Sunday, October 9, 2011

On Breaking Up American States

I'd like to address this recurrent theme in U.S. history, one that is still going on: the desire by some residents of a state to disconnect with other parts, for political, economic, social, or other purposes -- maybe even because of irreconciliable differences.  After all, that's where Vermont and West Virginia came from (and consider what great ideas they were).  Now this is famously being played out in California, where the lower section would like to become dissociated from the upper one.  However, have there been many states where this kind of sentiment doesn't reside in some corners?

Louisiana, my home state, has had that kind of division for a long time.  New Orleans and southwestern Louisiana have different values, lifestyles, politics, religions, and just about everything else from northwen Louisiana.  You cross a real divide when you go north of I-10 or at least Alexandria.  You then enter the Bad Cuisine Territory and uptight domain of the United States, among other things.  Now, both people in Shreveport and Lafayette or New Orleans should consider a no-fault divorce and both be better off.  And both rump states can have joint custody of Baton Rouge and LSU.

Okay, you might wonder: couldn't this be parlayed into gaining more representation in the Senate than the uniform two alloted to all states, big and small?  I see this as a surmountable problem, though: American history is a story of compromise, much like loveless marriages (which is a good metaphor for the way things are now!).  My solution: if two sections of a state decide to part company, each gets ownership of one Senator.  In that way, the other currently 49 states are minimally impacted by this split wherever it might take place.

Hey, guys . . . . you know what?  This is a solution having its roots in the Napoleonic Code, the law of Louisiana which is a community property state.

Maybe we should consider the present-day states as like starter marriages; convenient bedding arrangement until the fires of passion are banked . . . .

"Hey, northern Louisiana: you snore and you flirt too much with that Arkansas tart!  You sleep on the sofa tonight"

(.....Hmmm . . . . I wonder if the Mississippi Gulf Coast can lose his dowdy spouse?)   


Anonymous said...

Your idea of dividing Senate seats between the two rump sections of a former state does seem to address a latent fear we share with other large countries: a given section doesn't really know or trust another one very much.

Bilbo said...

An interesting idea, but it may need a few tweaks. For instance, when a state splits and they divide the senators, who gets to pick first? Likewise, if the division is not along current gerrymandered congressional districts, who gets to keep the Representative whose district is divided? This is an issue of no small concern to me as a Virginian (by adoption) because I would hate to be stuck with an ass clown like Eric Cantor if districts were to be reapportioned. And as the new states select their names (should it be "South Louisiana" or "Cajunstan"?), could we slip DC into the hopper and change its name to "State of Confusion" or "State of Flux?"

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

The last thing we need is two Californias.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Bilbo: You have a point there about who chooses whom when it comes to dividing clowns.

Personally, I'd prefer Best Louisiana, with a tip of the hat to Best Korea. Cajunistan? No, I don't think so. We might wind up being occupied due to a misunderstanding. Last time that happened was in 1862, and it didn't turn out well.

Elvis: I agree.