After 27 years of marriage, Bill and Melinda filed for divorce, citing the marriage as “irretrievably broken.” Too much water under the bridge. No path remained to reach common ground. Voters in the United States can learn something from the Gates. How long do you compromise, turn yourself into a pretzel to stay together? Are 250 years enough? It takes enormous courage to be the one to call out the elephant in the room. “Hey! it’s time to go our separate ways.”
The chorus of pessimists will sing, “it will never happen.” It’s like Billy, the abuser, “she will never leave me.” But one day, Peggy grabs the kids and takes off. And one party lives happily ever after, and the other sits at the local bar talking about the good old days. Or, more likely, both parties feel a huge sigh of relief. It’s over. No more tolerating Peggy’s crazy uncle and Billy’s alcoholic mother at the same family gatherings. Time for new national anthems, each country living by the values it expresses.
People in the U.S. have had enough of the never-ending political debates and emails pleading for donations. This arranged marriage of opposing views, envisioned by the Founding Fathers, didn’t factor in the growth of crazy relatives.
About half the country sees people’s welfare as the number one priority. The other half view the welfare of corporations as most important. As two countries, one would offer free education, respect women’s rights, create new jobs to counter climate change, but require strict gun laws. It’s where Peggy would move. Billy would live where corporations get big tax breaks, no restrictions on weapons, and every person for themselves. You see how easy it is? Now everyone can be happy. Not sharing the same bathroom, we find it easier to accept our differences.
Washington D.C. needs a reboot. Rebooting seems to be the answer for all technical glitches. Unplug and replug. So why not try it to cure our political malaise? Like the Gates, liberals and conservatives should divorce. The romance has faded, and no bouquet will rekindle the determination and sacrifices of eighteenth-century loyalists willing to give their lives for independence. Heck, today, some see wearing a mask as a grave sacrifice to personal freedom. Bill Gates can now focus on creating a nuclear plant, and Melinda continues her work uplifting women. I bet the divorce has improved their concentration. Divorce certainly did wonders for my life. Their courage to pull the plug sets an example for us. Sometimes, no matter what, it just doesn’t work.
Will it be easy for the country to split into two? No, it won’t. Nothing worthwhile ever is. Our present state is anything but easy. And while we are at it, let’s admit what we know in our gut, the South won the Civil War. WHAT! Yes, they did. Since President Lincoln was assassinated, the North has acquiesced to the South to keep us marching under the same flag. Now we live in a country abiding by antiquated rules, the electoral college and filibusters, where the few rule the roost of the many. No good eggs can come from that.
We don’t have to call it The Red States of America and The Blue States of America. Too many hurt feelings associated with those colors. But that’s a minor detail and can be worked out later. We need to keep our eyes on the goal, separation with no alimony. We won’t be the first country to break into smaller units, so there is precedence. Great legal minds can figure out how to bring it about. For now, here is one idea of how to get it done.
We start with a national referendum to make sure that the majority agrees to split in two. A referendum is when the popular vote of the people decides to accept or reject what’s put forth. For a change, the majority decides.
If the national referendum is yea to split, the decision on which states become a part of “it’s about my rights” or “it’s about the community” comes next. We set it up as the Founding Fathers did in Philadelphia when they came together to discuss how to bring about independence from England. The legal divorce staff will stay in place until the job is completed. The two new interim presidents sign on the dotted line, shake hands, and hand out pens. There will be some customs both countries may want to continue.
And that brings me to sports. Tim explained the draft, how and why sports teams pick new players. The idea is to bring equality, so every team has a chance to win the end of the season trophy. But, he explains, “they can go around it. Teams with lots of money can make side deals.” That explains why the Yankees are so darn successful.
Fairness is good, but we don’t always agree what fair looks like, black, white, or yellow. So, a starting point that makes sense is to take the five most conservative and five most liberal states as the foundations for the two new countries. The rest of the states will be handled a bit like the draft, except not really. The United States Of All About Me (Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Idaho) and the United States for the Common Good (Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, and the state of Washington) flip a coin. Heads picks first.
Testing this out, Tim (my husband and the only one willing to play my games) picked first. He chose Michigan, “lower impact from climate change,” and “an abundance of water,” he explained. I picked Colorado. North Carolina went to Tim, and I grabbed NewYork. Wisconsin for Tim and Georgia for Edith. Driving through Georgia, it always looks so beautiful to me. Our choices demonstrate why amateurs should not be on the (divorce) legal team.
In the football draft, the worst team picks first and can get the best quarterback (or defenseman, etc.). That can be great for the team, but the poor gladiator who’s worked his buns off is stuck playing with a lousy team. In my two-country scheme, immigrating to the other country will require minimal paperwork and your passport photo will be photoshopped at no extra cost. Anyone can relocate and find their flock. You find yourself living next to Billy, move to the other country. You don’t have to put up with anti-vaxers or socialists. Find your tribe and transfer.
The United States of America has never been united. So before we jump on the all-knowing wagon insisting, “no way are we going to become two countries, it’s well to remember that this lack of vision, together at all costs, resulted in 620,000 deaths (Civil War). Was there another way to free the slaves? The history of rigid one-dimensional thinking should have taught us something. If only we hadn’t, we say afterward. Life is lived in the present, and it’s only here where we can plan for something better. Is it conceivable that we find common ground that’s fertile with potential for human progress, love, and compassion with the present system that feels irretrievably broken? Passing the INVEST in America Act, Build America Act of 2021, and For the People voting bill have the potential to keep us together. It’s possible that it will happen. Is it likely? We don’t know. Time will tell. If not, divorce is an option.
For as long as we’re alive, we have lessons to learn. When learned, we can move on to the next lesson.