The impractical but plausible fantasy of a national divorce

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Citing irreconcilable differences, many commentators on both sides of the red-blue divide have started to channel country singer Tammy Wynette and consider a national divorce. The feeling appears strongest on the right. Claremont Institute Fellow David Reaboi warns of a future in which “the crisis and contempt among Americans goes beyond what is currently imaginable”, leaving only pragmatic considerations on who gets nuclear weapons , and “appeals to the patriotism of the baby boomers” as the sole basis for national unity.

Others think pop artist Neil Sedaka is closer to the goal than Wynette: it’s hard to break up. Much of this discussion can be considered near Civil War cosplay by Very Online. But we have truly been for two decades in a period of intense political polarization, combined with growing moral certainty on both sides and deep disagreements over fundamental values ​​and facts regarding the nation’s history, religion, nature of the world. biological sex, even the winner of last year’s presidential election. election.

In a country where people follow their senators down the toilet and disown family members because of political differences (or at least need to read essays on how to talk to them every Thanksgiving), it’s easy to see why people doubt that the center can hold. Yet the nation’s federal constitutional system is put in place to maximize the ability of people with different views to live together.

That is, until progressives decide that institutions like the Senate should be ditched as undemocratic, leaving massive changes to be implemented by very thin margins, or right-wing populists begin to see a federal government that barely got Donald Trump elected for a single term. as the only institution capable of defending conservative values. The elements that have made the American system capable of accommodating true diversity are under attack by the forces of the One Rule when we need them most.

Some might conclude that the desire for a federal government strong enough to guarantee liberal abortion policies in the red states or ban transgender toilets in the blues makes national divorce inevitable. But if the country’s current constitutional design cannot protect us, it’s hard to imagine an amicable breakup creating a better one soon.


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