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2008 Secessionist Fantasy

Back in 2004, the right wing Republicans had a blowout victory. Their win, and their arrogance after their win, set the stage for their defeats in 2006 and 2008.

Many Americans are content to let the story end there. Especially those who want to believe that a President Obama will restore their vision of a united United States of America, with some elements of progressive ideas mixed in with a great deal of the Bush legacy, will now be content to sit back and bask.

Others will not be doing so. The 2008 presidential campaign showed that there are many Americans who are upset by the slightest hint of anything progressive. It isn’t just that they don’t like Barack Obama – personal animosity can be overcome. It’s that they regard Social Security as unacceptably socialist. It’s that they regard any withdrawal of soldiers from Iraq, even after eight years of war there, as a cut-and-run surrender. It’s that they believe that subjecting Guantanamo prisoners to a genuine system of justice will unleash havoc on Earth.

On the progressive side, there is also a growing feeling of discontent with the mushy vision of Obama centrism. The idea that there’s no such thing as red states and blue states in America just doesn’t match up with the reality we see as we travel across America. To say that the people in Wyoming and Wisconsin, South Carolina and Oregon all share a common vision strikes us as an absurd denial of real political conflict.

The fact is that regional divisions in American politics have not been overcome by the 2008 presidential election, just as they were not by the 2004 presidential election or the 2000 election. The divisions remain, and their long roots are continuing to expand the cracks in our nation.

post-election secession America mapThis year, Sarah Palin was mocked for her association with the Alaska secessionist movement. However, of all Palin’s associations, this one had the most sense to it. In 2004, I wrote about the arguments for secession – really, for the formal division of the USA. This map is what I came up with as a first draft proposal.

I’m glad that Barack Obama won this year’s election, but the truth is that I’m not satisfied with his plans for America. Obama’s passion for unity behind his leadership has caused him to embrace some ideas that are reprehensible to me. The newness of Obama, and the cute charm of his family, will keep such grumblings quiet for a while, but even Camelot fell to the forces of division.

Might it not be better to accept the divisions that exist, and to allow the huge scale of broad American vision to be broken up into separate nations that could more closely represent the will of their citizens? The truth is that I’m not convinced that breaking the USA into separate nations is a very good idea at all, but part of me is attracted to it.

I’ve created this new map this year as a thought experiment about what a divided USA might look like. In creating the blue nations and red nations, I’ve relied upon maps of the 2004 and 2008 election results by county, considering not just the state-wide Electoral College votes, but the local differences within each state as well.

The largest physical nation on this map is the red Homeland States of America, but this area is missing many of the largest cities, and is made up of a lot of very sparsely-populated land. I’ve tried to avoid having nations that are not contiguous in some kind of sense, though, with the new red nations of Chesapeake and Mackinac, a shared waterway is what defines the small nationality. The blue nation of Montana is landlocked, but it has a border with Canada so that it is not completely surrounded by Republican red. Hawaii and Alaska are not shown on this map, but as with the 2004 map, they are imagined as independent nations, Hawaii blue and Alaska red.

13 thoughts on “2008 Secessionist Fantasy”

  1. HareTrinity says:

    America’s short history is covered with moral issues and extremist views.

    However, one would hope, there are still some shared values. Protecting the innocent, for example.

    Also, I know people at this site have long been fed up with politicians using religion to support themselves, and I think many religious people are also fed up with this. By no means does everyone need to 100% agree for a community to work, it’s a matter of finding some common ground and creating a consensus.

    And if there’s any time to reach out to the “other” group/s, surely it would be now?

    Quick Google search came up with this site, a small but top-of-the-list Christian site that focuses on peace/non-violence as being the strongest and most important teaching in the Bible.

    These people may even be right wing, but there’s clearly a lot you’d have in common in regards to human rights and separation of church and state.

    I can’t find any of your magnets/etc that would support these groups, even though you obviously have a fair bit of common ground. Looking through your Religious Freedom stock I find that, apart from the Rainbow Cross, No Dogma and THINK button they might even be offensive to Christians.

    Not that offending Christians when they’re the people who want to force their views upon you is a bad thing, but when it comes to the unrepresented religious people who don’t need their beliefs to be yours, why not have a few things for them specifically?

    The religious left don’t get enough attention, which is a shame since they surely should be the first ones taking it up with the religious right.

  2. HareTrinity says:

    “I’m STRAIGHT not NARROW.”
    I like this one, because it welcomes straight people into the pro-gay rights movement. Simple things like use of language can have a big impact on how people view the situation.

    “WAR is not PRO-LIFE”
    The ambiguity of this one means it’s also appropriate for anti-war pro-lifers.

    It’d be nice to see some pro-choice products for women who wouldn’t want an abortion themselves (not that anyone WANTS that to come up, but it’d remind people that no one’s asking to force abortions, just to give freedom to people who get put in that situation).

    Another alienating “Liberal” attitude is the anti-all-guns feeling.

    I’m sure we all remember how anti-gun I am, and anti-blood sports too, but some people hunt for their food, which when done properly could be far better than relying on the standards of the meat industry.

    Stricter gun laws wouldn’t stop people hunting, but they could stop people getting hold of uzis, which no regular citizen needs.

    For some people who rely on hunting guns for a large part of their lifestyle, this difference is essential.

    I’m not saying these are nice people who I want to meet, just that they aren’t a completely different race who I need to fight. Takes all sorts.

  3. Ralph says:

    So, partition? On ideological and religious lines?

    Like India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, the former Yugoslavia? That’s what this map looks like to me.

    What will you do with “settlements” like Austin, Texas? And who will keep us on the “roadmap to peace?”

  4. G says:

    I found your map on google and figured I’d read the article as well. Yeah, it’s not fun to consider the breakup of a once powerfully-united nation. The thing is, with liberal and conservative worldviews so diametrically opposed, I think secession is not only inevitable but a necessity. Granted, it doesn’t have to get ugly, as did the Civil War. Our conservative military makes that a no-contest moot point anyway. Would be ironic if they ended up restoring democracy/freedom to a communist blue nation… Heyyy, just kidding.

    On a side note to HareTrinity, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Jesus, Matthew 10:34. Might want to investigate that bit.

    I would say the most important teaching of the Bible is reflected in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” How is that accomplished? “…If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9.

    Thank you…

    1. Jim says:

      I also have something to share with you: the wrapper of my ice cream sandwich. “Milk, cream, sugar, cocoa powder, lecithin, xanthan gum, polysorbate 80, guar.”

      1. G says:

        Should I laugh when you call me narrow then?

  5. G says:

    Oh yeah, almost forgot…

    Hook ’em Horns!

  6. John F. says:

    I’m a conservative and I’m all for this. The “deal” is broken – let’s go our own ways! Why keep getting on one another’s nerves ……..

    1. Floopy says:

      Yeah, isn’t it time that Texas got back to slavery? I mean…

      … oh. Whoops. Something went wrong there. Let me check my script again.

  7. John D. Froelich says:

    Your “secession” map looks alot like the map of 2010’s results for the House of Representatives, with the powerful Tea Party populist surge. I’m looking forward to ’12.

  8. Grishnakh says:

    I think going county-by-county along red-blue lines is too simplistic. The only reason this “red/blue” division exists is because we’re so alienated from each other that everything’s been distilled down to these points. I think that if you actually talked to some people in the “red” counties of Oregon or Washington, for instance, you’d find that they don’t agree with a lot of the Republican talking points or the BS that Bachmann et all spew. Similarly, there’s big differences between the “blue” voters of Oregon and those in south Florida. There’s a lot more than just two sides to this. If you gave voters in “red” eastern Oregon a choice to join western Oregon, or to become part of the same country as Mississippi and Texas, I think they’d probably choose the former.

    If the country broke up into smaller pieces, people would concentrate on totally different political issues than they do now, because the ones that are getting all the attention in the media now would be quickly settled in each new country, one way or another, and there wouldn’t be any more arguing about it. New England’s country would pass new taxes on billionaires, and Texas’s country would eliminate them, and that would be the end of it, for instance (well, at least until Texas’s policies come back to bite them in the butt).

    The country needs to be split up, but this map has completely missed the mark. Here’s my proposal:
    1) A Pacific Northwest country composed of WA, OR, and northern CA, as well as part or all of ID and NV, and maybe western MT. Call it “Cascadia”; they’ve been wanting their own country by this name since the 1800s. This country would probably be very prosperous, as Silicon Valley, Portland, and Seattle combined have the bulk of the country’s tech industry. They also have lots of agriculture (wine, apples, etc.).

    2) A southwest country composed of southern CA, AZ, NM, west TX, and part of CO. This country will probably adopt Spanish as its official language, and might reunite with Mexico. Expect a lot of English-speaking refugees from this area flooding into the rest of the continent. I don’t expect this country to be very prosperous, though you never know; once NAFTA is rendered null and void, Mexico might be able to get its act together again, as most of the problems there can probably be traced directly to that Clinton-signed treaty.

    3) A country centered on present-day Utah, in which Mormonism (LDS) is the dominant religion, perhaps even the official religion. This would be composed of most or all of UT, probably part of southern ID, and perhaps parts of WY, CO, and NV, and maybe part of northern AZ. Call it “Deseret”. I have no idea how its economy will do, but Mormons tend to be pretty hard workers so they’ll probably be OK, but anyone who doesn’t fit in will be fleeing to Cascadia to the west.

    4) A country composed of the “deep south” states: LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, along with eastern TX, panhandle and northern FL, all or part of AR, TN, OK, and possibly parts of KY and VA. Call it “The Republic of Dixie”. I don’t expect this country to be a world leader economically.

    5) A small country composed of the New England states: ME, VT, and NH, plus port of eastern NY. This could go a couple of ways; a) they could stick with just that, and perhaps even get the Canadian “Maritime provinces” to join them (NB, NS, maybe even NL). b) they could also include MA, RI, and maybe CT. Call it “New England” or “Kennebec”. If they take route a), I wouldn’t expect them to have a bustling economy, but it’ll probably be a very nice place to live in peace.

    6) A country composed of the mid-atlantic states with the most industry: NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, WV, OH, MI, northern IN and IL, and southern WI. I don’t know what to call it, maybe “Rust Belt Republic”. After they separate from the rest of America maybe they can revive their image, because it sure isn’t happening with the way things are now. It’s hard to say whether their economy will be a disaster or whether the break-up will spur them to reinvent themselves.

    7) An Indian-dominated country in the north-central part of the US: ND, SD, most of WY, the eastern side of MT, maybe part of NB. Call it “Lakota”. They’ve been wanting to secede for ages too. This won’t be any economic world-leader either, but it’ll probably also be a nice, quiet place to live for its inhabitants.

    8) A “heartland” country right in the middle: NB, KA, MO, IA, MN, much of WI, the MI upper peninsula, maybe parts of OK and AR, southern and western IL, southern IN, maybe the western parts of KY and TN. Call it “The Heartland Republic”; some may deride it as “The Flyover Republic”. They’ll probably elect Bachmann to be their first President, and ban all forms of contraception. Expect this place to be the economic parallel of Zimbabwe.

    9) South Florida should just be given to Cuba.

    10) Alaska will probably become independent, unless Russia tries to reclaim it. With all the oil, however, they’ll probably have the economy to defend themselves and remain independent, at least until one of the other new countries invents new technologies which greatly reduce the demand for oil and thus its price.

    11) Hawaii should be made independent. Becoming part of the US never helped the Hawaiians. Between tourism and agriculture, they don’t need anyone else.

  9. Chaz Brandon says:

    Northern New England is obviously not understood in the posts about secession. REAL Vermonters, New Hampshireites, and Down Easters (Mainers) are an independent lot that pick and chooses it’s issues, and decides everything at town meetin’. We are likely to be pro gay marriage, pro environment, anti war, progressive socially, for REAL workable universal healthcare YET…. We are pro gun, pro self-defense, for small and limited government, and for less waste and taxes. We pick the common sense issues and support them rather than listening to a controlling corporate corruppted national party from the current 2 party system. By REAL Northern New Englanders I DON’T mean transplants from Mass, NY or New Jersey who slapped VT, NH, ME tags on their cars stating: “now I am here – let’s make it like where I am from”!

    1. J Clifford says:

      Oh, I see. People from Massachusetts aren’t real. They’re cardboard cutouts, right?

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