Here’s a thought experiment the whole family can play. Let’s pretend that we really could divide America into two countries – a Red America and a Blue America. And let’s suppose that we made it possible for every American to choose which America they wanted to live in – Red America or Blue America and getting them from where they are to where they want to live could be dealt with easily and quickly. Hey, it’s thought experiment, right? Those two America’s would be very different places. It’s becoming clearer that those two America’s – despite our news media’s insistence that bi-partisan or bust – cannot be bridged. They started out unbridgeable.
The foundations for two separate America’s were laid at our founding when our founders broke into two warring camps: federalists v states’ rights. Are we one country or a bunch of little countries with a soupcon of common purpose? Fundamental to that was how we accommodated slavery – which we did. A country built upon the idea of property rights that includes human beings as “property” is living a lie. Slavery, first and foremost, is stolen labor. The whole point of having a slave is you get their work product for nothing (minus the costs of housing, feeding and clothing them). How can a country make hard work the basis for success but only for some? It can’t. Especially when half the country’s “success” is built entirely upon stealing hard work. Some of the white, land-owning Christian men who wrote America’s founding documents understood this. That’s why James Madison insisted that America’s motto be “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many, one.
The many have to be equal before the law. They have to share America’s equity equally. The more level the playing field is in America, the more exceptional America will become because no other country is what America is – a nation made up of all the other nations. Only one group opposes America living more fully up to its magnificent ideals. Only one group sees themselves as “supreme”. Only one group consistently resists even common sense solutions to our problems (including getting vaxxed or wearing masks to deal with a pandemic!) for no other reason than they despise the rest of us.
Okay… so, let’s assume we can literally do this. What we really SHOULD do is divide America’s real estate according to its real political divide. Political Red America wouldn’t really be as large as it looks on a geographical map. None of that real estate can vote. Most likely, we’ll have to compromise on that one. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the Red v Blue divide mostly follows state borders. But, we’re not going to divide states by way of their gerrymandering.
No doubt Red America would insist upon putting up a physical wall to divide our two nations – not so much to keep us out (we’d have zero reason to even go to Red America except to visit belligerent family members we still talk to) as to prevent any further brain drainage. Remember – one of the first rules is everyone gets to live where they think they’d be happiest and where their children would prosper and thrive.
The way I think it would be goes something like this…
Blue America is the Progressive Nightmare that terrifies the right. Up and running quite successfully are the following “socialist” policies (that most Americans want) –
- Reproductive rights are an irrefutable fact of life
- LGBTQ rights are an irrefutable fact of life
- Voting rights are an irrefutable fact of life
- UBS is an irrefutable fact of life
- Education all the way through grad school (including trade school) is an irrefutable fact of life for all Americans (any debt owed will be public service, not money)
- Universal single payer health CARE is an irrefutable fact of life for every American
- Enhanced Social Security that keeps up with inflation and guarantees every American a livable old age is an irrefutable fact of life for every American
- The wealthy – and ALL corporations doing business in Blue America pay their FAIR share of taxes (offshoring means you can’t do business here); if you want the benefits from doing business here, you must accept the responsibilities that come with the benefits; it’s a package deal, take it or leave it
- Voter suppression no longer exists
- Gerrymandering no longer exists
- The filibuster no longer exists
- The Supreme Court now has 13 seats (so it looks like America)
- The Electoral College is a thing of the past
- Making Washington DC, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam states negates some of the power imbalance in the Senate by adding eight new Senators (say, why are there two Dakotas anyway?)
- Immigration is reimagined and reframed as an essential element of America being America
- America no longer does things outside our borders that give other people no choice BUT to try and immigrate here
- America leads the rest of the world via its mature, adult example
- The rule of law is enforced equally
- The Second Amendment is liberated from its NRA hostage takers: gun OWNERSHIP is not a right cos it ain’t in the Second Amendment
- Corruption is prosecuted like it was pure evil
- Diversity – E Pluribus Unum – is celebrated for the thing that makes America exceptional
The one thing not on that list is eliminating all current student debt. I want it all gone. The majority of us don’t feel that way but I suspect we can convert our way to a majority – which would then justify making zero student debt for all an irrefutable fact of life. I paid my student debt back in the day. But I have zero problem with my two kids’ student debt being eliminated. America making secondary education an expensive privilege was a horrible idea from the get-go.
I can’t change the past. I can’t get that money back. But that doesn’t justify continuing a horrible idea. That’s me wanting others to pay their pound of flesh out of spite. That’s stupid. And it’s not how we’ll do things in Blue America.
Red America is an even worse authoritarian shithole Progressives predict Red America would be but Red Americans insist they live in the paragon of freedom!
- Abortion is one hundred percent illegal as is all birth control
- Women have no rights that aren’t specifically enumerated in the Constitution as “women’s rights”
- There are no LGBTQ rights
- While all citizens can vote in theory, only white votes get counted
- Church = State (and that church is crazy fundamentalist
- Science can no longer be taught in science class
- Child labor comes back with a vengeance – no need for public education
- Zero immigration (hence zero diversity)
- Slavery is re-legalized via “company town” employment scheme
- Corporations are people – selfish, greedy people who run rampant
- Crony capitalism rules
- Book burning is celebrated
- Zero social safety net
- Health care is only for the rich; everyone else has the right to suffer and die
- Guns, guns, GUNS – for all the white people
- Racism, bigotry and misogyny are protected and encouraged
Having lost everyone with a double digit IQ during the initial brain drain (that preceded dividing the country), Red America hits the ground stumbling. No one knows how to do anything. All problems are dealt with using old solutions that no longer work. But those are the only solutions available when innovation and expertise become anathema to the people running the place. As things break down – they will inevitably – and the ability to fix them diminishes, a vicious circle of rot will begin.
White people love telling themselves that “nothing can be done!” to solve their problems. That’s a very white person answer to problems that are hard to solve. White people can’t wait to fold their cards and go home. That’s because they have a home to go to. People without a home don’t have that option and, so, never fold their cards. They understand that the struggle to achieve equality and equity is generational. If one generation were to give up, it would cut off the generations following from everything they’re entitled to. People who’ve always had everything – white people – can’t even imagine such a thing (and so they usually don’t)!
Red America is a country that 1) bamboozled itself into existence, 2) bamboozles every one of its citizens every day and 3) has already bamboozled itself into thinking it has a future. It doesn’t.
As more and more systems break down, Red America becomes a smaller, darker, less productive, more paranoid place. No one trusts anyone or cares about anyone else because everyone knows that Red America is the home of “every man for himself!” where freedom can be summed up by “You’re not the boss of me” and power is directly connected to money. Red America productivity – awful to begin with because slaves (or wage slaves) bring no dynamism to the work place because they don’t want to be in it – craters.
Greed infects all essential goods and services. Food production and distribution falls apart. Starvation becomes the norm. As Red America’s physical infrastructure falls apart, no one repairs it; soon enough, bridges and highways are impassable. Rolling blackouts are part of everyone’s daily life. Fearing cultural infection, Red America has restricted access to the outside world and its thinking. Though Red America tries to stop Red Americans from viewing Blue America’s internet, Red American technology is useless to prevent it. Most Red Americans know that Blue America is soaring while they sink deeper into the shit.
Next thing ya know, there are Red Americans trying to figure out how to climb those walls they insisted on building at the border. When they get to the other side, mostly they beg for food. As much as Red Americans might want to stay in Blue America, it scares them – because they’ve been taught to be scared. Also, they don’t have the skill sets to be here. Actual freedom isn’t free.
Just as Benjamin Franklin pointed out when our republic first hung out its shingle, yeah, we’ve got us a republic – but the hard part wasn’t imagining it, the hard part was going to be keeping it as a going concern still faithful to its ideals. That’s where the responsibilities kick in! That’s when progressives roll up their sleeves and get to work while conservatives run around with their lizard brains and hair afire.
It took East Germans a long time to adapt to living in a democracy instead of a dictatorship. As Winston Churchill pointed out, democracy’s the worst form of government except for all the others. What he meant was it’s damned hard to pull off. It demands that its citizens participate. It demands that they be informed and forward thinking instead of ignorant and tied to the past.
Red America will become a place that even North Koreans would find restrictive.
So – there are the parameters. You can live in one place or the other. Which will it be?