This is one of those ideas that seems silly at first, until you realize people are serious about it: secession from the union. A new interview with Chuck Thompson, who recently wrote a book on the subject, the North and South would be a lot better off if they just went their separate ways.
Thompson points out that the culture, values, and vision of America in these two extremes is so radically different that we're practically two different countries already. He points out that the South is more theocratic and state's-rights-focused than the North, who instead worries about everyone getting along and having clean air and water.
This is an idea that has even found itself kicking around state legislatures, specifically in Texas. And if Obama wins the 2012 election, you can bet we'll hear more people talking about it. But what does that say about us as a nation? What does this discussion mean for us? Are we really beyond working out our differences? Is the gap between the North and South really to great to bridge?
To me, the idea of breaking up the United States is laughable, and downright un-American. After all, how many Americans died in the Civil War to maintain a single, unified nation? Granted, not everyone is thrilled that this was the outcome, but the point has always been that we would remain one nation, no matter what.
I spend perhaps an unhealthy amount of time on conservative news sites, particularly those with open comment forums so I can see what their reader have to say. What I've noticed is that many conservatives talk openly, honestly, and very seriously about one of two solutions to disliking Obama: secession and armed revolution. Granted, revolution is by far more popular, but secession is right up there, and I'm sure there are those who wouldn't mind kicking all the liberals out of their new southern nation.
What strikes me about this, and upsets me, is that these same people claim to be patriots. And not just patriots, but the best patriots, who love their country the most, and are willing to spill blood in the name of the stars and stripes. Let me make a point here: if you are advocating for the secession of the southern states, or are advocating for armed overthrow of the government, that is NOT patriotism. That is anarchy. You can quibble all day about the intent of the Second Amendment. You can have a debate about the merits of following the laws of your state government when you don't agree with them. But when you start talking about killing people or actually breaking away from the land you claim to love so much, there is something very wrong with that.
The North and South don't really agree on much, and seldom do they get along. But like a pair of siblings, their stuck together. If people want to entertain a fantastical notion that breaking the states apart would be a good thing for us, consider that if we do there is no more "us", but instead there is "us and them." And that is how wars, economic competition, inequality, and feudalism start. We are better than that, and should be.