(NOTE: This was originally written on January 1, 2021, and is now being expanded upon on November 8th.)
According to several research organizations, the current number of Americans who now see secession as realistic has topped 20% in ALL regions and individual states, for the first time in over 100 years.
It’s December 31st, 2020, as I write this. I’m going to follow tradition and wish you a Happy New Year and mean that.
But even if I said, “Have a Shitty New Year!” that would still be better than the Edgar Allen Poe fever dream we have been through in 2020. This was, in almost every dimension except some very subtle ones that many of our dumber fellow citizens lack the capacity to appreciate, a total nightmare, almost from start to finish.
Just one word encapsulates most of what made ’20 so horrendous: Covid…a term that many of us had never even heard before that fateful day in late February when reports began to surface on the news about this aggressively-contagious virus that was ravaging China. Remember when we all thought that was China’s problem and didn’t involve us? Yeah, Good Times, eh? Little did we suspect…at least most of us didn’t. A closely-kept handful knew as early as the end of ’19 that something bad was likely to happen. But, given the shit show that has been our, ahem, leadership (and I use that term ironically and not at all realistically) in DC, nobody told us until the first cases started to surface, just up the road from my Tacoma home. We were doomed from the git-go.
Germany has Angela Merkel. New Zealand had Jacinda Arden. Australia had Julia Gillard. Finland had Tarja Halonen. All of these intelligent, capable women and that’s not counting the intelligent, capable male leaders of a lot of countries. We had a narcissistic, racist, failed reality TV show host in lieu of having a real leader; a mumbly, doddering relic with a man-crush on any murderous despot who would listen to him and a dismissive attitude toward science, education, sanity, and the normal (Remember that term? Good Times, eh?) prohibitions about creepy remarks about one’s own daughter. We didn’t so much have a leadership vacuum as leadership black hole, which sucks in the whole concept of leadership and spits out pandering, opportunism, greed, and white supremacy.
We were fucked and remain so now, even when Joe Biden assumes office.
We voted the Symptom of a virulent disease out of office, despite whatever increasingly desperate and pathetic claims like, “We actually won this election and it was a LANDSLIDE!” and farcical claims of “massive voter fraud“, a phrase that will resonate in the history books of 2050 and 2285 like “Mission Accomplished” and “Dewey Wins!”, held up as an example of how we’re often nowhere near a sane and moderate society as we like to think.
Many of us are gloating about the results of the 2020 election, right now, and while it’s okay and even a bit euphoric to think about it, we DID vote out that Symptom – NOT the Problem. Trump just unleashed a cancerous vein of misogyny, racism, bigotry, anger, frustration, and outright lunacy, he didn’t create it. In his diseased little con-man’s hindbrain, where what passes for his “thinking” occurs, Trump read that insanity and gave it a focus and a legitimacy…or, at least, the appearance of legitimacy. There have been innumerable news reports of people who have been arrested for hate crimes, assaults, destruction of private property, battery, and even murder but who were later astonished that they suddenly found themselves in the jailhouse for doing something they (erroneously) assumed was now acceptable because the “president” said it was okay, by inference, if not outright statements. A man in Mississippi was furious and wildly indignant when he was arrested for assault because he walked out into the street in front of his house and beat a passing pair of African-American teens with a stick because he “felt threatened“. He screamed at the cops, as they slapped on the cuffs, “Don’t you get it? This is the new reality, assholes! We’re not taking this, anymore! The president said so!”
He’s now serving a one year sentence in the MS slammer. Still not acceptable, no matter what Trump implied.
This is the mentality, or lack thereof, that infests this country, today. It is as virulent as Covid and as resistant to cure as HIV. It’s based in several successive generations of American kids who grew up with a massive sense of entitlement and the attitude that not getting their way was not just a part of life but WRONG, unacceptable, un-American, an infringement on their rights. Make no mistake about it, the main reason for this insanity and willful break with reality is not political, not even about Trump and his lunatic plan to install himself as America’s version of his Bromance, Vlad Putin. It is and has been for many decades, a hissy fit about the supposed disrespect that American conservatives have perceived from those of us in the sane, moderate/Liberal majority. The phrase “Trump tells it like it is!” is MOSTLY about its corollary, “He says aloud all the vile shit we had to stifle our whole lives!“, far more than it is any sort of referendum on how government works or law ‘n’ order and foreign policy or even the Bill of Rights or ingrained racism.
So…what do we DO? If the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one, well, stipulated. We all know it. There is endless yammering from my own ideological brethren about “dialog” and “empathy” and “compromise” and “rising above the rhetoric” – and yammering is all it is. The first step toward, the exact definition of, “dialog” is, according to Webster’s, “a conversation between two persons.” Any fewer than that and it’s a monologue, not a dialog, and that is where we’ve been with the lunatic mainstream for decades, now. They will only converse in Fox News sound bites and Breitbart slogans, falling back always, when painted into a corner of logic and reason, with “You just don’t get it!” They are not at all interested in compromise except when left no alternative and being in that position just inflames them even more. What they want, boiled down, is fairly simple: they want all of us to bow to their superior wisdom, admit that they’re right and we’re wrong, and capitulate in the ongoing war for the future of America. They no longer even pretend to persuade or reason. They just shout and hurl invective and demand that we accept what has become an increasingly unhinged version of what the US should be. They never seem to figure out that we’re not going to do that and that we cannot – literally have NO sane way to – accept reasoning rooted in fantasy and alt-reality absurdity and the incoherent blather of their Squatter-in-Chief.
The Republican Party can spin it any way they like. The Conservatives can frantically lean into that page in their Playbook that says, “Take what you are accused of and just fling it back.” They can whine and moan about the majority of us “not respecting our views” and ride that blatantly fraudulent Fox News slogan, “fair and balanced“, like a hobby horse until it rots out from underneath them but the bottom line is that an entire generation of sane, rational, decent Americans have now been handed a Problem that we will, eventually, have to deal with: a loud and conniving minority which has openly refused to come to any table, anywhere, and have a rational discussion about the future of the United States. They see even talking to those with different viewpoints as weakness and a betrayal of the conservative Cause – a nebulous concept that at least appears to consist of NO actual philosophical tenet except, “Stick it to the Libtards!!” There have by now been endless examples of this extremist mindset. The photo below is just one. A Southern minister said aloud, in a sermon, that Donald Trump was more to be worshipped than Jesus Christ. Another preacher said, in an address to a conservative political rally, that “we are all helping usher in the final Apocalypse” and the audience applauded. A women being interviewed for a research project in Pennsylvania, said openly, “I like a dictatorial system of Government, I’m a racist, I hate non-whites” – a statement which racists have been bottling up for generations because they knew there were Consequences for venting such hate. Now, it’s been legitimized and they are more and more emboldened every time such words are reported in the press or online.
The Bottom Line is that, as long as this segment of America persists in their perversion and hatred, America CANNOT continue to exist for very long. I’ve argued for secession many times and been scorned by Liberals saying it’s unrealistic and conservatives who say, “You’d have to get a two-thirds vote of the states for that and that’ll never happen!” (No, you actually do not) For the Libs, they don’t want to even think of a broken-apart America because it breaks their hearts and they would have to admit that empathy and dialog failed. For the conservatives, it means they wouldn’t have the rest of us to gloat over and subjugate and that takes all the fun out of the “Stickin’ It To” scenario.
But secession is rushing toward us all like a freight train with burned-out brakes. Within the past six months, AFTER we had disposed of the filth of Trump, I’ve read and heard dozens of prominent politicians and pundits positing secession as a real possibility. Once Trump was removed, the ugly reality beneath him was revealed and it has now become obvious to many more people that there is no realistic means by which we heal this societal division. The thought underlying that realization, maybe even unformed, is “How do we continue to deal with this for another two or three generations, until radical conservatism runs its course?” Even for a (relative) fire-breather like me, the thought is exhausting.
We have become a society that is addicted to the idea that solutions that are too hard are impractical. We yearn for and demand one elegant move that will almost magically solve the problem. If such a thing exists, as regards our knottiest societal issues, we have never found it and, considered rationally, that’s because it doesn’t exist. It never did.
I have no idea what form the eventual dissolution of the United States would take. A doughnut shape is most likely, as the real strongholds of rationality and moderate-to-Liberal thinking in this country are the edges of the map, with very few Blue States in the vast middle. According to several research organizations, the current number of Americans who now see secession as realistic has topped 20% in ALL regions and individual states, for the first time in over 100 years. Even more extreme radicals on both sides are moving toward the idea. The largest wave of secession approval, in fact, is in the largely red Southeast – both Texas and South Carolina have been routinely debating secession legislation, every session, for fifty+ years – where secession is becoming a far more appealing proposition as dejected Republicans have seen the Big Lie fail to change the ’20 election and they no longer have a clear majority in DC.
The maps below are two suggested configurations for what new, separate nations, evolving out of the existing US could look like:
Map property of Newsweek
In this above, the conservative Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba would join the American red states in forming the new United States of America, while the upper states along the American East Coast and the entire West Coast would join the rest of Canada to form The Canadian States of America. The map below comes from The Seattle Times and deals only with a much-discussed scenario in which the American west Coast would simply become the eleventh province in Canada; a province which most observers assume would be called Cascadia.
Map property of The Seattle Times
I am squarely on board with the Seattle Times map, as The East Coast states seem far less inclined to actually act upon a secession mandate. I also think the result of this Western secession makes the most sense, from a practical standpoint, as the union of California, Oregon, and Washington would produce the world’s fifth largest economy, while the combination of Canada with Cascadia would make it the world’s second largest.
There are thousands of hurdles to any such ideas and even more small but vital mechanisms to be set up and set into action and I have neither the knowledge nor the patience to try to outline then all, here in The Pour Fool. But what I know and what is dawning on a LOT of Americans is that this “more perfect union“, that has been our shining ideal for the history of the United States, has been irreparably fractured. Maybe, as I’ve suggested before, the United States has just plain become so shockingly vast in its moving parts, too complex in its infrastructure, its laws and bureaucracy, and its Byzantine economics, that it is no longer even feasible to run all of it under our current governmental structure. It is certainly FAR too complex for any one person to claim to be able to run it all, even with support of a literal army of bureaucrats and planners and functionaries. And maybe that, too, is at the heart of some of our conflicts. Smaller, less unwieldy nations would, by definition, he more human-scaled in their governance. Whatever it is, when I, as one thinking American, look at the present state of our society – loving this country as I have for my entire 69 years – I cannot even begin to imagine how people who accept alt-facts and conspiracy theories and children in cages and alienating our allies and undoing the Constitution and slandering our courts and military and education and science and the law and immigrants and anyone, basically, who is not white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant, and conservative will ever amount to the types of humans with which I want to associate with or allow to even speak to my grandchildren.
Nobody wants this. But nobody ever expected that we would find ourselves in a situation in which 30% of our citizens would suddenly decide that – rather than honor our traditions of an orderly transition of power and uniting behind a duly-elected president or the dispute the proven hacking of an American election by a foreign power, or reject the impulse to willfully cast the other 70% of their fellow citizens as The Enemy – they would line up squarely behind these extremist ideas and not only admit it but taunt us with them.
The dissolution of the United States is inevitable. You can be horrified by the idea if you like but only fools refuse to even consider the possibilities.
As Victor Hugo said, “Nothing else in the world…not all the armies…is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”