If not now, when?

political essay

Both spouses have become abusive, verbally and physically. Exchanging blows left and right, both literally and metaphorically speaking. There’s no common ground to be found, and even if there was, at this point neither side is interested in entertaining it. And yet, a narrative continues to be pushed by politicians on both sides: unity. We must find a way to unify, they say. Biden seems to preach it every single day. “We’re going to be unified whether you deplorables like it or not” is my interpretation of his speeches.

I hate to break it to to you, but the unity isn’t going to happen. And nor should it even be attempted. The best example over the last twenty years of this country being unified is during the aftermath of 9/11. What did we get out of that? A war in Afghanistan that we’re still fighting nearly twenty years later. It’s been a complete failure.

That was the Trojan Horse of political unity — thousands of dead soldiers. And for what exactly? Can a “war on terror” ever be won? No, because every good-intentioned war declared by government on unquantifiable abstractions (i.e., “war on poverty”, “war on drugs”) has been a failure and often does more harm than good.

And as for our present time, what kind of unity does Biden plan to force upon those who didn’t vote for him? Will everyone feel unified when he attempts to forcefully remove guns from millions of responsible citizens? That certainly doesn’t sound like unity. This rhetoric is a farce, one that’ll be eloquently (or not so much since it’s coming from Biden) stated now, but forgotten later on.

Conversely, we’re about to embark on four years of Republicans singing the same song Democrats sang during these last four years: “he’s not my president.” Biden will be just as illegitimate in their eyes as Trump was in the Left’s eyes

In reference to the events that took place on January 6th, the same people currently talking of unity spent four years referring to the protesters — both those who stormed the Capitol and those who did not — as deplorables, white nationalists, racists, bigots, I could go on and on. This is why, while it was a unsettling to watch, it wasn’t all that surprising. To be sure, it was stupid and extremely short-sighted; actions such as the ones that took place will always lead to stronger reactions made by the government — ones used to “prevent” another event like that from happening again, which ultimately results in more civil liberties being taken from the people.

Unfortunately, further disenfranchising of the protesters is already occurring, as the corporate press repeatedly pushes forth the narrative that the day’s events were among the darkest days of our country’s history, referring to those who engaged as terrorists and insurrectionists. These accusations, however, hold no weight with those who stormed the Capitol, because this same corporate press, as well as the Left, mere months ago referred to the destruction of cities all over the country as “mostly peaceful,” while also providing justification for those engaging in the destruction.

There is no unity to be found here. The polarization reached a peak on January 6th, but it’s inevitable that more peaks are sure to come. Perhaps this year, perhaps down the road. But they’re going to happen, and they could be much worse in the future.

However, despite this grim outlook, it actually doesn’t have to be as dark as what it may seem. While more and more people are becoming aware of the reality that unity is far from ever being realized, the true reality is that it doesn’t have to be realized. Forced unity isn’t unity at all, which means that unity as whole was never a realistic option in the first place.

Therefore, while the specifics and intricacies will be complex, the only realistic option at this point is quite simple: it’s time for a divorce. It’s time we stop trying to make this work, because all we’re doing is running into brick walls metaphorically speaking and tossing bricks at walls literally speaking. The most viable compromise is to begin speaking the language of separation. Because if we don’t now, then when? And if we wait too long, what else might take place?

As stated above, the specifics of a national divorce are much more complex and difficult to figure out than simply saying that that’s what needs to happen. I cannot cover in-depth the options that I’ll present in general terms below because doing so would require some book-length writing. But I believe there is value to be found in these brief descriptions. Additionally, the list below is certainly not exhaustive; these are just the ones I’ve personally looked into.

Individual state secession: This is the option that seems to be talked about the most and perceived the most when hearing about political separation. And there’s actually been some recent talk of secession within the state of Texas, as well as within California. Generally speaking, it’s a simple concept: a state secedes from the union and becomes their own nation. Additionally other state may also then secede and either form their own nation as well or join with the other. The retort to this notion is always a reference to the Civil War. However, this isn’t an honest argument. No state — Red or Blue — in our present day would entertain the idea of seceding from the union in order to enslave a particular race. It’s a stupid argument.

Regionalism: This is different from secession because it doesn’t always have to entail individual states. Instead, the country is broken up into different regions and each section is governed more specifically focused on the political culture of that particular region. Similar to the idea of secession, the obvious example that comes to people’s minds is a North/South split. But I actually don’t think that’s how a modern day regionalist split would take place; it wouldn’t be a clean line, and there’d likely be more regions than just two. For example, parts of the Midwest have more in common with the parts of the South than it does with the Northwest. The boundaries wouldn’t be near as bad as some of those gerrymandered county lines you see, but they also wouldn’t be straight vertical of horizontal lines either.

Radical decentralization — Articles of Confederation style: In this sort of system, the United States still exists geographically as it does now. However, the federal government is much weaker and has no ability to tax. Each individual state is left to govern itself as it sees fit. It’s quite clear that the US is too big to be governed by a centralized force, and in this sort of scenario state and local politics become much more important than federal elections. The president becomes less important, and the same goes from the US Congress and for the Supreme Court. In this system, California can attempt to become a socialist utopia, while Texas attempts to model an example of what they believe to be a completely free society.

Panarchy: This one will probably be the hardest for folks to wrap their heads around. It’s a form of secession, but not necessarily a geographical one. Imagine being presented with the option of “subscribing” to your preferred government of choice, and it not mattering where you live. Working within our current framework, let’s say your subscription options are either Republican or Democrat. Subscribing to the Democratic government might mean more taxes, with those taxes going toward things like universal healthcare and student loan forgiveness. Subscribing to the Republican form of government might mean less taxes, but with no access to universal healthcare and student loan forgiveness. Obviously such a system would be a lot more complex than the given example (especially in regards to foreign policy), but it’s certainly interesting to think about. And would it actually be more complex than what we currently have?

As I stated, there are probably more options or variations of the ones I gave, and nor did I fully flesh out any of the options I did provide. Furthermore, someone may have an entirely different interpretation or definition of what’s been presented (if so, I welcome your feedback in the comments). My hope is that we at least start talking about these sorts of ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, though, none of these are an easy way out. There is no easy way out. But they are all forms of a solution that’s simply put: separation. And the simple yet difficult types of solutions are typically the most effective kinds. So why not start putting all options on the table? Why not say the words that up until now have been hush-hush? There’s no reason to keep quiet any longer. Let’s start the conversation now.

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