford

    I don’t see this idea as promising; what we have in common dwarfs our differences. Brexit seems not to have lived up to its promise for Britain. The breakup of the Soviet Union has benefited few of the former Soviet Republics. On the other hand, the European Union seems to be doing well. Other examples might be Germany, Korea, and Vietnam.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We seem to have irreconcilable differences. About 45% of the people want a strong man ruler who defies the Constitution, denies science and spouts a constant stream of lies. The rest of us want a constitutional democracy where all people have a say and science and the truth are the guideposts. BIG differences.


    • whungerford

      Could it be that there is little ideological difference between red and blue states? Might red states become blue if everyone was allowed to vote and voted, and blue states become red if voting were restricted to a select few?


  2. I don’t think this plan pays enough attention to migration, such as the increase in Latino people in Florida and Texas. There are so many competing forces: differing effects of climate change, etc, etc.

    So it’s an interesting idea as an academic exercise. But it certainly seems there are enormous problems in these United States! I welcome any thoughtful novel approaches.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Guy… As I point out, the system designed for the elites in the 18th century is no longer viable for a people who believe in democracy in the 21st century. It is a matter of the structure of government. When 12% or fewer of a population can stop progress you no longer have a system that functions.What you seem to ignore is the fact that country is already irrevocably divided, with minority rule.I contend it would be much better to have smaller political units in which the populations of each are more in sync with each other. It would not negatively impact trade or the grid system. After all, we already have an integrated electrical grid with Canada, and close trade relations with Mexico and Canada. The money system would not need to change, as we see the Euro is an effective currency for most of Europe, yet they maintain separate political identities. Time to face reality and not live in a past in which democracy was not considered a reliable system of government.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So Joe, no more UNITED States of America? We go by a 3/5ths majority? And what about all of our screenagers who suddenly have their besties in another subdivision and begin to act out? And how do we manage working/commerce/money transfer across the technological barriers of 5 different energy grids? Rather, I think we ought to divide the country into the 5 skin colors — White, Black, Brown, Yellow, Red — to more honestly expose our prejudices and paranoias. Or 5 different income groups — The Millionaires/Billionaires, the Haves, the just getting bys, the Have Nots, and the incorrigibles. Or maybe the whole thing should be settled by the 5 most popular world religions — Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews. Yes, Joe, you can divide anything into smaller and more elite divisions of power. But in the end, you wind up with the same mess — for which, I’m ashamed to admit — divide our mentalities into but two groups — the rational objective forward-lookers, and the irrational subjective reactionaries. Which side are you on?

    Liked by 2 people

    • none

      So the “evil” confederates you liberals hate so much were right in the end. Must be hard to be filled with so much hubris, it has to stretch your gut.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s