Friday, April 17, 2009
A Nation Divided - Can It Stand?
Governor Rick Perry of Texas got in some hot water this week for at least implying that Texas could secede from the union. He thinks the federal government should do more to honor states' rights. At at "Tea Party" event on Wednesday he said this:
"There's a lot of different scenarios. We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
It does at least imply that the United States could be not so united in the not so distant future. Perry took a beating for this in the media, but on some level I understand where he is coming from. I don't think the problem is federal intrusion on states' rights, but we are a country deeply divided along political and geographic lines. I wonder whether we can continue to operate as a single entity.
After Bush was elected the second time I looked at the electoral map, the polling data and the issues that seemed to decide the election, and I seriously asked myself if I could live in the country that data represented. At the time, the doctored map of North America shown above made it's way around the Internet. It showed the continent basically divided in half - north and south. The northern half was labeled "United States of Canada," and the southern half was labeled "Jesusland." I remember thinking through my anger: "That seems about right."
I suspect that Perry and others in the south are feeling the same about the new administration in Washington. They see their core beliefs threatened, and it makes them angry. How long can we go on like this? Presidential elections are basically a dead heat. A small number of undecideds decide the outcome. About half the country is always unhappy - often very unhappy - with the country's leadership. We really are a nation divided.
I would never - ever - want to see the US go through another civil war, and if that's where Perry was going with his comments he should take heavy criticism. I do wonder how long we can continue under our current model though.
Will it survive our differences, or should we consider an amicable divorce?