Let’s consciously uncouple the United States
Everybody keeps talking about how divided America is. I agree. Since it’s so broken, maybe it’s time for a break up. If the states “consciously uncouple,” we might have a chance to be good North American neighbors.
Surely I can’t be the only person who has thought of this, so like a true modern student, I Googled “Why keep the United States united?” This led me to the beginning of the story.
On Sept. 9, 1776, the Continental Congress officially renamed the United Colonies to the “United States.” The nickname “America” didn't become popular until the start of the twentieth century. During Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency, America embraced imperialism, won the Spanish-American War and acquired the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guantanamo and American Samoa. After Roosevelt’s presidency, the purchase of Alaska and the acquisition of Hawaii became the most of the land the United States now owns today.
From that point forward, the United States became “America” and people from here were called “Americans.” I am personally very grateful for this as I’ve always felt that United Statesian or Usian or Colonian sounded awkward.
This is not the first time that a division has been proposed. After all, the colonies were settled by people making a break from England. The 13 original colonies had little in common with one another, so the only glue holding them together at the time was the common foe of England and resisting taxation. The Constitution itself was a compromise between the North and the pro-slavery South.
Even though slavery was the driving force behind the Civil War, the economic disparities between the North and the South were already evident, with the North becoming more Industrialized and the South being largely an agricultural economy.
Are we as divided as we were on the eve of the Civil War? Are we as divided as we were in the ’60s? How can we even define what it means to be “divided” and compare that to what that meant in other eras?
I propose that the states with similar ideals form consortiums, like they did for supply acquisition during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We would not need 50 new countries. It would be more along the lines of around eight, similar to college football conferences. Or, if shared ideology proved to be difficult, witnessing how the east and west coasts tend to vote differently than most of the states, the United States could be divided by geographic groupings. The New England Patriots could finally belong to one entity: a new country called “New England” consisting of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island. These states, despite their pockets of diverse factions, are more alike than not.
The states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania could be combined into a new country called Greater New York.
Most of the southeast could be another country: Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and Washington D.C. Many of these states were part of the Confederacy, whereas some were considered border states.
Texas used to be its own country, so why not let it become one again? And maybe they could annex Oklahoma if there aren’t any other takers. After all, they did secede from Mexico, didn’t do so well, then were annexed by the United States.
Since they’re so far away, both Alaska and Hawaii would have to be their own countries. Hawaii used to be the Kingdom of Hawaii anyway. Alaska could try to make a go on its own, and if not, they could join up with Canada.
The Midwest “country” would consist of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
As the fifth largest economy, California would have a chance to be its own country (or two), or possibly partner with Washington, Oregon and Nevada.
The Southwest would have the four corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, plus Nevada. The Northwest would have Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and North and South Dakota.
I’m not a fan of the blue vs. red or the urban vs. rural. I’m simply a student of practical geography. There would be a moratorium period on moving, cashing accounts, etc. as the new countries came up to speed and held combined elections and as the lawmakers worked to dissolve the Union. In 1776, democracy was uncharted territory, and no one knew how long it would last. During the Nixon presidency, as at some other key historical junctures, some wondered if we would make it to 1976. We did, barely.
After all, it is the states that got together to create the Federal government. But now, many states and cities go against what the Federal government has mandated. I can't say that I blame them, since the Feds have recently dictated some very questionable policies when it comes to things like immigration, troop deployment and building that wall. Often the tax policies of a state completely negate the tax policies of the Federal Government. It’s honestly very confusing, even to me, and I used to prepare taxes for a living.
We are such a diverse country, and each region, city and town has different priorities. Even different personalities self-select to certain states. We could be like Europe, just an extreme West edition.
Each governor could then be part of a group of leaders in the new countries, until they could sort out the exact rules for governing. Borders could remain open for at least a few months to a few years to document all the new laws that would need to be established.
The advantages would be many. The new countries could be much more nimble in negotiating with other countries, assessing natural disasters, sending aid and modifying the tax code. With each country being a reasonable drive within themselves, the citizenry would be able to hold the officials accountable much more effectively and efficiently. There would be no need to drain the swamp, as Washington D.C. could just get reabsorbed by Virginia and Maryland.
It would be like shaking a giant Etch-A-Sketch for a do-over. Secession comes up every now and then, and since 2016 the concept has been gaining in popularity. If 2020 isn’t the year for this to gain even more momentum, I’m not sure when that would be.