Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality

Divided States of America

Sometimes I wonder if the South losing the Civil War was such a good thing. I don’t mean that slavery should still be a publicly sanctioned and popular practice. I do mean that Lincoln’s determination to keep the union together may have been misguided, in the long-term.

Blue states. Red States. Bipartisanship. Why? Ever heard the expression about too many chefs in one kitchen?

Real change doesn’t happen in the US because there are too many conflicting interests that need to “agree” in order to get anything done. Look at health care “reform.” So the republicans don’t want health care reform to pass, because they like things the way they are, and they also want to see a democrat motion get sunk so that the democrats will appear ineffectual and lose upcoming reelections. So the moderate democrats don’t want a public option. So they also want to put in weird anti-choice clauses. So the liberal democrats want reform so badly, they’re willing to compromise their principles. In the end, what do we end up with? Either a lot of hullabaloo about a bill that won’t pass… or a bill that doesn’t really make anyone happy.

Health care is just one example, though. Look at sex education (abstinence-only v. comprehensive), immigration, marijuana regulation, prostitution regulation, gun regulation, the death penalty, military and education spending. The supreme court is a constant flip-flop of dying and retiring judges who get replaced by “impartial” judges who are either left-leaning or right-leaning depending on who’s appointed them.

Obama is the worst example of what the “united” states faces. I have a lot of liberal friends who are disappointed in his first year in office. They had hope. They believed in change. They thought Obama was liberal (after all, the conservatives kept calling him a *gasp* socialist). Obama was never liberal. He’s moderate all the way down the line. That’s how he got elected. It’s also why he’s had trouble getting anything done.

If we had a DSA (Divided States of America) instead of a USA, I bet we would all get along better, and the two countries would get more stuff done. Sure, there would still be small internal disagreements, but in the end, a greater number of people in each country would be happier with governmental policies. In one country, abortion would be legal, the government would spend more money on education than the military, affirmative action would be commonplace, everyone could have health care, marijuana would be legal and tightly regulated (as would prostitution), and sex education would teach students how to have safer sex. In the other country, abortion would be illegal, the government would spend more money on the military than on education, there would be no affirmative action, only the rich or steadily (but not self-) employed would have health insurance, marijuana and prostitution would be illegal, and sex education would teach abstinence only.

Then you could choose what America you wanted to live in, and a lot more people would be happy, no? More importantly, a lot more useful legislation would be passed in both countries.