America is badly divided. The evidence for this sad state of affairs abounds.
For the record, I know a bit about countries in various degrees of separation. I was closely affiliated with the Brexit movement in the United Kingdom, which saw it leave the European Union.
I was on the team that helped bring down the Soviet Union. I advised various Eastern European governments in their reform and detachment from the Eastern bloc both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I have—as an American diplomat and in the United Nations as Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe—helped many countries avoid economic collapse, civil strife, or bloody partition.
So, let’s honestly consider the present state of affairs in our own country.
Red states versus blue states. Democratic socialists against nationalist conservatives. Those in blue states want a different constitution, more left-wing states, the end to the Electoral College, the packing of the Supreme Court, defunding the police, and wokeism based on identity politics as the default ideology. They oppose American traditional values, religious pluralism, and generally feel shame about sharing a country with their fellow citizens in flyover country. They no longer want to have the America we know and love.
I say let them go; or let us go from them. Divide and avoid a coming clash. This is a risk-reward scenario and, while there are downsides, the upsides of a divorce outweigh all of the costs. This is not secession in the 19th century sense of the term—it is a mutually managed separation: a good outcome. There is little that is satisfying about it, but it may have become a necessity. In economics we call this the second-best option, ceteris paribus.
Other pundits on the Left and Right are coming to the same conclusion. They say we’re ripe for a breakup. The bitter partisan animosities, the legislative gridlock, the growing acceptance of violence in the name of political virtue—it all invites us to think that we’d be happier were we two different countries. In all the ways that matter, save for the naked force of law, we are already two nations.
So, put an end to this madness and ugly division. The time has come for the great divorce. Rather than fall into a bloody second civil war, the United States could mediate an amicable but permanent separation. Separation and divorce are surely never pretty, and they have costs attached, but it often becomes necessary when sides are incompatible, or strife persists. Face it, marriages come apart, companies divest, and states, like the former Czechoslovakia, have done likewise, rather peacefully.
Here’s how the U.S. divorce could work, in some grainy detail.
First, we agree to divide into the existing red states or the original United States of America, and the blue states or Socialist States of America. Each of the 50 states plus D.C. would ratify its decision in a binding referendum. If Virginia wanted to stay in the United States of America that would be possible. Or, if Arizona wanted to side with the new Socialists States of America, their own citizens could choose freely.
The red United States of America would keep all the existing institutions, laws, and customs as we know them from the original founding. The Socialist States of America could, as desired, have a brand-new constitution, make the District of Columbia a full state, and be rid of the First and Second Amendments, if they choose to do so in their new revolutionary and fully woke founding documents. The traditional USA would keep the stars and stripes (minus some stars, or surely be accused of irredentism) and the “Star Spangled Banner” as its national anthem.
If a county or a city wanted to become part of one sovereign state not the other, they would be free to vote on it. If, say, five counties of western Oregon wanted to join Idaho, they could do so and go red. If a city, like Kansas City or St. Louis, wanted to switch states, they too could do so.
To make it even more fair, if a citizen of either a red or blue state wanted to move to another state to change allegiances, they would be encouraged to do so and could be paid a tax credit to facilitate such. That way no one would be “stuck,” so to speak.
A free-trade agreement between the two sovereign states would allow commerce to continue unabated. The Socialist States would have their own tax code, welfare system, immigration law, and currency. They could increase Sanders-style socialist programs to their hearts’ delight. They could have universal healthcare, a 75 percent tax rate, and abortions even after birth. The red states could do away with Roe vs. Wade, build out the border wall in Texas and Arizona (not California), and allow concealed carry of guns.
We would divide existing national debt and assets proportionally, based on the final population numbers for each separate country. This would hold for military, government employees, federal lands, and all services, much like Britain shouldered its share of pension obligations for retired eurocrats with their nationality. The passports of United States citizens would remain the same and Socialist States of America would issue new passports with the hammer and sickle or Red Star as the emblem. If they wanted no borders, sanctuary states, or equity as an outcome, they would be free to enact such legislation.
The foreign policy of each state would adhere to its citizens’ demands. Red states may drop out of the WHO and Paris Accords, whereas blue states would not. Each country would have its own diplomats. While the United States of America would remain a republic with a bicameral congress and a presidency, the Socialist States would be able to inscribe any model of governance they chose—dictator for life or perhaps a monarchy based on race? They could have proportional representation and no voter ID to vote. They could ballot harvest as much as they wanted, but only in their country.
In my calculation, there would be roughly equal populations and at least 31 states would remain in the original union. Most of the cities are on the coasts, so one country would be more urban than the other. There could be freedom of movement but only for citizens. Immigration would be controlled by respective states. One country might be highly restrictive and the other totally open.
The federal inner ring of Washington, D.C. extending to the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA would remain part of the traditional United States but all the residential portions of the District of Columbia—a potentially new state, would be part of the SSA. Such entities as the Washington Metro and airports could become joint ventures.
Culturally, the USA and SSA would represent different versions of life or worldviews. The left-wing media would be located in the SSA and it could focus on corruption and scandal in that region. FOX News, OAN, and Newsmax, as well as conservative publications and websites would locate to the Red zone and flourish in that space.
Inevitably, over time different political parties would possibly arise. The Democrats in the blue states could split into liberals, progressives, BLM, and socialists. In the red states, conservatives might recalibrate into neocons, libertarians, and populists—time would tell.
The professional sports leagues could carry on as is, with a renaming essential, as these would no longer be national leagues. Over time, life would evolve to be quite different in each space but with a desire to live peaceably and separate, it would be for the better.
The divorce should begin immediately and be finished by 2024.
Divided we stand.