A thorough examination of how two new United States could emerge from a Constitutional Convention to divide the nation into two new portions must include a look at the geography of those new nations. The case for pursuing this course of action is clear because of the great and unbridgeable chasm between the Left and Right on some many critical issues. The first and foremost disagreement concerns Federalism or the size, scope and power of the Federal government. The sides have vastly different outlooks on that vital issue. Personal freedom from Federal control and regulation is very important to the Right but the Left views that central authority as benign or even a force for good. Economic and tax policies couldn’t be more disparate between the sides. Then there is the list of social issues that are viewed differently be the sides. The sides don’t respect the views of each other and indeed on many important matters see the perspective of the other side as anathema to their core beliefs. To some extent it can be viewed as large urban areas versus the outer suburbs or rural
America. The divide between those two areas could not be more profound. Geography matters greatly in all societies and cultures and the division of the US should be sensitive to those effects.
Fortunately the geographic separation is mostly manifest to any rational mind. One only needs to look at the last few decades of Presidential elections and the elections down ballot at both the Federal and State level. It is very apparent that the Left is concentrated in the Coastal regions of the country and that definition of coastal would include several states around the coasts of the Great Lakes. Thus a likely moniker of “Coastal America” because that would be a reasonably accurate description. But one of many advantages of this separation is that the new Left region can call themselves whatever they want. The remainder of the country is “Middle America” or whatever that region will ultimately wish to call themselves. Coastal America would encompass the area north of Virginia to Maine and then pick up a couple of three states on the Great Lakes shores and then move west to the Pacific and all three states from California to Washington.
The Left should be more than satisfied with the area. It would include many of the great cities. They would have New York, Boston, Philly, Baltimore and it is posited here that they could have Washington D. C. Then they would pick up Chicago and likely Detroit. Out west they get those great urban areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco. They would have a huge industrial base and abundant natural resources if they wish to develop them. They would have plenty of great port cities and access to both oceans. They would get the economic center in New York for as long as they can keep it. They would have great advantages they could exploit. Indeed some might point out many difficulties like the NYSE and the commodity exchanges being in Coastal America but that wouldn’t prevent cross border commerce and Middle America would be free to compete for all that business and the better run economy would emerge the strongest which is as it should be. As far as this commentator is concerned Coastal America could keep D. C. Middle America would choose its own capital city. Many of those Lefties in northern Virginia would decide to leave because the size and scope of the Federal authority in D. C. would diminish and Virginia would return to a more robust and long term rational balance economically and politically. Remember there would be a free flow of people and trade between both nations. But you would be a citizen of only one or the other with the attendant right and privileges granted by your chosen nation. You would be subject to the local criminal laws of the nation where you reside or visit and have to pay locally imposed taxes but all other legal matters would be determined by you own nation or State as the case may be. There would be a sufficient time period allowed for people to migrate from one area to the other before the division takes official status.
Middle America would have the Mississippi and Missouri and the Gulf of Mexico and access to the Atlantic from the southern states. It would not have direct access to the Pacific but the Panama Canal would be accessible and trade and goods would be allowed to flow freely to the Pacific coast from Middle America so there would be no impediment to its economic viability. There would also be very abundant natural resources available and it would continue to be the breadbasket for all America and much of the world. There would be beautiful and beckoning sea shores and New Orleans for the entertainment minded.
Yes, there would be many concerns to be addressed but they could be dealt with. Even the professional sports of the US could continue without interruption. It might even add a little more spice to some of the rivalries. Take the time to look at a map and you can see the logic of this division. Each state after the Constitutional convention would make its own determination as to which nation it would elect. That selection process by each state would be determined by each state, closer to the real voters. For each problem with this proposed solution think about each new opportunity it brings to the two sides. The Left can have tax policy as they wish. They can attack the “rich” to their heart’s content and use affirmative action as a hammer to fashion the society they want and do these things without any interference from the Right. They can let their judges legislate directly from the bench if that is their desire. They would be free to nationalize any industry or enterprise they wish for the greater good to spread the wealth around in any manner they deem more equitable. All problems can be solved and both sides will be so much more content without having to deal with the other. The hard cold facts are we don’t like each other and there no longer exist even mutual respect for the views of the other. All societies are better off dealing with reality rather than a fantasy society built on the bludgeon of legal force against a sizable minority. I am confident about the future of Middle America; it will be a nation to take pride it and support and Coastal America can forge its own destiny for good or ill. Give these ideas reflection. We created the US from nothing and it turn out pretty good; each of the new nations would have tremendous advantages in their fresh starts. More of the problems and concerns you envision will be addressed in future posts.
“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” James Madison. US President. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com
The basic case was made in the first installment of this series that it has become time to call a Constitutional Convention by the States and restructure the US in a fundamental way so that there will be two new nations with sovereignty over their own affairs. This is viewed as a logical and more peaceful means to a long-term resolution of the polarization of the US that is so painfully evident today. It is proffered that those divides cannot and will not be joined by mutually acceptable values and goals. The separate visions of the country torment us and increase hostility by the opposing sides. We do want to take pride in our nation. No doubt of that. Buy many abhor the nation that promotes Obamacare, wants an aggressive and growing EPA and a Labor Dept. bent on crushing management at ever turn. The Right has no trust in such a government. There is in fact a lack of loyalty to that kind of government; it is viewed as the enemy more than fellow citizens. The vehemence of the Left is just as strong. Look only to the recent “Occupy” movement. They worship government as long as they can control it and the wealth and assets of the nation. Let them have their sway as long as it is in their own backyard and not ours. The Left definitely believes they would be better off without the Right. They view the Right as a burden they have to overcome and an impediment to all their goals. We don’t have to be at constant war with each other. There is a better way.
Yes, we share some nostalgic moments of mutual beliefs like the anthem at the football games and the flyover. But as soon as we discuss the size, scope and role of the Federal government we part and have been parting for decades. As that famous philosopher Yogi Berra observed our similarities are different. Yes, making this peaceful division will be difficult but does anyone believe it will prove more difficult than reconciling our Left and Right under current circumstances and political structure? The Left disdains and belittles the Right as yokels and obstacles to their goal for “progressive” government control of an ever-expanding role for Federal government in all aspect of one’s life literally from cradle to grave as has been their announced intention since FDR. The Right rebels at the notion of greater Federal government intervention into local government decisions and personal decisions from health care to environmental concerns.
Each would be much happier without the other.
The new nations would divide along geographic lines that are mostly self-evident. Each would preserve the basic Constitution as written with only minor adjustments. For example, and example only, the Right portion of the new America would probably adopt a balance budget amendment of some sort. The Left would not want that. Good, each would finally achieve their desires. The three branches of government would remain in tact for each nation and so would the Bill of Rights. So would virtually all the other amendments in all likelihood. At least in the new Right America, the 14th amendment might be modified a bit to more clearly define citizenship or maybe not. That is what is nice about this new structure a chance for each side to set its own future course and agenda. Each side would have its own divisions within. Every supporter of the Left does not agree with all the Left agenda. Bernie Sanders might be a bit too far left for some in New York. They can work out their differences as they see fit without concern for the views of those of the Right in “fly over” country. Likewise there will be disagreements on the Right about various issues. Rand Paul wouldn’t concur with the views of a Mitch McConnell on all matters. That is ok. Each side would be working with those who are much more closely aligned with their over view of the US than having to deal with those from the other side. The current path leads to tragic civil disorder and certain economic collapse. That is not hyperbole. What else can result when the two sides don’t want to work with each other and don’t even share common goals.
The world will not come to an end when this is done. Each side is confident in its vision of the future and they will be free to pursue it. Each will have a Federal government and states unless the Left decides to just eliminate them which many would love to do now anyway. Each would have its own economic agenda and tax policy. The judiciaries would reflect the will of both Left and Right in their respective new nations. That alone will be an enormous relief to both sides. Each would have its own military force but strong mutual defense treaties in all likelihood. Trade and commerce could flow freely between the new borders which would benefit both. But make no mistake you would be a citizen of one or the other so than the votes and political wishes of each new nation would reflect the will of its people and no other. Yes, there are many questions that come to mind on these matters just stated and more. The above and others will be addressed in later postings in detail. Those issues and “problems” can be resolved. After all we started from scratch in the late 18th century with none of the vast advantages we currently enjoy. That worked out pretty well for over two centuries. Each of the new nations can have a bright future due to the more harmonious political environment. Not a perfect one but more closely matching the wishes of its populace. The bonds of union are tattered because there two distinct and conflicting views for future growth and political action and the proper role of Federal government. This is not a call to rebellion but a call for a legal method to recognize the wishes of the people of both Left and Right and allow each to live in peace without the interference or obstruction of the other.
Buchanan to Lincoln “…if you are as happy on entering the White House as I on leaving, you are a very happy man indeed.” http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com
We have had various warnings from leaders over the history of our nation. It started with Washington in his famous Farewell Address when he warned of many things but among them was the danger in “foreign entanglements” and to avoid them. At that time and place it was pretty sound advice for the young nation. We were still very small potatoes in the world and needed the peace and quiet to grow and prosper. Washington rightly worried that treaties with too many other nations and with too many conditions would inevitably lead to conflicts if not outright war and that would be devastating to the budding Republic. Indeed as we know from our history we did have several wars during our first 15 years or so after his departure. There was the undeclared war with the French over trade, the also undeclared war with the Barbary pirates and Muslims on the north African coast and the declared war with Britain in 1812. Along the way we also had some tussles with the Spanish here and there. It would have been difficult to pick the right partner during those times and not having a formal alliance with one or the other probably was the smart play.
About 150 years later Eisenhower came along to warn us about the industrial-military complex and the perceived power and influence it was having on our national policy and the skewed effects on our economy. Again, the advice was probably not too bad at the time. Many thought the advice was odd coming as it did during the height of the Cold War. It was believed that we needed a very strong industrial base to support our military operations to hold back the advance of the Communists. They had been very aggressive in announcing their intentions to take over the world. They even had organizations for that purpose controlled from Moscow. But Ike was concerned that the industry supporting our military needs was too strong and could thwart national and international policy with its lobbying in Congress. That the agenda was more about preserving market share than it was the national interest. We did need a very strong military presence at that time. You may recall that one of the key elements of the Kennedy victory in 1960 was the alleged “missile gap” between ourselves and the Communist. Although there was in fact no missile gap and Kennedy knew it he continued to pound on the subject and it found a receptive chord with the public. This was the era of Sputnik and the rocket and space race and SAC and the beginnings of the ICBM’s. Generally, Ike’s advice was not followed and probably it was correct not to do so as the Communists were relentless during those years with their aggression around the world. We may have overdone it some but better to have too many weapons that are never used than too few when desperately needed.
Today I wish some leader would bang the tocsin with a clarion call to cut back on the governmental-educational complex. All our major universities and colleges that do any research are in a constant competition for Federal funding for their programs. You cannot find a single large school that does not receive millions, if not hundreds of millions, per year for directed research. This has been true for some time but has accelerated during the last 25 years to truly gigantic proportions. You can bet that many of the scientists and academics at these schools spend as much time preparing their grant request as they do actual research. Lots of the large schools have either full-time staff that do nothing but this or hire specialists to prepare these applications. The amount of money going to the educational system is staggering. Just recently there as been the Race To The Top funding grant with gazillions at stake and in this case it is the States themselves that are seeking the money.
The department of commerce hands them out, the department of transportation, the department of Energy; the EPA is a huge contributor, and even the Pentagon doles out grants. The behemoth of course is the department of Education. Naturally what gets lost in the shuffle is that education is not a federal concern at all. We all want a good education for our children and a sound educational system but the Constitution does not provide that as a Federal area of authority. The States are in control of education along with the private schools. We also seem to forget that all this money doesn’t come from the Government, Inc., it comes from us. We get taxed to the hilt and ship that money to DC and then some pointed-headed bureaucrat makes rules, regulations and mandates and then magnanimously return a portion of it to our state with strings attached by people far away.
Too many academics are in the “business” of applying for grants just as are too many of the community organizations that apply for and receive these funds. If a school has a great idea for research they should ask their alumni or private industry to fund the program. If it is meritworthy it will receive it. It will be judged on its use and usefullness to society rather than some political agenda from Washington. That competition between universities would be a good thing. It would more likely be a competition on merit rather than political connections. You really think the applications for Iowa State receives the same consideration as the one from Harvard? Have you checked lately how many Harvard grads are in the current administration?
All of those grants should be cut off root and branch. Let all that money stay with the citizens of the respective states and let them decide which schools and universities should receive which funding. Make them compete for private money, not political sway. The research would be better. We don’t need an entire industry built on applying for grant money and the lobby that supports it. It is not productive. You want transparency then lets start with this whole area and take a look at the numbers and the results and specifically at the players who benefit. You want more ACORNS to be getting your tax dollars or more research on the alleged decline of some obscure fish in the tago tago river in El Somewhereland? If those things are useful they will find the money elsewhere.
Is there anything better on a crisp fall morning than a cup of coffee in your backyard and looking up to see a flock of geese heading south? That dependability of cycles is reassuring in our sometimes hectic world. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com
Over the past 70 years or so we have steadily eroded our Federal system of government and governance of our nation. The Federal government has encroached on more and more areas that traditionally and Constitutionally were reserved to the States. Most of these impositions have been indirect takeovers of certain industries, enterprises or functions such as imposing such as in education, the environment and welfare programs of all sorts. These takeovers are accomplished by the Feds first issuing a mandate that the States have to perform certain functions or provide services as defined and supervised by the Feds.
Education is a prime example but certainly not the only one. Going back to the ’60’s the Feds started with all these head start programs and breakfast and lunch programs. The various mandates of the Feds have only grown, like they always do, with regard to education. Now they have these standards for achievement and teacher performance. I am all for education and a good education at that with demanding standards for the administrators, teachers and children. Sadly, all this Federal intrusion into education has not produced positive results. Forget in my opinion the “buzz” from all the academics about improvements here and there. Just look around your neighborhood, city or State. Do YOU see evidence that our kids are challenged and that the curricula are demanding? You have bound to heard about grade inflation and have an opinion on it. They can’t do basic math, write a coherent sentence, know little about science if anything and when it comes to history or political science they are deplorable or worse misinformed by revisionist teachers. Please read a 7th grade history text this month. Draw your own conclusions about what they are learning or more importantly not learning.
We do need a good educational system but that is and should be the responsibility of the States and not the domain of the Feds. Jefferson was one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of public education and devoted his life after politics to the construction and establishment of the University of Virginia. We need local control and local responsibility for all matters regarding our schools. The Federal government shouldn’t be providing free meals, after school programs and certainly shouldn’t have anything to do with the curriculum or class room standards. That should be addressed by the individual States. If there are hungry children at school then the local school district should deal with that or the State. Likewise all matters regarding teaching and quality of education should come from the local roots.
We have allowed ourselves to become Provinces of the central government rather than sovereign States as envisioned in the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. The Feds accomplish this by making a mandate and then taxing the wadding out of us and then taking the money and telling us that if we don’t follow their bidding that they will withhold the Federal money for the different programs. Only today there are news accounts of the latest from the EPA about ozone standards being altered again. When the new rules come out those localities not in Federal compliance will lose their funding for highways. Exactly the same thing happens with Medicaid, the education grants, the welfare programs, etc. Where do they think the money comes from in the first place? They take it from us, denying that money to our local States. I wish for once that a vast majority of the States would rise up and tell the Feds, “Hell NO” we don’t want your money and don’t want to be in your programs. At the same time the local populace would tell their epresentatives and Senators that they better reduce the Federal tax burden in a proportionate amount.
It would be nice if someone would pay for the research to go through the labyrinthine Federal set up and all the agencies, Departments and bureaus and calculate the number of programs and the money that they cost. You know it would be billions, hundreds of billions annually. All that money could be repatriated to the States where it rightfully belongs in the first place for education and other areas. Let the States decide how they want to deal with these issues and let them tax their residents as determined by local politics. Competition is a good thing. Education is a good thing. Let the States have their money and let them put out an education product and let the competition begin. It would be so healthy for the nation. Some would lag behind others but they would have a lot of incentive to improve or they would lose the economic race and challenge to the States offering a better product. Let the States take care of the welfare of their citizens and their educational needs. Except for the Interstate Highway system, let the States foot the bill for their road system. Why in the world should folks in Mich. have to pay for Parish bridges in Louisiana?
The friction of competition and the variety of options that would be offered would be very good for the nation as a whole. Those with the best systems would flourish and the others would have a model to emulate.
Those guys a long time ago we smart enough to figure out how to do lots of things that baffle me. How the heck did Hannibal load those elephants on to those galleys and transport them to Europe? We are talking about ships that were 60 to 90 long at the most and only 15 to 18 feet at the beam. How do you get an elephant that weighs two tons or more on that? And where in the world do your put him when you do get him aboard? The miracle is I guess that after all that they somehow managed to sail with them without too many of them going berserk en route and capsizing the ship. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com
It seems that all societies go through periods when they confuse or diminish the distinctions between rights and responsibilities. On the one hand everyone today is claiming that everything is a personal right and on the other they believe it is the government’s responsibility to fix anything and everything they perceive as not working out the way they think they should. Both government and individuals have responsibilities and the individuals should have rights in their relationships with government. Our private dealings with another should fall into another category. Those would involve the rules of curtesy, manners and civil behavoir with one another. We forget that many of the things we assume or rights are in fact privileges granted either by the state or by society.
One of the most common assumptions is that we have the right to drive a car. Not true. There is no such right. We are given a license by the State to drive those vehichles. It is a privilege and can be lost due to our own behavoir. We forget that often. Some now argue that medical care is a right, somehow guaranteed under the Constitution. It can be declared as such as often as some want but that does not make it so. No doubt that is a societal obligation as a matter of charity to see to the needs of the truly less fortunate and those that have encountered bad luck along the road of life. That however is a far different matter than having a right under law to medical treatment. Can we send doctors to jail for not treating a patient? Would you want a society where that could happen? We would all hope that any doctor would be morally compelled to aid those suffering but it would be quite another thing to threaten jail for failure to render such service. Same with the plumber. Do you have a right to have your leaking toilet repaired regardless of whether you can pay for it or not? That leak can and will cause very serious damage to your home without repair but does that mean the plumber is obligated to make the repair free or even if you will pay is he obligated to fix it. What if he just doesn’t want to. We need to be very careful when we create a right. I think our Founders did an excellent job with defining our rights and keeping them simple and yet profound at the same time. Most of life’s issues they left to us as members of socities or to local authority which is much more in tune with the local concerns and needs of its citizens.
All matters regarding family life have been left to the States to decide. We have no National rights with regard to those matters such as marriage or adoption. We have no right to marriage even under the various State laws. If it was a right then you wouldn’t need a marriage license. You get the license because marriage is a fundamental concern of the State. All family relationships are a concern of the State that is why we have laws against incest and child abuse. In times not that far removed those matters were mostly left to the man of the house and the State would merely approve whatever action the father took with regard to an errant child or wife. Likewise that is why up to now we have had laws against polygamy in all the States. The State we have decreed has such a fundamental interest in the integrity and structure of the family unit that we have ceded authority over all such matters to the State. If gay marriages were a matter of right then there would be no need for a license. But even those marriages require a license from the State. Historic recognition of “common law” marriages never equated with recognition of any right to marriage.
I frankly don’t rank the gay marriage issue up on my top 20 concerns one way or the other but I am concerned by the ever expanding theory that everything is somehow a right. It seems fair to assume that if everyone is free to do whatever they please as a matter of right then we really don’t have any freedoms or rights at all but a loosely organized anarchy. We will all be better off if we stick to the fundamental rights as outlined in the Constitution and then make such adjustments in our family relationships as the people decide in the democratic process. We have all decided so far that polygamy is a detriment to society and that should remain the rule until we collectively change it by our vote not the decision of a judge somewhere. We should maintain few rights but guard those we have zealously.
Likewise we must monitor the power of the state with the authority it has over us and its power to “license” our activities we deem important to a functioning society and economy. We need to be careful that the States or Federal government right to grant corporate charters is never used to control our economy and free markets. Nor should “regulations” for our own good and protection every exceed the authority of Article One of the ennumerated powers lest they may not be for our own good but for the aggrandizement of an elite governing cabal.
Our weakening dollar will not do our economy any good over the long haul. Yes, it helps some industries with exports in the short run but on a macroeconomic scale we want our dollar to be the most prized possesion on earth. That will make our economy stronger and a better standard of living for each American. Lots of energy and a strong dollar are the backbone of our modern economy. Our natural urge for innovation will take care of the rest. wwwe.olcranky.wordpress.com