Divided We Stand

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Now that the results are in and Scotland has decided to remain in the (slightly less) United Kingdom, it’s time to make the story about us, so Reuters has conveniently released the results of a poll of some 9,000 Americans indicating that about ¼ of them nationwide are in favor of their state seceding from the United States.

The southwest, which includes Texas, led the nation in percentage of folks wanting to leave the nation, with 34%. The lowest percentage came from the New England states, with only 19% wanting to go-it-alone.

Support for turning in their US passports rankest highest among Republicans, conservatives, men, high school grads, and those with low-incomes. A whopping 53% of Tea Party identifiers were in favor of seceding.

Among the leading reasons given was anger with Obama. These people DO realize that there’s an election in a couple years, shortly after which Obama won’t be president, no? Or that if they secede while Obama still is president, that they’re going to be totally bat-sh** preoccupied with the fear that Obama is planning to order the US military to invade them?

Other reasons were Obamacare, immigration and even the threat of Isis and terrorist groups. Apparently some folks think the sheriff of Mayberry is more equipped to deal with Islamic radicals than the federal government. But if these southwest states think they have border control problems now, wait’ll they secede and have to protect their borders from people coming in from Montana, Mississippi and California.

Illogically, but not surprisingly, many of the “most-want-to-leave” states are those that receive more money from the federal government than they contribute, and the ones with the highest loyalty to the US are the exact opposite, doling out more tax dollars than they reap in. Greater minds than mine have tried to explain this peculiar phenomenon and failed, so I won’t try, other than to exasperate, “Hey, you Red States that want to break away from the US so you can ‘stand on your own,’ why don’t you try doing it first before proclaiming you want your independence?”

Personally, I think the pollsters asked the wrong question. A much more revealing – and fun – question would’ve been asking Blue State citizens “How would you feel about some Red States seceding?” and likewise, asking the “Reds,” “Would you be heartbroken if a couple of those blue northeastern states broke away from the country (or happened to fall into the ocean)?”

I think a pretty high percentage of respondents from both sides would answer “Hey, don’t let the Constitution hit you on the way out!”

Even more fun would be polling “If you could throw out ONE state, which one would you pick?”

Because, boy, peering across that Great Political Divide really is like looking at another country, and not one that we’re particularly enamored of. Many in the blue states look at their “red” neighbors as a bunch of ignorant, intolerant religious fundamentalists with a serious cholesterol problem. While those in the red states regard their blue state counterparts as godless “red” –as in communist –sympathizers who favor “big gubmint,” socialized everything, gay marriage and unilateral disarmament (gun control). We have as much in common as those relatives we share a table with once a year at Thanksgiving dinner and want to shove a turkey leg down their throat within a half hour. Really, the only thing that keeps this country together is that we live far apart from each other. “Blues” don’t call ‘em the “fly-over” states for nothing.

Obviously this is over-generalizing, and even the reddest of states like Texas and Louisiana have pockets of blue, like Austin and New Orleans, and the blue states likewise have red linings, mostly outside the major urban areas.

But when you get down to it, the one thing that virtually guarantees states will never secede from the United States is apathy. How are you EVER going to get a majority of residents to vote to leave, when a majority of eligible voters don’t vote? Large segments nationwide can’t even name their senators and congressional representatives and furthermore, don’t care.

We’re “one nation, indivisible,” although a lot of people don’t know what “indivisible” means.

The Union remains strong. We have apathy and ignorance on our side.

 

About Stan Sinberg

Stan is an award-winning newspaper columnist, radio commentator, and features writer whose humor has appeared in everything from the NY Times to WSJ and MAD Magazine. Stan is a native New Yorker living on the west coast. His website is www.stansinberg.com and you can email him at stan@stansinberg.com or follow him on Twitter @ssinberg1
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