Although originally plotted in the 1760's to settle a border dispute, the Mason-Dixon Line was better known as the boundary between the slave states of the South and the anti-slave states in the North. As such, it became symbolic of the cultural differences which led to the American Civil War (or as we prefer to call it in the South as "The War between the Confederate States of America and the United States of America"). Nonetheless, our current political differences are so pronounced, I wonder if it's time to plot a new type of Mason-Dixon Line to divide the country over ideological lines, Liberal versus Conservative. After all, the division in this country is only going to get worse, not better, regardless of what happens in the 2012 election.
I pulled out a map of the United States and pondered a way to divvy up the country equitably. The challenge was to fairly share the natural resources, particularly energy, access to shipping, and minimize the disruption of people moving to a new state. To do so, I considered the general political inclination of the people in the states. I began with a separation of Northern and Southern states by drawing a line from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River using the old Missouri Compromise Line (parallel 36'30" north). I then went beyond Missouri before turning north to include Iowa and Minnesota. It would be too easy to say the remainder of the country was Conservative, not to mention unfair, as the states along the Pacific coast are all rather Liberal. Plus let's throw in Hawaii, but certainly not Alaska. This resulted in the following map:
Here, the Red color denotes the new Liberal-USA (L-USA) and the Blue denotes the Conservative-USA (C-USA). With the exception of Iowa and Virginia, all of the Red states using this demarcation are generally considered liberal in nature (sorry Iowa and Virginia, but fair is fair). Fittingly, Washington, DC will remain in the L-USA while the C-USA creates a new capitol, probably somewhere in Colorado to be centrally located. Both countries would have abundant energy resources, agriculture, technology, transportation, shipping, not to mention their own military. Hopefully, the two separate countries will find ways to work together, particularly in the area of commerce. Nonetheless, they will both begin on an even footing.
This would be an interesting experiment. Obviously, the big difference would be how the two countries would operate. The C-USA would undoubtedly embrace capitalism and a smaller federal government. Citizens would be emboldened to be more entrepreneurial in nature, thereby encouraging innovation, invention, and freedom of expression. The GDP would naturally grow substantially as a result. In contrast, the L-USA would become a socialist state with a massive government enforcing a long litany of laws, rules and regulations dictating what citizens are permitted to do, thereby creating a Nanny State. The tax structure will be such that the citizens will be working more for the government than themselves. While the L-USA will specialize in the entertainment industry, the C-USA will enjoy a press that doesn't try to manipulate the masses. Whereas the C-USA will dine on red meat, fruits and vegetables, the L-USA will ration generous portions of tofu and bean sprouts to its citizens. Patriotism, morality, and citizenship will doubtless flourish in the C-USA, while organized religion and the pledge to the flag will be outlawed in the L-USA where criminals will be asked to perform community service as opposed to time in prison.
The two countries will respect each other's sovereign borders, but as the C-USA grows in financial strength and world influence, the L-USA will become concerned with their citizens escaping to seek political asylum in the C-USA. Inevitably, a massive wall will be constructed by the L-USA to prohibit such escapes much like what divided Berlin years ago. In the event the two countries regrettably go to war, the C-USA would undoubtedly triumph as they would have more financial resources at their disposal, the will to win, and their citizens would be better armed (the L-USA would have abolished guns from the outset).
The symbology of the two countries will have to change. Although both countries will be reluctant to depart from the stars and stripes as their flag, the L-USA will show their field of stars on the left, and the C-USA will display theirs on the right. As to the national bird, the C-USA will follow tradition and adopt the Bald Eagle, while the L-USA will adopt Benjamin Franklin's suggestion, the Turkey.
Devising such a scenario is not as far fetched as you might think. The country is currently gridlocked awaiting the outcome of the 2012 election. Something needs to change. Only two things can possibly happen: either the country will remain gridlocked in its current form, or one party will take control forcing the other underground. Neither option is acceptable to our future. Only a physical geographical split along ideological lines will satisfy the citizenship. We may not like it, but at some point we're going to be forced to admit we cannot live together anymore. Am I advocating the overthrow of the country? Absolutely not. I'm just looking into the future and I don't like what I see.
One last thing, don't be surprised if the Pacific coast spins off to form a separate country of its own which we would color white to maintain our red, white and blue patriotic theme. The only exception might be California who may want to abandon the United States altogether and represent their native Mars.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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