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America Needs a Trial Separation: Parallel States Might Be the Solution

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/10/america-needs-trial-separation-parallel-states-might-be-solution

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Odd article, in my view. It views the divisions of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia outside of the historical framework, in which their boundaries were drawn by the big (western) powers before or at the end of the 1st world war. These two nation states that are thousands years old with very complex pasts are compared with the US??? And I will not even go over the Palestine/Israel comparison.

But what bugs me most, is that there is this imaginary division offered to us in this article, which is portrayed as merely cultural and clear cut. Class division, corporatization of every aspect of life, bribery of the political class, and oppression of the working people, are not part of this author’s account. Neither is a portrayal of the political class, regardless of blue or red color. It was many people who voted for Obama, who then turned to Trump. Same economic class, same culture, same forgotten people.

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I agree this was an odd article because it describes the system of division we already have with our failed system of government that always seems to keep the wealthy and defense industry in charge of things no matter which political persuasion exists in DC.

Having said that I really think we are in danger of losing the small semblance of governance we have left on the national level if trump is allowed to remain in power. It’s clear he has serious dictatorial aspirations, and if we don’t get him out now he may have enough time in the next four years to consolidate his hold on power here so we may never get him out until he dies. I believe this is very a serious situation!

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As @lulemali and @Gordon both state “odd article”. This “solution” espouses a dystopian future and the word family never appears within it. It is simplistic, unworkable, and I shall end my comment here.

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How about the people who cannot afford or handily get a job when moving out of there home state no matter how much they would like to? Many of these people are not financially capable.

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The author pays zero attention to the driving forces that promote and benefit from this insane divisiveness: the looters, the corporations, the billionaires, the 1%, the war-mongers, the Republican party, the Democratic party, the planet-killing industrialists…

This divisiveness does not somehow emerge “naturally” from optional world-views. It is created, promoted, driven, purposefully, with billions of dollars invested in propaganda, media, obfuscation, “think tanks,” political campaigns, lies and mis-dirction.

Any effort to address the divisiveness, MUST address those interests that promote and benefit from it.

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I find this an interesting article, that has possibilities; never mind what some people, like @webwalk say. And never mind that in my opinion Mark LeVine’s description of Republican (Red) beliefs is a stereotype.

The base of what Mark Levine describes can be found in the millet system practiced in the Ottoman Empire more than 100 years ago. Different laws apply to different populations according to what community they belong to. The easiest to find example of that today can be found in Israel, where the concept applies to family law: marriage, divorce, adoption and so forth. Different laws apply to Jews, Muslims and Druze in Israel on the subject of family law, according to the community they belong to.

More than a year ago, when Germany suffered inconclusive elections and took months to form a government, I thought of a parallel concept: When it takes that long, months, to form a government then perhaps the states in Germany (‘land’) should meet to discuss whether the country should remain united, split up, or change the constitution. Ditto for Belgium, and for Spain, which have serious regionalism issues.

Adherence to a principle like ‘The union must be preserved’ has caused so much bloodshed, all around the world.

BTW, the idea that nothing has split from the USA is wrong. The Philippines was a special case, but all the same we did grant them independence, on schedule, in 1946. Likewise, splitting and becoming independent is always on the table for Puerto Rico.

Now, these two lines are an excellent display of colonial mentality. “We (as in the author and his country) granted the Philippines independence” - let this sink in…along with his permission to the people of Puerto Rico to de-colonize themselves. Wow. In the 21 century.

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I am not against splitting the nation up, necessarily, but the basis examined here has a lot to do with regional and demographic prejudice, and very little to do with policy differences.

When you examine party and elected officials, the differences between Red and Blue are small. The rulers and the talking heads around and in both parties wish to continue war and globalization, with universal surveillance to enforce reduced Bill of Rights-style civil rights protections, further diminish the social net, further centralize wealth, further plunder what remains of the environment, and so forth.

So why do people periodically return to this idea? There seem to be two reasons: one at least arguably good, the other authentic.

In reality, people raise this idea because they imagine that people of some other demographic are deplorable, to use Clinton’s term. They imagine that if they could exclude some subsection of their country persons, they could get their choice of oppressor, and oppression would thereby somehow be reduced. Most articles and commentaries, more than Le Vine’s, tend to indulge spiteful fantasies of what will transpire in “those other” states or counties when they become subject to “their own” policies. Splitting the country to accommodate regional bigotries might have some down sides, though that seems to be the leading motif in this discussion.

In practice, for instance, there is a very real danger of the better capitalized urban states rendering the rest more effectively subservient, as larger economies do with smaller economies generally. So, for instance, if unions are more prominent and wages higher in the more urban coasts, immigration difficulties are likely to arise similar to those between the States and much of Latin America.

On the other hand, the only real reason for large nation-states is war, and a closer-to-minimal deterrence might be accomplished. Empathy and organization appear to be easier for Homo sapiens at smaller levels of social organization, so it is likely to make sense to arrange important communitarian things like healthcare, adequate housing, education, infrastructure, and the more equitable sharing of resources at something closer to state or county levels. A small shadow of the current US military construct would suffice for deterrent at least as well as what we have now.

While we are indulging these sortts of speculations, though, why not subdivide them according to regions with significant natural characteristics, like watersheds or climate types, so that laws suited to particular conditions and sorts of region could develop?

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Bioregional “borders” make a lot more sense, a LOT more sense, than the ridiculous lines that currently divide the human world. With the added benefit that creating these new “borders” would teach the human inhabitants about bioregions, and ecosystems.

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The phrase and the verb you use don’t particularly concern me. Filipinos lobbied for independence, and in the 1930s the US Congress passed a law to <verb>{grant, recognize, …} Philippine independence on July 4th 1946. Which happened on schedule.

If Puerto Ricans want a change of status, to independence, at any time, say so and you can have it. BTW, I am willing, the same, for Hawaii, or Guam, or American Samoa.

I’m interested in reading the rest of your thoughts on this article! I rather enjoy the idea of bioregions, such as Ladakh before the West got its grubby hands on it, or Turtle Island before the European invasion. People in a particular region knew its rhythms, the other inhabitants, and the its makeup, like the songlines of Australian Indigenous peoples. The two-legged ones lived on a system of energy exchange. If something like food was taken from the land, something was given in return, such as products to enrich the land. In Ladakh, people used their animals’s energy to both take from the land in terms of crops, and to give to the land in terms of the waste products. They took milk from the animals to make butter and gave them grazing areas, moving from one pasture to another. Nothing was ever “tossed out as trash” but eveything had a use. Even old clothing, worn to rags, was used as patches or in wall hangings. Best of all, IMHO, once the harvest was in and winter arrived, the people could party on down with barley beer and music until spring came again, about 8 months later! Of course they wove and made jewelry and clothing as well, but mainly…party on down!

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Those illiterate, fascist pigs in AK would never live peacefully. They are full of hate and fear and would set us into a state of long term civil unrest.

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I think this piece is meant to spark brain cells & discussion - it certainly succeeds in that regard. I think most discussion around polarization" overlooks the fact that, until very recently, the forum for debate has been limited. The primary reason we perceive any sense of polarization is that voices previously unheard now have a voice in the national discussion. In Days of Old, the range of disagreement stayed within accepted boundaries, because the forum for debate only included white men. Now America is compelled to acknowledge the aspirations of its all people.

From a practical standpoint, it might be possible to bring some modest reform to the system by curtaining or eliminating aspects of American government labeled “undemocratic”, such as the Electoral College, the powers & composition of the Senate, reversing the Citizen’s United ruling, etc. Granting more autonomy to regions or states sounds good in-theory, but could unleash a type of nativism in so-called Red States that could cause a lot of suffering for a lot of people.

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I am guessing that you think AK means Arkansas. Arkansas is AR. AK is Alaska. While there are a lot of knuckleheads in Alaska, there are a lot of well educated, well armed leftists here, as well as a lot of peaceful right wingers.

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One way to view the political Left and Right is as a Yin/Yang of uncomfortably co-dependent opposites. Their opposing ideologies describe how the Left is generously “collectivist” while the Right is selfishly “individualist.” The population as a whole can also be viewed with a Bell Curve where the majority straddle both sides of its high point and a minority of the wealthy and powerful are set at the curve’s end points. In order to serve the majority, Democrats must represent some fair proportion of ‘moderate’ conservative viewpoint. Republicans however have no ideological mandate to serve a majority of even their own rank-n-file.

Individualism is taken to the extreme to serve only the minority of powerful interests on both sides. Lastly, an elected public servant is duty bound to serve a majority of their constituents from both sides of the political aisle. Democrats come closer to this ideal than republicans, which leaves me wondering if the Republican Party agenda is loyal to our Constitutional ideal.

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No room for wonder. It plainly is not. It has not been since Reagan was elected, and has been progressively undermining it ever since, laying the groundwork over the past four decades (with the collusion of neoliberal “third way” Democrats since B Clinton) for Trump.

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Life in Trumpland has given me insight into a segment of Trump supporters. While they may deny it, I’ve found them to be profoundly racist. But, the reality is that many have much more in common with the non-White, non-JudeoChristian folk they deplore, then with the plutocrats who rule the United States. Democrats and Republicans are both guilty of directing government energy, resources, and forces of violence to serve the interests of their plutocratic rulers and the military.

I don’t see the current state of affairs as hinting at a Two State solution. Instead I think progressives should do a better job in engaging with Trumpsters so we all get a better understanding of how Democrats and Republicans extract our blood, sweat, and tears to serve their military and corporate masters.

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At this point, only the delusional even want America to “Work out our differences and come together for the greater good of all involved.”

The author doesn’t seem to actually know much about history, particularly when he pontificates about Yugoslavia, Israel and Czechoslovakia. He also fails, as do many old Century thought model liberals, to recognize that the US as a functioning single nation has already collapsed. What will play out over the next six to eight years is the process of states going their own way by every substantive measure, remaining part of the fictitious US in name only.

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